JRPG's have been getting more and more predictable for years. Music, style, art – it is its own thing to almost an absurd degree. In comes Serment – Contract with a Devil. Does this change much? Meh… a little.
You're a girl who was saved by the devil. But they don't want your soul – instead, they want you to work for them. Suddenly you're on a deadline to pay them back so you don't get stuck with the deal. So, yeah – you and a few others will fight through dungeons for money to literally save your ransomed soul. It's flat in parts, and predictable, but it does offer that clever twist of not doing the usual "fighting to get your soul back" schtick.
This being a dungeon crawler and a picture 2D game at the same time, we're not talking about a lot of difficult controls here. Like most Japanese manga games of this style, it's a LOT of talking artwork mixed with a few battle sequences of no one moving. So were talking about, what, a few controls? They're pretty easy, but there's almost no skill involved.
Serment's graphics are classic Japanese RPG: still images. Instead of slight action sequences, as you would expect, we get even more stills but with little graphics to indicate slashes. It's bare minimum animation. And while it is composed of classic Japanese RPG art, that's all it is – visual art. Long story short: it looks good but that's about it.
And that's what gameplay is, pretty much. You need to save your soul and make money, but it's just simple scrolling through characters talking, occasionally broken up by barely animated fights. Granted, there is some skill in fights, i.e., choosing what moves and when to attack, but it's even below Pokemon in that regard. It's still fun, but it could have been so much more.
The music is slightly techno, mixed with rock. You get hacky slashy sounds, with some computer generated orchestral and vaguely medieval music playing over scrolls of words. Sound familiar? Like, say, the majority of JRPGS's ever? That's Serment in a nutshell. It's done well, but it's exactly like most other games. You can replace the sounds and music with those of another JRPG at random in the middle of the game and I wouldn't have noticed.
Frame rates weren't bad, and there were no glitches to speak of. It's hard for things to go wrong when there's so little animation. I tried a few complicated things like doing several things at once, but nothing phased it. So it holds up. Serment – Contract with a Devil should have been better. A different story and a solid frame rate can only carry a game so far. Still, there are challenges, and if you like the style, it can work for you. Serment does the average. It's par for the course. It delivers good visuals, but doesn't move them. Good music, but nothing unique. Easy controls, but barely anything to do. It's not a terrible game, but man, I don't know where it excels.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.