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Epic Battle Fantasy 5 is the fifth entry in the Epic Battle Fantasy series. The game was released November 30th on Steam with a price of $15 (which can vary depending on your country), with a free-to-play web version with optional paid content releasing a few months later; on February 15th, the game received the v2 update which increased the price to $20. The game isn't a direct continuation of Epic Battle Fantasy 4, but rather a reboot where all the heroes meet each other again for the first time.
The story begins with Matt playing a video game in his house on the coast of Hope Harbor. He has just defeated the final boss when a meteor strikes the earth, knocking out the power and interrupting the game's ending. Distressed by this turn of events, Matt arms himself with a hockey stick and leaves his house for the first time in weeks to investigate the disturbance. Travelling along the piers of the harbor, he fights NoLegs, a cat who was stealing his trash; after being defeated, NoLegs becomes an ally.
Meeting the Mage
The pair continues into the Wild Tropics, finding a strange black monolith embedded in the ground on their way to Hope Harbor's Farmer's Market, where they steal a Shovel to help them progress further. On their way out of the market, they are confronted by a red-haired girl who saw the theft. She attempts to punish them with a barrage of magic spells, but relents after Matt and NoLegs defeat her in battle. Recognizing their strength, she introduces herself as Natalie and asks them to be her bodyguards on her quest to learn about the monoliths, which produce energy waves that drive monsters into a blind rage. Natalie plans to investigate the southern continent where the meteorite strike occurred, but they need a raft to cross the Rainbow River.
Recalling that a raft maker lives in the Mystic Woods, the team heads south, defeating a massive cyclops in order to enter the Ice Cave. As they travel through the cave, Natalie comments that Matt and NoLegs seem familiar, as if they had worked together before; however, Matt dismisses it as a coincidence.
On the other end of the Ice Cave, the trio enters No Man's Land, where they are ambushed by a man in a black military uniform. With the party knocked out by a collision with his high-tech hover-tank, he kidnaps Natalie for an unknown purpose. Shortly afterwards, Matt and NoLegs are attacked by a young green-haired archer, who mistakes them for allies of the man in black. After being defeated, she introduces herself as Anna, a denizen of the nearby Greenwood Village, and explains that her hometown is being besieged by a group of fascists based in No Man's Land. Realizing that they have a common enemy, Matt and NoLegs team up with Anna to break into the Iron Fortress.
After fighting through much of the fortress, the group finds Natalie imprisoned with a number of other women, as well as a chest containing a Hammer that allows them to progress further. They also encounter the man in black - named Lance - and defeat him in battle, but he manages to recover and escape for the moment. In another part of the fortress, the party finds a monolith being studied by Lance's underlings; elsewhere, they acquire a set of Magnetic Boots to make some of its puzzles more manageable. Lance is waiting for the group at the Iron Fortress's main entrance, once again accompanied by his tank; better prepared this time, they manage to defeat him all the same.
Left at the party's mercy, Lance finally explains his motivations; he has learned that the monoliths are of extraterrestrial origin and seem to be recording information for an unknown purpose. He assembled his army to prepare for an alien invasion; the kidnapped women were intended to help them repopulate the Earth after the war. While the party (especially Natalie and Anna) are still suspicious of Lance, they allow him to accompany them on their quest, reasoning that his knowledge of the monoliths could prove useful.
Sailing to the South
With Lance as their ally/prisoner, the party heads to Greenwood Village, borrowing an Axe from Anna's house in order to enter the Mystic Woods. They travel through the forest, finding much of it overrun with monsters, dark magic, and toxic runoff from the Iron Fortress. In order to proceed, they acquire the Leafy Boots and Stepladder; they also battle Chibi Knight for the first time. They eventually find the raft maker's home, but the path is blocked by a strange tree filled with cats; after defeating it, they finally meet with the raft maker and receive a means of crossing the Rainbow River.
With their new raft, the party sets off downstream, but most of the southern continent's coast is too rugged to land on. They follow the river west until they find a mysterious gate at the edge of a snowy field. By collecting a series of Stone Heads from along the river and placing them on pedestals outside the gate, the way is opened for the party to enter the Frozen Valley. After traversing the icy landscape (and finding Spiked Boots to help with the slip-and-slide puzzles) and battling a powered-up Chibi Knight, the quintet encounters Poseidon, an ancient sea god thought to be only legend. Unfortunately, Poseidon has been driven mad by rampant water pollution, forcing the party to defeat him in battle.
With Poseidon out of the way, the party reaches Redpine Town, a monster-ravaged settlement right beside the meteor's impact site. They continue eastward and enter The Rapture, an alien-looking landscape terraformed by the monoliths' power. At the center of The Rapture is a strange seal; using four elemental orbs found around the southern continent, the heroes are able to activate a portal to The Beyond.
The Grand Finale
As they progress through The Beyond, the party becomes aware of an outside force controlling their actions, eventually acknowledging the player's existence outright. After a series of fourth-wall breaks and intense battles (including Chibi Knight's final form), they find a truly colossal monolith that controls the others and processes their gathered data. The party defeats the Cosmic Gigalith, but this only reveals The Devourer, a monstrous abomination that is the true mastermind of the crisis.
The Devourer expresses its frustration that the party has ruined its plans once again, revealing that the events of the entire series were a series of simulations developed as an attempt to create a perfectly organized universe. Since its last four simulations were ruined by the party's actions, it began this one by erasing their memories of each other and their past exploits. When even that proved insufficient, it realized the true source of the problem: the player guiding the party. The Devourer now intends to repeatedly defeat the party until the player quits the game, removing the only unpredictable element in its simulation and ensuring that it can have the purely deterministic universe it desires.
Despite The Devourer's efforts, the party begins to gain the upper hand in their battle, eventually driving it to delete the entire world in an attempt to erase the party. The heroes are able to resist their deletion long enough to defeat The Devourer, but it is able to escape its imminent destruction by transferring itself through the player's computer screen and speakers into the cosmic microwave background. Its final words are a threat to the player themselves, warning that it will find a way to invade the real world where the party cannot follow it.
With the Cosmic Gigalith destroyed, the lesser monoliths deactivated, and The Devourer gone from their reality, the party's memories of their old adventures return to them. A brief "where are they now?" segment then plays, followed by the party's commentary on it since the events of the segment hadn't actually happened yet. Afterwards, the party thanks the player for playing their game (with Lance chastising Matt for trying to advertise their Patreon) before the New Game Plus begins.
- Main article: List of Foes in Epic Battle Fantasy 5
- In addition to four previous characters, NoLegs' role was expanded as he joined the team as a new playable character. NoLegs' equipment consist of "Cat Toys" which are sets of short melee weapons and shields. In battle, he serves the role of a physical attacker that compensates for his minimal HP and defense with high Evade, access to potent support magic, and a variety of multi-hit skills that are optimized for clearing out multiple weak or wounded foes.
- Mana Points (MP) system were abandoned in favor of a cooldown system. Some normal skills, when used, will now be put on cooldown for a number of turns, represented by a clock over the grayed-out skill icon with the number of remaining turns. More powerful skills typically possess longer cooldowns.
- The new Weather system. Each weather will affect both players and foes, with either a status effect or a stat buff or debuff.
- A new tactic is revealed in this video, called Capture Foe. Inspired by the Pokémon franchise, this allows the player to throw a box at an enemy and, depending on how strong the enemy is considered and how many bad statuses are inflicted on them, capture it. Captured foes become summons which the player can use in battle in a similar fashion to the previous installment, turn in to quest givers, or sacrifice to upgrade equipment in the forge menu.
- Some skills are replaced with stronger versions when upgraded, e.g., Tremor eventually transforms into Quake, which later becomes Cataclysm. This saves some space in skill lists at the negligible cost of making older versions of skills inaccessible — they were very rarely used after learning the next skill, and the primary reason to use them was to save MP, which no longer exists. Consequently, some skills now offer modified targeting options to allow them to use the targeting behavior of earlier versions of the skill while adjusting their attack power accordingly (e.g. Firestorm can be cast as a single-target spell for higher damage in addition to its default multi-target behavior).
- Each map grid may now hold more than an area of land, as opposed to previous games where one map grid houses only one area. This makes the already-huge map even bigger. (Explain what this means in more technical terms).
- Background music may bleed into fights, as opposed to previous games where every battle has a specific piece of battle music.
- Premium Optional Areas are now scattered throughout the map.
The V2 update added new content and features to the game (the update was free for everyone that already owned the game):
- 52 new foes, including the Arcade and classic foes from previous games.
- 31 new Medals.
- 16 new Flairs.
- 12 new skills and 2 Limit Breaks.
- A new collectible called Monster Cards, which give small passive benefits (such as more SP) to the party when collected.
- Multiple new areas and dungeons, including the Greenwood Library, The Great Sea, the Data Bunker and the Battle Arena.
- Extensive balance changes to skills, equipment, summons and statuses.
- Certain quality-of-life changes like faster HP and Cooldown regeneration out of battle.
- Additional art in the Grand Gallery.
- The Custom Game mode, which can radically change the way the game is played. ￼Features include altering the stats of equipment, completely changing foe formations, scaling foe levels in all areas, and limiting how many party members can participate in battle.
- Cheats and Challenges alter the game's difficulty further, granting advantages to the players or the foes.
- Initially, in December 2015, a simple style test demo was released, presenting some ideas and possible features.
- Starting from December 2015 until September 2016, foe showcases such as this one were gradually released on Kupo Games' blog and DeviantArt.
- From January to March 2016, visual designs for all weapons, female hats and armor, and items were shown (except for male hats and armors, which were shown later that year, in November).
- Foe Competition, alike those for previous games were held from March until June 2016. During that time fans could send their projects for enemies, some of which were selected by Kupo Games to actually appear in EBF5. See here for the closing post and winners announcement.
- Starting from August 2016 until December 2016, new animations for main characters and their skills were showcased on Kupo Games' blog. Various icons, including those of foes, skills, elements, and status effects were also shown in the meantime, as well as the aforementioned male hats and armor.
- Although programming was being done earlier, from December 2016 onwards, with many graphics created, development focused on programming.
- On April 1st, 2017, Kupo Games released the first footage of EBF5. Despite the date, it was not a joke.
- On August 21st, 2017, EBF5 NPC Maker were released on Kupo Games, Newgrounds and Kongregate. Players were recommended to go to the EBF Discord server to share screenshots of NPCs.
- On January 31st, 2018, the world map was partially revealed, with half the screens not visited and thus displayed as gray rectangles.
- On July 31st, 2018, the official trailer was revealed.
- On August 17th, 2018, the public beta was released, featuring everything except the final boss, the translations, some music, and premium dungeons.
- On November, 16th 2018, Matt revealed the release date of EBF5: November 30th, 2018 on Steam, with a free-to-play web version coming in "early 2019".
- On November 30th, the game was released on Steam.
Unfortunately, the game was hurt due to rushing last development phases. While EBF5 had months of public beta testing, it was partially void: some issues reported were left in with a promise to fix them sometime after release, defeating the point of pre-release testing. This included most basic quality-of-life features requested during the beta, such as a "buy 10" button for shops; an option for quicker/instant text speed in dialogues; a display of status effects' info when viewing resistances; a way to rename summons without capturing the same foe again; an indication of what the small box next to a foe's name means; a button to automatically assign all free steroids to respective characters; and a button to unequip all summons.
On the next day after release, the Steam forums and the Discord server were filled with bug reports, ranging from simply counter-intuitive or under-explained game mechanics (such as certain enemy abilities ignoring the characters' resistances without any reason, or NoLegs' jump attacks targeting anything but the weakest foe they're said to target) to random changes of the game's own settings or system screen resolution, broken save files, freezing and refusal to launch. But Kupo Games actively tries to eliminate such problems, to prevent a game with solid content from getting lost in technical issues and counter-intuitive interface.
Still, the game has been a success. Day 2 after the release, the amount of Steam players in-game at the same time reached twice the value EBF4 had at its peak; the game made back development costs in Steam sales shortly after release.
V2.0's public beta was released in November and was then fully released on [February 15th]. The free version was also released on Kongregate and Newgrounds on January 20th and eventually Armor Games on January 24th.
- Epic Battle Fantasy 5 on Steam
- Free Version of Epic Battle Fantasy 5 (previously a Public Beta) on Matt Roszak's site. It can be used as a "demo" to decide whether to buy the game on Steam.
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