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Descendants of Erdrick are an Austin, Texas-based video game cover band. Such acts are nothing new in geek fandom; Minibosses, Metroid Metal and the like have been offering their interpretations of nostalgic game themes for years. But to date I can’t think of another band in the genre that has used an actual game for self-promotion. However, in conjunction with GameSalad’s GameTeamOne, that’s exactly what DoE has done.
Battle Legend Infinity is an endurance trial masquerading behind the facade of a retro-JRPG. Players assemble a team of three characters and throw them against increasingly difficult waves of enemies inspired by a variety of classic adversaries. Each wave comprises ten battles against mixes of Grunts, tougher Guards, Minibosses and finally Bosses themselves. After each wave there’s a chance to purchase healing, mana refreshment or even revive fallen party members before the next round.
Combat, while menu-based, uses an Active-Time Battle system. Players need to be prepared to make quick decisions for the characters prior to their action meters refreshing, as foes lack similarly indecisive natures and will attack as soon as they are able. Once the entire party wipes, BLI gives a nod to modern inspirations like Infinity Blade or Dead Rising, allowing players to restart the game while keeping everyone’s current level and experience.
The Descendants of Erdrick themselves have all donned garb that may well inspire deja-vu. Bassist Chris Taylor resembles a certain fineball-flinging Italian plumber. Flutist Lauren Liebowitz sports the space armor of a notable female bounty hunter. Guitarist Mike Villalobos emulates a pint-sized pugilist. A tattered white karate gi and red headband comprise drummer John Pike’s outfit. Extra bonus geek points go to whomever can guess the inspiration for guitarist Amanda Lepre’s battle gear without help from Google.
Slowly filling in pages of defeated enemies and dropped “artifacts” (inspired by iconic weapons and power-ups) in the Collection archive can keep the carrot dangling in front of dedicated players for quite a while, but actual gameplay is a bit shallow. Indeed, in the end, enjoyment for Battle Legend rests solely on an individual’s tolerance for grinding. There’s some small strategy to be had in learning which types of enemies inflict status effects or have cheap hits dealing massive damage, but by and large, it’s a matter of learning to slam through the menus as fast as possible while still picking the right options to try and make it past just one more wave.
My thoughts as I watched the trailer below prior to initially playing were cynical. However, once I booted Battle Legend Infinity up, I didn’t find the crass rip-off pandering to nerd nostalgia that I expected. Instead, I got a self-aware retro-gaming homage crafted with obvious love. The fact that it doubles as one heck of a free promotional tool for some up-and-coming geek rockers is insidiously craft too.
Tagged with: Battle Legend Infinity, Descendants of Erdrick, free, GameSalad, GameTeamOne, homage, jrpg, nintendo, retro, rpg