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Video Game / Riviera: The Promised Land

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Rose (cat), Serene (blue), Cierra (red), Lina (orange), Fia (green), Ein (gray-brown-purplemale)

2002 Role-Playing Game produced by Sting Entertainment; Episode I of the Dept. Heaven series and chronologically the final story in The 'Verse thus far. Originally released on the Japan-only WonderSwan Color handheld, it was Remade for the Export on the Game Boy Advance and then on the PlayStation Portable. Both the GBA and PSP versions were published in the US by Atlus.

One thousand years ago, the gods and the most powerful demons enacted an extremely destructive war called Ragnarok. The gods, who otherwise would have lost, broke the taboo that mortal creatures must not have godly powers in order to create the Grim Angels, incomplete yet extremely powerful beings who were able to turn the tide. Afterward, the gods vanished, sealing their powers within the recently liberated land of Riviera and entrusting the rule of Asgard to seven proxies called the Magi. The Grim Angels, too, were sealed away until the time would come that their powers would once again be necessary to protect Asgard from the threat of demons.

In the present day, Hector, one of the Seven Magi, has discovered great demonic activity within Riviera. For the sake of Asgard, a pair of Grim Angels named Ein and Ledah are awakened and sent down from Asgard to Riviera to actuate the Retribution, using the power of the lost gods to destroy Riviera and take the demons with it. However, this will also wipe out the Sprites, the natural inhabitants of Riviera—who pose no threat to Asgard at all. Ein, being The Hero, is uncertain about this. When he and Ledah are almost to Riviera, a mysterious woman named Ursula appears to kidnap him and inflict him with Laser-Guided Amnesia, depositing him in a Sprite village. While there, Ein befriends several girls, and decides to work with them to protect Riviera from demons—and those in Asgard who still want to see the whole world destroyed for the greater good.

Riviera combines turn-based RPG battle systems with a Dating Sim-influenced affection system, minigame-influenced "AT screens", point-and-click style exploration, and a clever Inventory Management Puzzle integral to mastering the game. It is considered both the easiest Dept. Heaven game and the best entry point to the series, as it explicitly portrays the background conflict between Asgard and Niflheim that subtly influences all the other episodes.

In addition to the original game and its remakes, there are two spin-off cellphone games available in Japan. There are also two drama CDs, both of which provide important background for the characters. Other background information on Riviera and its world can be found in the Dept. Heaven canon bible, Dept. Heaven Episodes World Guidance.

See also this interview with the game director and main artist.

Includes examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Ein, though occasionally he's a pervert on purpose (ironic as he's an angel, albeit a wingless one).
  • Action Commands: Apparently the entire basis of dungeon crawling. They're used for everything from dodging arrows to untrapping treasure chests to throwing rocks.
  • Action Girl: All four girls to varying degrees, though Serene is the most prominent.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: For some reason Ein gets blue hair in the PSP version, even when his portrait shows his hair color to be brown.
  • All There in the Manual: The dramas and Dept. Heaven World Guidance book clear up a lot of background information.
  • Alternate Continuity: The Epilogue Disc provides the series with a high-school AU, featuring Fia and Lina as nurse's assistants, Serene as a delinquent, Cierra as a teacher, and the three Grim Angels as student council members. Everyone keeps their in-game personalities, so Hilarity Ensues on a regular basis.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Riviera is actually pictured in the trope example. The entire second half of the last dungeon is a pretty trippy place.
  • Animal-Eared Headband: Serene wears a metal helmet with prominent cat ears sticking out of it.
  • Attract Mode: A narration of the storyline before the title screen and introductions for each playable character after it.
  • Badass Adorable: Lina! She's short, cute, has Girlish Pigtails, talks in the third person, and uses longbows twice her height to annihilate squads of enemies.
  • Bat Out of Hell: There are three different bat items... as weapons! You catch them and use them against your enemies. However like the bees below they are also known to have a chance of rebellion, unless Serene uses them. Serene herself also works with the iconography, bat wings and a large scythe like the grim reaper, but she's one of the heroes.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: The beehives, of course. They're a double edged sword, as they can revolt against the user.
  • Bonus Stage: Chapter 8, Parveeju Temple. On the GBA, it's only the boss fight, in the PSP re-remake it's a full chapter with many enemies, items, a new mechanic and of course lots of hilarious dialogue.
  • Breakable Weapons: There is a limit on how much a weapon (or any other item) can be used. The Diviners are an exception, as they don't break.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Cierra is the largest of the girls. If Ein failed to catch her from falling off the bridge in chapter 3, Serene will save her instead, then subtly comments on her jealousy when noticing how large Cierra's boobs are. Also when climbing the goddess statue in chapter 4 once reaching the statues bust, the girls comment on how "big" the statue is. Ein will look in the "ditch" (which is actually the statue's cleavage) for some hidden items, which Serene and Lina get angry for. Oddly enough, Cierra and Fia don't berate Ein for the innocent action. The vampire girls also count, as they taunt Lina for being flat.
  • Catgirl:
    • Rose, in her true ending.
    • Elendia's resident catgirl Mursya.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Ein is a required party member during story battles, as his Diviner, Einharjar, can't break (trough you can enter battles without bringing it). However, Ein isn't required in practice battles and in the PSP bonus chapter.
  • Chain of People: Near the beginning of the sunken ruins, Lina winds up losing her balance on a slippery rock in the water and reflexively grabs onto Serene, who then grabs onto Fia when she loses her balance, who in turn grabs onto Cierra for support, and finally she grabs onto Ein to stop herself. The end result was all of them taking an unexpected plunge into the water, soaking them completely.
  • The Chessmaster: As the series progresses, Hector, one of the Seven Magi, is revealed to be this. In fact, both Yggdra Union and Knights in the Nightmare, which take place BEFORE this game, show Hector at the early stage of his plan manipulating events in those games to fulfill his scheme to become the true creator.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The way Fia is portrayed in the voice dramas. She shows hints of it in the game, but then all the characters' personalities are exaggerated in the dramas.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After Ein gets caught peeping in the second bathing scene, Soala seemed more concerned about the flaws she missed when constructing the golem standing guard at the entrance rather than the fact she's being seen in the nude and not bothering to try covering up.
  • Covert Pervert: A common interpretation of Cierra, thanks to some unusual dialogue choices that raise her Relationship Values (answering "Don't worry, you're soft" after her Crash-Into Hello, for instance.)
  • Crash-Into Hello: Cierra does this admirably, though it's not so much a "crash into" hello as a "Fall onto" hello.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Despite the game's Multiple Endings, as Word of God would have it, Rose's ending is the one that's canon.
  • Damsel in Distress: At the climax of the game, depending on who loves Ein the most, Fia, Cierra, Serene, or Lina will get taken hostage by Malice, then both get killed by Hector as sacrifices to revive Seth.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: One of the options offered at death may actually make the game easier.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: You can choose to spare Sage and Fool after defeating them both in Chapter 4. Also the thief in Chapter 5 who stole Lina's backpack, who gives a thief manual in return.
  • Demoted to Extra: Ledah and Malice (and even Rose, to some degree) are often noticeably absent in the extras (the drama CD The Precious Chapter in particular is guilty of this).
  • Developers' Desired Date: The game has a rather unusual example. While the game allows Ein to build up relationships with his 4 female party members, Word of God confirms that Ein's official partner is his familiar, Rose the Cat, and her True Endingnote  is the canon ending. Getting this ending, however, requires Ein's relationship points with the girls to be very low, while still having Cierra's points being the highest. This means Ein needs to act like a Jerkass to the girls, which makes Rose's ending the hardest to get.
  • Disaster Dominoes: In the beginning of the Tetyth stage, Lina hops along some rocks crossing a stream, but starts losing her footing. In desperation to not fall, she grabs onto Serene, who also was getting pulled to the water. She in turn grabs onto Fia, dragging her down. Fia then grabs Cierra to prevent from falling, who then grabs Ein. As a result, all five of them wind up splashing into the water.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Rosier x01 counts since it can be abused in training to master Over Skills for Ein, Fia, and Serene in Ch 2, and Fia's Lv 3 Over Skill with it can one shot the boss of that chapter, given that it ignores the obscene guard rate, as well as the fact that Rosier is only reaquired as an endgame weapon, and its stats were obviously made with that segment of the game in mind.
  • Disney Death: Hector sacrifices the girl who likes Ein most to revive Seth. After the final boss is defeated, Ursula revives her.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Usually the S-Rank rewards are the most desirable, but sometimes, such as during a battle against an enemy group called "Sniper Squad" in Chapter 4, the A-Rank reward is much more practical. In this case, the S-Rank reward is the exact same bow as the one received from a chest that appears after winning the battle.
    • Averted in the PSP Bonus chapter, where good items are at a premium and TP rewards from battles is cut down by 1, meaning that S-Ranking nearly all the fights is the only way to guarantee that you won't get trapped (and even that's not certain, it's possible to be trapped on the first screen even if you S-Rank the first battle: 3 TP and 4 Triggers, 2 of which are much needed items, one of which is a red herring, and the last of which opens the way forward; all four costing a TP).
    • Also a case against Bomber Kids, of which there are merely 2 battles against them in the whole game and they give two different items, the Bomb for S-Rank and Dud for A and B. Worse, the bomb item is actually required to access a region where a Rosier x50 waits, yet you have to make sure that the Bomber Kids do not use their ultimate skill, Atomic Bomb because then you will be thrown off-path and unable to reach the region to begin with. It's a real Guide Dang It! situation.
  • Dub Name Change: "Ecthel" to "Ein" and "Lyuri" to "Lina" are the best-known ones, but there were others—the Magi were originally known as the Goth, for instance, and the Retribution was originally called the Ark of Ruin. Cleaning up the rather Engrishy "Death-Bring Angelix" into "Grim Angels" was a rather unambiguous good move out of Atlus, though.
  • Emergency Weapon: Einherjar, for the girls, as they throw it at a random enemy with a low chance of hitting. Ein, on the other hand, can use it to devastating effect.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Ein. Reiche not-so-subtly hits on him throughout the game.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: There are many points in the game where you have to lower your Relationship Values for one of the party members, although the game gives you a choice which one.
  • Fake Difficulty: Many items require you to know to do a certain thing (which often isn't hinted at) to get them. One even requires you to not talk to someone despite generally being encouraged to talk to everybody and having to find three items in the next area!
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Even in Practice, most attacks slimes use decrease the durability of all items by one. While this isn't much of an issue normally, it can really hurt if you didn't know this and brought a low-use item into battle for someone to master.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Ursula unleashes the Cefiro, the World Tree's defense system, in a last ditch attempt to slow down Ledah and for Ein and the others to catch up to him.It fails as Ledah and Malice were able to destroy the crystals keeping Ursula alive.
  • Guide Dang It!: While the game itself is not difficult, finding some bonuses can be pretty hard.
  • Hand in the Hole: In chapter 4, Ein and the girls come across a lion statue that was supposedly used by warriors to test their courage. Ein has the option of doing so by sticking his hand in its mouth; if the player hasn't run away from any battles, he's blessed with a stat boost. If not, he's "cursed"—Based on the dialogue that occurs before Ein puts his hand in, the most likely theory is that running away from battles will cause the lion to chomp down on Ein's hand. Because the battles are generally quite easy before this point save for a few in Chapter 2, most people don't get to see the 'curse'.
    • This could also be turned into "cat in the hole" if Ein tries to put ROSE into the lion's mouth instead, resulting in a scratchy retaliation.
  • Harem Genre: Many girls in Elendia, and even Reiche, are implied to have feelings for Ein—not just the girls in the party.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Rose and Ledah spend a chunk of the tutorial level teaching Ein how to attack, drink potions, and use his eyes. "Press the A button to enter Look Mode!"
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of Chapter 6, when Malice attacks Ein, the already-injured Ledah throws himself in the way and takes the hit.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Two times, Ein can walk in on the Undine Spring, where some of the female inhabitants of Elendia are seen bathing. Naturally, both times Ein gets caught peeping with hilarious results.
  • Idiot Ball: Several occurences. Most blatantly, there is a scene triggered in the Mireno Cemetery in which the party is ambushed by two Vampire foes who try to trick the party into thinking Serene is one of them, when it's been said lots of time until this point that she's an Arc, and the party seems to be falling for it...
  • I Found You Like This: Fia and Lina find the temporarily amnesiac Ein on the outskirts of town and take him to their home to recover. ... And then strip him so they can wash his clothes.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Fanelia. It's easy enough to find if you know where it is. If not... tough luck. Some people save it for the second-to-last boss battle. Longinus as well, as you can get one in the first chapter if you know what you are doing and it can deal lots of damage to any boss.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Each of the playable characters, and certain bosses (all enemies, in the PSP remake), have one of these when they unleash their level-three Overskills.
    • Ein (sword): "This should end it! (sword skill)"
    • Ein (Rose): "Go Rose! BLAZING ROSE!"
    • Ein (Einharjar): "This is the will of the Gods! DISARESTA!"
    • Cierra: "I'll show you the power of magic! (staff skill)"
    • Serene: "Here's my trump card! (scythe skill)"
    • Lina: "I never miss! (bow skill)"
    • Fia: "My resolve shall prevail! (rapier skill)"
    • Ledah: "Thy sins shall be purged... LOST SERAPH!"
  • Intoxication Ensues: Caused by eating the mushrooms in Nelde. One in particular causes Ein to laugh uncontrollably.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: There is a permanent fifteen-item limit on your inventory, which forces players to use or discard obscenely powerful low durability weapons like Excalibur to make room for more practical weapons that offer stat boosts and a more reasonable number of uses.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In order to convince Ein that the Sprites need protecting, Ursula seals his memories and powers and dumps him in the middle of Elendia; until she removes the seal, the only thing Ein remembers about himself is his name. (Interestingly, the game avoids the usual drama associated with this trope as A) the amnesia doesn't last very long and B) that the player is already aware of who and what Ein is).
  • Lazy Backup: Only three characters can be used at once, if they fall in battle it's game over.
  • Limit Break: Lots of them. Characters learn different Limit Breaks by mastering weapons and items.
  • Magikarp Power: Fia has to use a Rosary over fifteen times in order to master them—the highest use-count in the game. The reward is a Level 3 Overdrive that instantly kills all enemy monsters, at the cost of destroying the Rosary, too. The Unleash text for this skill differs from Fia's other Level 3 Overdrives, too.
  • More Dakka: Certain monsters— and Lina, when she has her most powerful weapons— are capable of projectile attacks that count as the medieval version. The final secret weapon, Fanaelia, fire what might be continuous beams of light for max damage per hit.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Blue Fool and Red Sage look like a pair of clowns, but when the time to fight them comes they are surprisingly tough and will demolish your party if you underestimate them.
  • Obviously Evil: Hector (barely) tries to come off as a good guy at first, but his appearance and theme says otherwise.
  • Older Than They Look: Lina. The jury is still out on whether she's actually older than Fia, but she's definitely older than she appears to be (her original character design, in fact, showed her with bigger breasts than Serene!). Hinted at early on in an optional conversation with Coco. Confirmed later, when her age is brought up and she defiantly states, "I'm a year older than Fia!"
  • The One Guy: Unless you count Ledah, Ein is the only male player character.
  • One-Hit KO: Some items and spells can inflict Vanish status, like Fia's Exorcise.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: Ein can peep of the girls bathing in the Undine Springs twice, although he gets caught both times.
    • In the PSP version, you need to perform quick time events to view these scenes. Said QT Es are among the most difficult in the entire game.note 
  • Permanently Missable Content: The game is missable hell. With almost every optional item or scene in the game, you're given one opportunity to get it and if you fail, it's gone. Plus the fact that on multiple occasions, you can get one specific item or skill at the expense of another!
  • Perpetual Molt: Ledah does this whenever he unleashes his Overdrive. He also sheds a lot when he flies, which is a clue that Ein and the others are getting closer to him. Malice does the same and Rose suspects in a later chapter that they may have been following her trail instead.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: In the PSP remake. After Ein gets caught peeping in the second bathing scene, Ladie tells someone to get her spear to her to enact retribution. Rose realizes Ladie was serious and tells Ein to get the hell out of dodge.
  • Power at a Price: Grim Angels have to pay a heavy price to receive a Diviner: Ein lost his wings, Ledah lost his empathy, and Malice sacrified her future. The latter is a lie, as she is an artificial being created by Hector.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Hector's weapon is called the Tentacle Rod...
  • Press X to Not Die: This trope's variations and Smashing Survival are required in many events.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted with Ledah and Malice. Ledah (red) is calm, collected, devout, and apathetic due to the loss of his emotions, while Malice (blue) is temperamental, judgmental, quick to start fights, and almost mindlessly devoted to Hector's plans.
  • Relationship Values: There is a hidden stat in the game that measures the affection of each girl for Ein, based on dialogue options picked duirng the story. This leads to multiple endings.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: The team disturbs a Kredna Beehive early in the story and somehow manages to forget the incident in time to anger some killer bees later in the game. Failing the quicktime sequence results in stings and HP reductions for the whole party, but humorous dialogue makes up for it.
  • Shout-Out: "They don't call me the Scarlet Witch for nothing!" Ditto for the Wolvie claw weapons.
  • Skippable Boss: Golem ZK-III in Chapter 4-6. You can get past it if you use the code in the Golem Manual.
  • Squishy Wizard: Subverted; Cierra has poor defense, but the most hit points of anyone.
  • Stock Weapon Names: Excalibur, Gae Bolg, Longinus...the list goes on.
  • The Stoic: Ledah, who's literally an Emotionless Guy.
  • Suggestive Collision: Cierra's Crash-Into Hello with Ein plays out like this, since she lands on him derriere-first. It is possible to make Ein say that Cierra 'was soft' when asked whether he was okay, which will anger the other girls but make Cierra flattered instead.
  • Talking Animal: Rose, but Sprites cannot understand what she says (due to a strange potion force-fed to her by Cierra).
  • Tarot Motifs: Tarot cards are a possible weapon, and each character uses their "favorite" — The Hermit for Ein, Justice for Fia, The Wheel of Fortune for Lina, The Devil for Serene, and The Magician for Cierra.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Besides the use of the book type as said above, weapons are thrown when used by characters who can't use them — to the point the throw itself is badly aimed.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Cierra (VERY girly), Fia (girly), Lina (less girly), and Serene (tomboy).
  • Too Awesome to Use: Since the battle system is based entirely on consumable items, there are several items which have very low uses, sometimes even only one. Among them are the Infinity +1 Sword weapons Fanelia and Longinus, which deal truly excessive amounts of damage; however other than against the Final Boss, there's no real reason to actually use them, so 99.99% of the time they'll just occupy your item slots (of which you have only 15!).
  • True Companions: Ein's party. The Power of Friendship is explored in Chapter 6, when Fia gets very angry with Ein for keeping to himself in order to Wangst about having to fight his former ally Ledah.
  • Tsundere: Lulu. It seems childhood trauma is as much a part of her attitude as typical tsuntsun.
  • Unusual Ears: Serene and the Arcs. This refers to her actual ears which are pointed versus the helmet she wears. It comes off for the Hot Springs Episode, assuring that it isn't something that is attached to her head.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: While climbing up the giant goddess statue, Ein can try to search in the statue's deep cleavage. The girls call out on his questionable actions.
  • Victory Quote: Each character has one, depending on who landed the final blow on the last enemy and if it was a normal attack or an overskill.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Curing a mute mermaid, redeeming demon siblings, and generally being a decent person is totally viable.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There are many, many options of being a total Jerkass which, apparently, is actually Canon to boot.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: Yes, some of the 'jerkish' options really are more of being a pervert. And yes, being like this will anger the girls, although it can also be exploited to manipulate their relationship values in order to acquire specific endings.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Hector gets one after Ein defeats him as Seth-Rah, complete with a "WHAT ARE YOU?!"
    • He has a slightly less severe one when Ein and the girls beat him the first time around, too.
  • Weapon Specialization: Each party member has one type of weapon they can gain a Level 3 Overskill for — swords for Ein, rapiers for Fia, bows for Lina, scythes for Serene, and staves for Cierra. In addition, there are certain items that only one person can use (only Fia can use katanas, only Lina can use bowguns...)
    • Nobody but the Grim Angel who owns it can use a Diviner.
    • Only Ein himself can use Longinus and the awesomely overpowered Fanelia.
    • Ledah refuses to use anything but his Diviner, Lorelei. In Chapter 1, this isn't a problem, but if you play the PSP Bonus Chapter, it gets tricky fighting enemies that absorb fire damage.
  • Winged Humanoid:
    • Serene, who has bat wings.
    • The Grim Angels, except for Ein who has given up on them to earn his Diviner.
  • You're Insane!: Ein, again directed toward Hector just before the final battle.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Aghart, the First Accursed. It's extremely unlikely that you'll lose this fight since you have Ledah who is almost impervious to fire damage, which is Aghart's element, and has a potent Healing Factor to boot. On top of that you're always forced to attack with Ledah, so you're in a slow, but winning battle of attrition.