My Time At Portia Review – Crop Circles. My time at the Portia starts predictably when you clear it out of its hills and curious ruins. Like the Marvelous Interactive titles, clearly inspired by (for example, Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons), it sets you up with the holy trinity of prologues: a father, a child, and a land full of earth. It does not take time until you are welcomed by a public servant who tells you that your absent parent has left the legacy of building and being a Home Depot warehouse before it disappears like the evening tide. Now, fresh in the boat, you are tasked to take over your old man and become invaluable to the people whose lives he has enriched, suggesting that my time at Portia will be a more fulfilled adventure than in reality.
Portia has a distinct post-apocalyptic sensation that gives a sense of intrigue in what otherwise would have been a familiar traversal of another sleepy city that would have driven a noisy city of a player. The game imbues a tidy and watercolor image that would not be missing from a postcard; a “desire you’ve been here” would suit nicely against the huge, scraped metal shells that rise in lush fields and strange little houses like relics from a past era. In fact, they are: Humanity in my time at the Portia is said to have become too ambitious in the past by exploiting technology and science to reach the high heights it was hit. Now it’s aged again for the near future, and you’re closest to Noah and Ark.
These monolithic reminders put different points of my time at the Portia and are an effective and non-intuitive way to make sure you are involved in the wider message around the hubris that leads to apocalypse. It’s an interesting device that would be well-used if it surpassed the more visually interesting world or even beyond the inclusion of a single fraction of NPC dedicated to preserving Portia in the Middle Ages. But it is just as far away: aesthetically, unlike substance. No story really pursues her, nor does it seem to care for the inhabitants of the city. You are not offered the opportunity to engage significantly in the past in the world, which is a shame given how interesting it seems.
Instead, most of the experience remains relatively familiar and uninterrupted by a loophole of crafting, fighting and collecting missions. The crafting system is still the real game of the game. As a master builder’s child, you are given very early access to the plans your father creates. These plans work as development plans; they stay on your person as you travel around the world in search of the materials and you can easily refer to them and check exactly the amount of tin ore you need to convert into the arbitrary amount of bronze bars that you you need to propel a bridge.
You are also offered the opportunity to use a craft station back in your house that tells you exactly what it is missing to build a particular item. There is no need for assumptions and you will also get the visual appreciation of the luminous lattices of what you build as a complement to different parts of the elements sees that they come to life before your eyes on the bench. This wonderful intuitive approach binds perfectly to what you are told, is the innate talent of the protagonist as a crafter, which means you spend less time asking yourself how many rocks you have to open and more time thinking about to the next great creation that forms in the yard.
Crafting is also the only aspect of the game that feels integrated to actually get anywhere with the story – everything is expensive, and the most effective way to make money is to delete handicraft items to sell. But while confidence in grinding is not a surprise if you are a fan of gender, the combination of fast day-night cycles in the game, timed quests and time commitment to get something creative is a recipe for dissatisfaction. Time feels like it will be dragged unless you occupy the craft, which, unfortunately, ends by subtracting from the charm of the bustling city of Portia.
Play more games: