|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (August 2016)|
North American PlayStation 2 cover art
Evergrace (エヴァーグレイス Evāgureisu?) is a 2000 action role-playing game developed by From Software for the PlayStation 2 and published by Agetec in North America and Ubisoft and Crave Entertainment in PAL territories. The game was a launch title for the system in North America and Europe.
Evergrace features two main characters, Darius the swordsman and Sharline the homemaker, with two distinctly different storylines and different battle techniques. The game allows players to switch between characters at any save point, and uses an experience system dependent on items and equipment rather than statistical upgrades. Another feature is the Palmira Action System which allows players to improve the physical abilities of their characters by combining specialized crystals with their armaments.
Evergrace also features a bonus dungeon that is named after Shadow Tower, another game by From Software, a company is often known for including past game references in their games. The Moonlight Sword, for example, a weapon that originated in their flagship series, King's Field, also appears in Evergrace as well as its follow-up Forever Kingdom.
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The continent of Edinbury once held the largest and most powerful empire of all time: the Rieubane Empire. This empire was primarily ruled by Morpheus, a powerful magician, and his servants and clients. Morphius became devoted to studying the Crest, a series of markings on one's hand, and are considered cursed due to the misfortunes that happen to the Crestbearers. Morpheus was fascinated with the Crest and performed several experiments, thus creating the powerful Palmira Armaments and the man-made AI Crest. After capturing a renegade soldier who had the Crest, Morpheus ordered the Empire to invade Toledo, a nearby independent village in the Billiana forest, because they worshiped the Crest and were supposedly a threat to the balance of Rieubane. The Empire would never have agreed with Morpheus if they knew his real reason for invading the Toledans: simply to acquire more test subjects. In the end, the Empire effortlessly crushed Toledo, but as the flames grew higher, the Rieubane Empire, Toledo and the Human Research Lab suddenly and completely disappeared. People came to call Rieubane "the Lost Kingdom", and the land became overgrown with Billiana Trees. Hundreds of years later, four villages once part of the empire banded together to establish the empire of Fontraile, but this was not to last...
From Software intended Evergrace to be released onto the PlayStation 2 in its earliest stages of development. However, even after this had begun, the development team decided to try developing a version for the original PlayStation. The project proved to be too ambitious, and it was quickly cancelled.
The musical score for Evergrace was composed by Kota Hoshino. He stated in an interview that voices are used as the primary "instrument" in the game's soundtrack. Hoshino recorded samples of his own voice and edited them with Soundforge, then recorded more voice samples to create what he considers to be an ethnic sound. Japanese instruments such as the shakuhachi and the shamisen were also added. All the score's percussion was synthesized.
According to Famitsu, Evergrace debuted on Japanese sales charts at fifth place, selling 75,083 copies. It fell to seventh place the following week, selling an additional 11,886 copies. After continuing to fall on the charts, Evergrace sold 134,865 copies in the region by the end of 2000.
Evergrace received generally average to poor reviews from reviewers upon release. IGN praised the game for its innovations, including its full use of the DualShock controller buttons and the unique "paper doll" system in which the player's avatar actually wears the armor and clothing assigned to it. GameSpot criticized the game for its dated visuals and laggy gameplay during battles.
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