There’s nothing like Actraiser Renaissance‘s seamless genre-blending, and the surprising depth in each facet makes the game all the more timeless. The extensive main campaign is followed by newly added post-game content that keeps the surprises coming, including an additional area to develop and a score mode. The ways to approach Actraiser Renaissance are as boundless as the content it provides, making it a revival that is well worth experiencing.
ActRaiser Renaissance is a meticulously crafted remake that genuinely improves on the original game in several respects while maintaining the spirit of what made it special in the first place. The simulation and tower defense elements are instantly addicting, and the sidescrolling sections really make you feel like God has come down to smite the wicked. ActRaiser Renaissance is almost the best-case scenario for a remake.
Some of its new ideas could use a bit more hammering out, and I’m not sure it needed as much expanding as it has received. But it, like the game it is based on, is a rather unique game that pulls you in powerfully the more time you spend with it. There isn’t a whole lot like this out there, and it’s handily better than other homages like SolSeraph.
Actraiser Renaissance is a skilfully made remake, but it does suffer from a couple of major technical and stylistic uncertainties. If you love Actraiser I recommend giving it a chance: the strategic portion has been significantly expanded and even those who know the original by heart will find new elements to play with.
Actraiser Renaissance certainly is a SNES remake for better or worse. The 2D parts of this game have been remade poorly in regards to mechanics and visual fidelity. The gameplay loop of varying between action platformer and city-building sim did get its hooks in me but will be a harder sell for others. While it proves difficult to remain a strong recommendation, there are nuggets of character dialogue gold in there that are worth seeing through. On top of that, the visuals and music that come with these moments are special and remain evident why this is such a cult classic. If all else, I’m glad I got to check out a deeper cut in the Square Enix catalogue. Flaws and all, it’s at the very least got some heart.
Actraiser Renaissance, however, is a remake that should have simply stuck to the basics that made Actraiser great. Instead, what you get are moments of greatness broken up by far too many moments of mediocrity.
Let me preface this by saying I've been waiting for more Actraiser for almost 30 years. Renaissance does a great job of capturing the feel of the original with more modern gameplay. It adds a tower defense aspect to the simulation sections, which wasn't necessary but I ultimately enjoyed. The action parts are less methodical and generally easier, but still very enjoyable. Of course the music from the original is some of if not THE best video game music of all time. The new versions sound as good as ever and I was smitten from the opening notes.
The other major addition is the heroes of each realm. This leads to more dialogue and more involved story elements. I enjoyed this as well, but it does take away some of the simplistic charm of the original.
Unfortunately, this also leads to the games biggest disappointment. When speaking to the heroes, the angel refers to the Master as "they". At first it's just confusing as it makes no grammatical sense. It doesn't even happen that often, but that just makes it more jarring when it does. It ultimately has little impact on the game overall, but that's what makes it so irritating. It could just not be there and everyone would be happy. It really is a shame, because I'd honestly give it a 10 if it weren't for that.
For someone new to Actraiser, I expect he or she would get a fair amount of enjoyment, but it won't set his or her world on fire. Fans will find a lot to love, but it won't replace the original. I just hope it gets enough attention to do an Actraiser 2 remake (maybe with added simulation) and then Actraiser 3!
Considered one of the best Super Nintendo games by a community of fans who have made it a cult (and very expensive ...) retro game for years, Actraiser was one of those games for which we really weren't expecting a remake. With his arrival, all the wildest dreams are allowed when it comes to the Square Enix catalog. So yes, the game has mechanics that are sometimes archaic and have aged badly, that's a fact. But on the other hand, the proposal we are given takes us completely out of our comfort zone, and Actraiser Renaissance is sometimes "fresher" and more original than some modern games. Available in a very well optimized Switch version, and at a low price, Actraiser Renaissance is one of these important titles in the heritage of video games, and I can only recommend it strongly.
Full review, in french, on my blog Nintendo Legacy. You can follow me on Twitter @NintendoLegacy1
Loved the original which I played to death but this remake just doesn't have the quality feel of that... Especially the action section which just don't have the weight & feel of the original... Pretty disappointed
Lots of problems with this one. This is mobile quality video game at the price of $30. The art style is a mess and looks like it was made by 5 people who didn’t communicate with each other. The side scrolling action felt like a budget version of Castlevania SoTN with overly stiff controls. The level design was as about uninteresting as it gets. Meanwhile the over-world experience suffers from some significant size and zooming issues that impede the player ability to understand what the heck is going on - particularly during tower defense segments
I like the general concept and the IP. But we should expect better execution than this.
Someone seems to be downvoting even moderate reviews (normally it's only negative reviews that get blindly downvoted) so I doubt anyone will be reading this, but here goes:
Actraiser was one of the best early video games. It made a relatively simple sim game, made interesting by the inclusion of a relatively new idea: Lots and lots of characterization, fables, and dialogue! Also, the plot is a beautiful story about the unity of people in bad circumstances, and people should hear it out.
Did you know that one of the very first video game music concerts was of Actraiser? Look up the Orchestral Video Game Music concerts from the 90s. It was THAT big and influential.
But there were a lot of parts that I didn't like and that my family and friends didn't like either. For example, there are a couple parts where you get dumped into the sim engine for 20-60 minutes (depending how long you chase butterflies) with nothing happening except for watching people cultivate the land, which forces the player to get to know the engine's limitations very intimately. The pauses in the action mostly take place in Kasandora, although early Fillmore and all its tutorials count too.
For another, the action game engine is just bad. Diagonal jumping is somewhere between hard and impossible, and there's no momentum curve (like in any Super Mario) where your character slowly picks up speed and gradually slows down when you're not moving. Momentum was added to the first Mario game to make it feel more lively and less like you're piloting a robot. Without that, Actraiser has always felt like you're guiding a fighting game character over long distances. Have you ever walked from one side of the screen to the other in Street Fighter? Even that feels like a long way to walk with that kind of a movement system. So, walking through massive levels with lots of enemies feels less lifelike than it could, and it takes a while.
Someone else on here complained that this game was changed too much from the original. I actually disagree; this release could have added a lot more than it did and fixed a lot more than it did.
SummaryHeaven, earth and mankind - Create and destroy everything according to your will!
Experience the revival of the 90's classic hit "Actraiser".
Actraiser Renaissance combines 2D platforming action (Realm Acts) with a City-building simulation (Realm Management) in the ultimate battle between good and evil!
Featuring the soundtrac...