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Review: Siren's Reef
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By: Ixzion | Published: December 30, 2009 22:00 pm | RPG Maker
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Siren's Reef is the direct sequel to the early RPG Maker 3 hit, Whispers in the Woods. It took nearly 3 years to get this game out and, for the most part, Siren's Reef delivers another glorious helping of Vonwert's signature well-developed storylines and puzzle gameplay. The game is one of the most ambitious ones developed for the system, too, with multiple endings and paths through the game.

The story deals with protagonist Lex Johnson, who's aboard a ship on the high seas coming back from a cruise when all hell breaks loose and the ship is capsized. After all is said and done, a handful of survivors wash up on the shore of an island with a dark past. They will have to discover what is happening on the island if they want to ever go home.

The game is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen on the hardware. The areas have a magnificent scope of foliage and man-made elements. The entire island manages to evoke feelings of beauty and horror at the same time. The sounds are top-notch and the music choices fit the moods of the events perfectly. The storytellers are plentiful and painstakingly-acted designed. Siren's Reef completely brings it in this regard.The game sort of chugs at places where there's too much stuff on the screen, but these aren't the fault of Vonwert as it is RM3. I'm not deducting.

Vonwert knows his craft and he makes sure to put it to good use. The puzzles featured in this game are good. Some are even a bit devious, which made me want to slam my head into a brick wall. I made it through the game, though, so that counts for something.There are not particularly that many features in a game like this. It's mainly a puzzle story game. It's not a bad thing, though.

When the game works, it works. The fact that Vonwert spent so much time with the multiple path system on RM3 (where you can't copy events) makes me appreciate what he was trying to do.At the same time, that's why it's a little disappointing that the game suffers from a few game-stopping glitches that force a reset. In full disclosure, I am one of the people who helped with some early debugging, but I was not able to complete the game in a timely manner for its release date. Nevertheless, as long as you do not stray from the current objective at any point, it works. In the nitpick area, there was a decent amount of grammatical mistakes.

The story of this game is just amazing. I didn't think it was possible, but after a while, I found myself actively engaged and looking forward to every tidbit of story more and more as time went on. I don't know how Von does it, but he actually built up the characters enough so that I would actually care what happened to them. Bravo for that. The puzzles, as I mentioned, were also good. My favorite one being the one with the three daughters (I'm sure Von knows what I'm talking about). I did enjoy this game.The errors put a bit of a damper on the fun, sure, but the biggest thing for me was that if you didn't write down what had happened in the game, you had no way to get a prompt to remind you. Therefore, you would simply have to visit the entire island (which is not bad) until you found the event trigger. I only took one for me to keep my notebook handy.

Siren's Reef is a great game for RPG Maker 3. I would put it in the top 5 games for the hardware, along with the prior game, Whispers in the Woods. While I would say that WitW is a tighter package than SR, I would also say that SR had the better story and characters. Really, if you're looking for something to spend time on in RM3 or just want to see the potential of dungeon design or storytellers, then I recommend this game. If you're looking for a great story, then get this game immediately.

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