Riviera: The Promised Land (Riviera ～約束の地リヴィエラ～ Riviera: Yakusoku No Chi Riviera ) is a console role-playing game originally produced on July 12, 2002 (only JP) by Sting Entertainment for WonderSwan Color as the first episode of the Dept. Heaven series of games. The game was later introduced to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance on November 25, 2004, which Atlus USA released in North America on June 28, 2005. An enhanced remake was released for the PlayStation Portable on November 22, 2006, and was released in July 10, 2007 in North America by Atlus USA. The special edition was released on October 18, 2010.
The player takes the role of Ein, a Grim Angel, who must battle against demons as well as antagonistic Grim Angels to seal away the four fountainheads of evil known as the Accursed. He is accompanied by four heroines—Fia, Lina, Serene and Cierra—as well as his cat-like familiar Rose. Riviera also contains dating sim elements, as the hero can achieve multiple endings with the supporting characters through decisions made throughout the game.
Riviera: The Promised Land is a turn-based RPG game, with some elements from strategy and dating sim games. The last aspect manifests itself in the conversation in the game. Ein will often have to favor either Fia, Lina, Serene or Cierra over the others in scenes in which the characters interact with each other. This affects their trust for Ein, their mood, and eventually, the game's outcome.
For each of the seven main chapters of the game, the player starts in Elendia, and is given a mission. The player then moves on to wherever that mission takes place, proceeding through nine stages, to the eighth stage which will contain the chapter boss. The ninth stage is secret, and often has a particular method of infiltration. Within each stage are multiple screens, all with events and battles of their own. When a chapter is completed, all trigger points currently accumulated are erased. The player is taken to a results screen showing how they performed in the chapter, and gains trigger points based on that performance that can be used in the next chapter.
Unlike most RPGs, when not in battle, the player does not have full control over Ein's movement. Instead of being able to freely move with directional buttons, the player controls Ein through triggers, in two modes. Each stage is made up of several screens, each screen having triggers to explore and potentially battles to engage in.
- Look Mode
In Look Mode (Quest Mode in the Japanese version), the player may press directional buttons corresponding to triggers shown on the screen. Some triggers will not appear until certain events have taken place, and some triggers will change based on repeated investigation. However, many triggers require TP, Trigger Points, earned in battle. These triggers can cue many things, from battles, to event scenes and free items. Click here for more details.
- Move Mode
In Move Mode, the player may advance or backtrack (limited) to previous screens. In a similar fashion to Look Mode, triggers will appear on the screen and a corresponding directional button must be pressed to move to them, adding a turn to the count. Unlike Look Mode, however, triggers in Move Mode do not require Trigger Points, so one may move as much as one likes, assuming there is no turn limit. Once the player has exited the final screen of a stage, the player will be prompted to save and then move on to the next stage. Click here for more detail.
Before a battle begins, the player usually has the choice to retreat, giving them time to prepare. For every battle, the player may choose only three combatants out of a possible five, and a positioning scheme for them. The player can either choose the Attack or Magic formation. The Attack formation allows Attack based moves a shorter recharge time, and there will be two characters in the front row, and a single character in the back row. In Magic formation, Magic users have a shorter recharge time and positioning is reversed. Following that decision the player must choose the items to bring. Only sixteen items can be held at any time, and there are no methods of storage. The player may only bring four of those sixteen items into battle for all three characters to use. However, for every item, each character has a different attack; where, with a staff, Cierra might do great damage with a magical attack, Fia would heal an ally.
Once all the preparations are made, battle begins. Turn order is decided by a countdown based on agility, last move used and formation. A player character may select from as many as eight different skills: one normal skill for each item, and, if they are well trained with that item and the OverDrive Gauge is sufficiently filled, a secondary, more interesting OverSkill. Using a skill, however, reduces how many more times that item can be used, as Riviera employs a Fire Emblem-styled system of item endurance allowing the item to be used only a certain amount of times before it breaks entirely. The OverDrive Gauge fills throughout battle, as characters receive and deal damage, and with certain skills. At various levels, characters can use different skills, because certain skills require more of the gauge be filled. There are five levels of skills for player characters: Level 0 skills that may be used whenever and without training, Levels 1 through 3 skills, which require training and deplete that amount of the OverDrive Gauge, and Execution Level skills that may be used at any level of OverDrive Gauge, but will shatter the gauge for the battle; these are only obtained through the story. Enemies have a similar gauge with three levels: Normal, Rage and Max. At Normal they may only use normal attacks. At Rage they may use Rage and Normal attacks, but the latter depletes the gauge. At Max, they may use all three, but only Max skills will deplete the gauge, and will deplete it fully. Enemies also have Etc. attacks, ranging from healing to transformation, that may be used at any time.
Once all allies have had their HP depleted to zero, the battle will end triggering a Game Over, which will give the player the option to retry the battle with the enemies' stats lowered and the OverDrive Gauge filled. If all enemies have had their HP deplete to zero, instead, the player will achieve victory and receive a rank based on their performance in battle. The rank is based both on time spent in battle and the finisher, but the rank will also be lowered if the player retried. Trigger Points and items are distributed based on the rank the player obtained in the battle. Also, if a character used an item enough times, that character will be rewarded with a stat up and the unlocking of an OverSkill that can be used in later battles.
Riviera: The Promised Land draws from diverse mythologies, most prominently Norse, where it incorporates concepts like Ragnarok and Yggdrasil into its story. The game takes place mostly on the continent of Riviera, with the characters visiting various locales such as a sinking city, a forest, and an abandoned cemetery.
Riviera offers a cast of six playable characters.
Ein (エクセル Ekuseru, Ecthel in the Japanese version) is a Grim Angel, who sacrificed his black wings in order to receive his Diviner, Einherjar. He wears shorts, a vest, gloves, a cape and a scarf; he has grey-black hair and deep blue eyes. He appears to be an average teenage boy and is quite naive, an attribute that annoys both his partners Ledah and Rose. In battle, his primary weapons are swords.
Fia (フィア Fia, Fiaa in the Japanese version) is a teenage girl with a caring personality. She wears a long green skirt, and a black vest over a long-sleeved white blouse. She has long green hair tied with a matching ribbon and green eyes. Originally, she shared a house with Lina, but later made room for Ein, Cierra and Serene. She is, like Ein, kind and noble, sometimes stern and serious and she can cook and mix herbs well. She is extremely mature, despite being the youngest of Ein's four female companions. Sometimes Fia shows signs of shyness toward others, especially Ein, for whom she nurses a soft spot. In battle, her primary weapons are rapiers and swords.
Lina (ルゥリ Rūri, Lyuri in the Japanese version) is a sweet, childlike and energetic teenage girl. She wears a flamboyant yellow short-skirt and overcoat. She has brown eyes and orange hair tied into pigtails. Lina enjoys eating, going on adventurous treasure hunts and playing lively games with her friends; she is ignorant about household chores. She constantly gets into situations in which she embarrasses herself, especially around Ein, for whom she hosts a secret infatuation. Her primary weapon in battle are bows and other long range weapons.
Serene (セレネ Serene) is an outgoing, tomboy-ish teenage girl, the same age as Ein. She is an Arc, unlike the majority of the inhabitants of Riviera, who are Sprites. She used to live on Rosalina Island with other Arcs until her entire tribe was killed by the Grim Angel Malice. She alone survives and joins Ein, for whom she develops an infatuation. Serene has large, batlike wings, a trait shared by Arcs. She wears a helmet adorned with a pair of fake cat ears on her shoulder-length dark blue/indigo hair and has blue eyes. She wears a long pale blue vest over a black body-suit and a dark blue shawl. In battler, her primary weapons are scythes and other pole-arms.
Cierra (シエラ Shiera) is a kind, thoughtful witch. She is the older sister figure of the group and possesses amazing magical powers. She is always optimistic but sometimes clumsy. She rescued Rose (whom she calls Gateau) after she and Ein were separated, although she accidentally fed her a potion that removed Rose's ability to talk. For enjoyment, she studies and plays with magic. Cierra wears a typical witch's conical hat, red boots, and a revealing, serrated red dress. Her primary weapons in battle are staves and other other magical weapons.
Ledah (レダ Reda) is an experienced warrior and one of three Grim Angels shown in the game. He is a strong, loyal, and very solitary man. It is suggested that he is much older than Ein and his companions, given his experience, and the choice of voice actors for him in the GBA and PSP remakes but this is debatable. He follows the order of the Seven Magi without question. This is because he traded his emotions for his Diviner, Lorelei, preventing him from reconsidering the orders given to him. Except just before dying, Ledah is shown as aloof, cynical, and pragmatic.
The above characters are the only playable characters in the game. Riviera has several dozen supporting characters, notably Rose (Ein's familiar); Hector (the game's villain); Malice (Hector's henchwoman); Ursula, guardian spirit of Riviera; and the Accursed, who act as Stage bosses. There are also numerous Elendian citizens, fairies and undines who help Ein along the way.
Riviera has an opening movie in the GBA and PSP versions.