Going into Excave III I truly had high hopes. JRPG art style, dungeons, monsters, magic and soundtracks that sound as if they’ve been pulled directly from the classic titles back in the 90’s period of video games. All the makings of a great hack and slash RPG and yet it falls short in every way.
The game puts you in the shoes of a heroin known as Scarlett. A slim, white haired, elf-like warrior who is able to wield both weapons and magic. Which surprisingly can be a lot of fun depending on what you’ll find within each dungeon.
Scavenge for survival
Excave’s inventory system allows you to hold eighteen items including weapons, magical imbued items, potions and food. Excave III, unlike its predecessors, does not allow you to hold any of the items to utilize in the next dungeon. In the beginning of each dungeon you’ll be sent in empty-handed and will have to scavenge through the dungeon for every item. After each dungeon all items will be sold and tallied up into a points system. The game does have an interesting variety of weapons from a heavy sword to twin blades as well as a bow and arrow. Each item also has a durability level, which throughout the game I found myself only bothering with that mechanic twice. I often found myself spending more time choosing the different weapons to keep in my inventory rather than enjoying travelling through the dungeons.
Dungeons & Dragons
Excave III is the type of title I don’t see myself re-visiting. The dungeons are completely randomized each time, however they are unimaginative and the enemies are usually dispatched with often two or three strikes. The dungeons have hallways big enough for just your character with rooms at the end of each hallway littered with monsters. The only ‘challenge’ I found is the annoyance of the hordes which was easily taken care of by just standing in the entrance of each room within a dungeon and dispatching a bolt of lightning. At the end of each dungeon there is a boss fight but literally a fight as easy as the hordes of monsters.
All-in-all Excave III seems like the type of game you would play on the train to work every morning to kill some time, and even then I don’t see it holding a players interest. There is an additional mode called Fantasy Tower, which has the player climbing a tower as high as possible with every level becoming more difficult. Thanks to the number of monsters introduced (again with no strategy needed) it comes down to the hacking and slashing ‘skills’ of a player. The progress/score earned in this mode gets registered to an online leaderboard. In this way the game offers you some sort of replay value but I still do not see this becoming a hit.