I was incredibly excited when I heard about Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan. It’s a gorgeous RPG developed by what sounds like the only game developers in Cameroon, Kiro’o Games, designed to share African stories and myths in a unique game. I’m all for an expanded view in games – so often we play titles made by the same American, European or Japanese companies that keep showing us similar perspectives on the world, our future and what types of gameplay are fun. It’s nice to see an African studio jumping into the mix. Unfortunately, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan simply doesn’t deliver on its potential.
Aurion tells the story of Enzo and his wife Erine. On the day of their marriage and his coronation, their village is attacked, sending them into exile. What ensues is a journey of self discovery as Enzo must come to understand himself better in the hopes of becoming a better ruler, better fighter and reclaim his role as Zama’s king. Along their journey, the two make new friends and enemies, come to understand the difficulties facing various rulers in different parts of the world, and come to grips with some difficult truths.
At its core, Aurion feels very much like a JRPG set in an African environment. You go from town to town, meeting characters and doing missions for them and learning lessons about yourself and the world. There are even overworked sections where you move your sprite around a world map with the options to engage with the random encounters, although thankfully these can be skipped if you aren’t in the mood to fight. The elements of self realization and discovery, as well as a dark overarching storyline, all feel pulled from classic JRPGs.
I really enjoyed the African-ness of it all. It was great to see characters that looked different from what we’re used to seeing, and showing traits that are typically seen as defining people of the “Dark Continent”. From the costumes to the customs, it added a unique flair to the experience. It’s something that I hope we will see more of as there is a lot that developers could do with African elements in games – it’s a vastly underutilized set of lore and aesthetics that has a lot of potential.