Many people consider Motrya to be an OHRRPGCE classic. Since its original debut in December of 2010, it has been a favorite by many individuals, and has placed very high on multiple Top 15/30 polls. I'm ashamed to admit that I had not played Motrya until this past week, when I had the opportunity to check out the latest version a few days before the official release. Now that I've played through Motrya, I would have to agree with the general consensus that it is a fantastic OHRRPGCE game; perhaps one of the best out there.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it begins on the evening of the main character's (Murlor) graduation from Yormus Academy, where students practice the art of Forlae (which is essentially the game world's equivalent to magic). Before Murlor gets a chance to celebrate with his friends, he learns of a dark secret and his peaceful life at Yormus is thrown into chaos. The beginning of the game has a very Harry Potter-ish feel to it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I guess I say that due to how the story begins to unfold, though the graphical style is way different than that of Hogwarts and such.
Regardless, what really makes the story shine is the well written dialogue and fleshed out characters. The authors did a fantastic job bringing the world to life through text, believable characters and numerous scripted cutscenes/events.
While the idea behind the plot isn't "anything new" so to speak, it more than makes up for itself in delivery. The varied cast tends to grow on you as the game progresses, and you end up really wanting to know more about each individual person. There are several twists in the plot that keeps things interesting as well.
The original release stopped at the end of chapter one. The latest version adds a second chapter and about 3-4 hours of gameplay. Both chapters leave you wanting more, and I can only imagine the lack of patience of those who played chapter one years ago and had to wait so long for the next installment. It was well worth the wait, I believe.
Motrya has a very unique and refreshing graphical approach. The entire game has a washed-out, distressed-like color scheme that some may consider lazy, or perhaps simplistic at times. I personally found it to be both welcoming and beautiful. It is my understanding that the original artist had to drop out sometime during chapter two, but most people won't be able to tell a difference between the old and new. Though you can see some subtle differences here and there, I feel that the new artist did a fine job in continuing the graphical feel from chapter one.
There are three levels of difficulty to choose from, but this review will focus on the hardest difficulty, Veteran +. On the highest difficulty, Motrya is definitely one of the most challenging OHRRPGCE games I've played, but manages to do so without being overly "cheap". I think most people will be able to beat chapter one without too much trouble, though the Stone Beast can prove to be a rather difficult fight.
Chapter two is what "separates men from the boys", as it can be extremely unforgiving at times. There will be encounters that leave you barely scraping by, but that makes it all the more rewarding when you overcome it. It is my understanding that a few tweaks have been made to Veteran +, specifically in chapter two, since I last played. The changes will surely make chapter two on Veteran + more palatable while still offering a challenge. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed the difficulty level of this game even though I sometimes had to fight enemies a dozen or more times to win.
Motrya may throw off hardcore JRPGs junkies, however. Although you will have your fair share of battles, you do not encounter them in a traditional RPG format. Each map only has a fixed number of battles and does not offer random encounters of any kind. This eliminates the "grind" that most traditional RPGs have, which could be a turn off to some people.
I actually wasn't really looking forward to this combat approach myself, but it works well and gives each fight purpose and importance rather than merely being "random encounter against squirrels #1231032". Motrya does have its share of optional content, though people looking to delve into unknown territories or forgotten areas may be slightly disappointed for now. That's not to say that future chapters won't have more totally optional, explorable areas though.
Speaking of optional content, the card game, coined "Lyte Snap", is one of the best mini-games I've ever seen in an OHRRPGCE game. I think many people over the years have asked the author to release a standalone Lyte Snap game, and I would have to agree with that. Lyte Snap has a strong Final Fantasy VIII card game influence, but also manages to add some things to make it stand on its own. There are a total of 41 cards to collect as of this release, and some of them are pretty hard to find. I believe I ended up with roughly 35 and I played cards with everyone at least once. Even if you aren't big on traditional card games, you should definitely give Lyte Snap a shot. It's WAY better than that crap called Solitaire, and perhaps even better than the card game from Final Fantasy VIII.
The music is top notch and placed well, which I imagine was a bit of a challenge considering it was composed by several different authors. Motrya is one of few OHRRPGCE games that makes use of a MP3 soundtrack, and does so extremely well. Some of the songs are so good that you may find yourself wanting to listen to them outside of the game (I know I did). This is coming from someone who generally despises MP3s in OHR games.
Motrya is one of the best OHRRPGCE games because of multiple factors. The dialogue is engaging and well written, it utilizes tons of scripted events to further amplify the story, it uses a unique and refreshing approach to graphics not seen in very many OHRRPGCE games, It offers an incredible amount of challenge while also rewarding you accordingly, it features optional content that is good enough to be presented as a standalone game, and finally, the well-composed soundtrack takes the overall feel and atmosphere of the game to the next level.
While Motrya may be a somewhat untraditional RPG, I think it has enough to satisfy those who enjoy old school JRPGs and those who are looking for something fresh.
Needless to say I am really looking forward to chapter three.