Title: Epic Battle Fantasy 3

Platform: Windows, Steam,

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Turn Based RPG

Players: Single player




Written by Bad Demoman 15th September 2016

















I’ll be perfectly honest, I’ve played through Epic Battle Fantasy 3 about 8 times by now, so this was never going to be a particularly negative review. Starting life as a flash-based game by Kupo Games on websites such as Kongregate and Newgrounds, EBF3 has just been released on Steam for free and I heartily recommend you give it a try.


Epic Battle Fantasy 3 is a classic Japanese style RPG that could only be less subtle about its influences if the game started with a full screen message saying “The developer of this game greatly enjoys the Final Fantasy series”. Taking a departure from the first two entries of the series, which consisted solely of battles, EBF3 has your three man party landing in an idyllic village, having just had their powers stolen by a recently awakened God. Naturally, they decide to go straight back to the entity that hit them so hard they forgot how to fight, and fight it. As lax of a story this is, the characters are bursting with personality in spite of a distinct lack of pages of dialogue and story, instead conveying through in-battle dialogue. Your party consists of Matt, a warrior who might like swords a little bit too much, Natalie the buxom sorceress and Lance, former head of the empire that the party fought in Epic Battle Fantasy 2 who now joins as a gunner.
























The skill system allows a fair bit of diversity and planning in what you want each character to do, but admittedly doesn’t have the most depth. Fighting monsters will supply you with AP that you can use to buy or upgrade new skills. Since your abilities are available to you in any order, it’s entirely up to you as to what you prioritize. While Matt focuses on doing physical damage and Natalie is your standard red mage, with access to both white and black magic, Lance sits somewhere in the middle with both physical and magic damage, and plenty of utility. Animations on your attacks are smooth and quick, and some of the flashier attacks look pretty great. The first time you use a new ability, you’ll get a little bit of flavour text from the character about that move. My favourite was one of Lances abilities called Bullet Hell, saying “I’d like to see them get through that with one life and no bombs!”. These quips are often steeped in nerd culture, so references to classic video games and anime are very common throughout the game. EBF uses a turn based system, but allows you to choose which character acts first. Effective ordering of your party is key, especially on harder difficulties where small optimizations like allowing a character to use a debuff before doing damage on others is an absolute necessity. The world is reasonably linear, but exploration is still vital as many of your items and equipment will be in extremely well hidden chests across the world, while others may be given to you by NPCs who supply you quests. Enemies appear on the map, respawning when you leave so long as they don’t block your path. However, I really don’t recommend grinding on normal difficulty or lower, as the difficulty feels extremely well balanced without any unnecessary fights.


So you may be thinking that everything I’m describing so far sounds like a pretty standard RPG - and you’re not wrong. However, the beauty of Epic Battle Fantasy is that what it does is quite simple, but it does it extremely well. I’m playing through Final Fantasy 6 at the moment, having also just finished Final Fantasy 4 for the umpteenth time, and Epic Battle Fantasy holds up even to these JRPG Legends. While not ridiculously complicated, combat strategies feel satisfying and effective, and each boss genuinely feels like it needs it’s own dedicated approach. The ability to switch equipment mid-fight particularly lends to this, as each equipment piece has a very unique purpose making longer fights benefit from a feeling of adapting to the situation, rather than simply equipping the items that bump up the most stats.
























Epic Battle Fantasy definitely isn’t a hundred hour wide and spanning RPG experience like some others, but that’s not what it's going for. Its origins as a game on Kongregate betray a surprising depth and length - a full playthrough can easily take 8 hours or more on normal difficulties, and longer on the higher difficulties. Not bad for an entirely free game at all. Hopefully EBF3’s steam release brings a lot more publicity to the series, as I’d love to see the series grow to an expansive world in its own right, to rival the likes of its Japanese inspirations. With charming characters, varied weaponry and monsters to use them on and a great combat system, Epic Battle Fantasy 3 is definitely worth the time of any RPG fan.



Pros:

Classic JRPG Combat,

Characters bursting with personality,

Surprising length for a free title.


Cons:

Can be a little simplistic,

Story isn’t incredibly deep.


Final Verdict,

Epic Battle Fantasy 3 gets an 8/10.


Written,

Bad Demoman




    
















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