Riviera: The Promised Land (Yakusoku No Chi Riviera) is a role-playing game developed by Sting, originally released for the WonderSwan Color in 2002 and then completely remade for the Game Boy Advance in 2004. As the first version was Japan-exclusive (and far inferior), this second version would have become the most known and loved one. It was also made available for the PlayStation Portable in 2006, as an enhanced remake. It is the first episode of the Dept. Heaven series, a group of RPGs all taking place in the same universe and sharing the same timeline.
Riviera plays like a mix between a visual novel and a RPG. Although battles have a tactical, turn-based gameplay, characters cannot be directly controlled in the exploration phase; instead, each screen has some triggers which can be activated to start events and move. The game also has a few hints of dating sim elements, as the ending is dependent on which heroine trusts the main male character most.
Asgard, the realm of the gods. Utgard, home of demons. Long ago, a war between gods and demons--Ragnarok--erupted...and the world was thrown into a state of chaos. Asgard, overrun by demons, was on the brink of destruction.
In desperation, the gods broke an ancient taboo. Sacrificing their very lives...they created black-winged reapers that came to be known as Grim Angels. Each wielding a godly weapon known as a "Diviner," the angels entered battle. Through their fierce resistance, the angels brought the war to an end.
The demons were sealed away, but the gods would soon follow. The gods left their power and knowledge in the heavenly isle of Riviera, the promised land, entrusting it to the Sprites until their return. 1000 years have passed since the gods' demise...
Signs of the demons' return have brought fear to this peaceful land. Without the gods, Asgard cannot withstand another war. And so, The 7 Magi, proxies of the gods, made a decision...They will actuate the Retribution unleashing the power within Riviera.
The game tells the story of the wingless Grim Angel Ein, sent to Riviera by Hector, one of the seven magi, with the objective to unleash its divine power by destroying it (the so-called Retribution). Ein reaches Riviera and finds out that it's inhabited by the peaceful Sprites; he is brought to know them and becomes one of them. Instead of destroying Riviera, he tries to fight the demons that are putting the existence of the island at risk. Together with his friends Fia, Lina, Serene and Cierra (plus his cat familiar Rose), Ein will fight to protect the land.
However, things will change when the Grim Angel Ledah - his former partner - shows up to remind him of his duty, setting a series of events in motion...
A spoilerless introduction to the characters of the game, as they will be referenced later:
Ein (Ecthel in the Japanese version) is the main character of the game. He is a young Grim Angel who traded his wings for his sword, Einherjar. Earnest and pure, Ein is concerned with the fate of Riviera in spite of having been sent there by Hector to destroy it.
Ledah is the other Grim Angel who was sent to Riviera with Ein. He does not speak much, but seems to have traded something very important for the fire Diviner Lorelei. He is extremely powerful.
Fia lives in Elendia, on the isle of Riviera. She is kindhearted and gentle. She fits the stereotypical role of the healer, but Fia is also deadly with the holy rapier, her choice weapon.
Lina (Lyuri in the Japanese version) is Fia's sister. In spite of her childish attitude, she is actually the older one. She is a trained archer, and her arrows are like lightning. She seems to have a fascination with bats.
Serene belongs to the people of the Arcs, and lived on Rosalina Island prior to the appearance of the demons. She is quite a tomboy, and her strong constitution enables her to use her giant icy scythe without breaking a sweat.
Cierra is the "older sister" of the group. She comes from the forest of Nelde, where she practiced witchcraft; she is specialized in channeling fire spells with her staff. Can be very absent-minded, and is prone to getting lost.
Rose is Ein's familiar. She came with him and Ledah to Riviera. She is very intelligent and capable of speech, and often acts as Ein's voice of reason. Cierra insists in calling her Gateau.
Hector is one of the Seven Magi, the proxies of the gods. He is the one who ordered Ein and Ledah to go to Riviera to actuate the Retribution.
Ursula is the goddess who protects Riviera and its inhabitants, the Sprites. She opposes the Retribution. Sensing kindness in Ein, she gives him temporary amnesia and brings him to live with the Sprites so he could learn who they really are.