Archive for the ‘DS Reviews’ Category.

Puzzle Quest Galactrix – Staff Review

In 2007, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords combined gem-matching puzzles with RPG gameplay to create a unique and entertaining experience. Puzzle Quest Galactrix for the Nintendo DS attempts to replicate the experience… and fails entirely. Riddled with control problems, a sloppy port to the DS, and frustrating gameplay, Galactrix is a poor successor to Challenge of the Warlords.

Continue reading ‘Puzzle Quest Galactrix – Staff Review’ »

Pokemon Platinum – Staff Review

It’s as predictable as the incoming tide; whenever there is a Pokemon game in the main series with two versions, there will inevitably be a third version. A remix of sorts which takes elements of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl and combines them to create a more completely fleshed-out game, Pokemon Platinum feels less radical than Pokemon Emerald and Yellow before it, but a lot of that is due to the restrictions the game itself places on its most outlandish and unusual features. On the whole, Pokemon Platinum is a solid title, and does a number of things which are unexpected for a Pokemon game, but it hardly qualifies as an essential purchase for anyone beyond the dedicated Pokemon fan. Continue reading ‘Pokemon Platinum – Staff Review’ »

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon – Staff Review #2

Japan was first introduced to the exploits of Prince Marth of Altea in 1990 when Fire Emblem: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light was released on the Famicom. In North America, gamers got their first look at Marth in Smash Bros. Melee, a fighting game filled to the brim with various Nintendo characters. With his subsequent appearance in Smash Bros. Brawl, gamers on this side of the world have been eager to learn more about this blue-headed prince. Fortunately, with the DS remake, fans can finally see how the series began with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.

Continue reading ‘Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon – Staff Review #2’ »

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon – Staff Review

In 2001 Super Smash Bros. Melee arrived on this side of the Pacific and with it an unlockable character unfamiliar to most North Americans, the Falchion-wielding Marth of Fire Emblem for the NES. Years after its release in Japan, the original Fire Emblem has come to North America, fully remade for the Nintendo DS as Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. Continue reading ‘Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon – Staff Review’ »

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride – Staff Review

The immense popularity of the DS has allowed North American gamers to get their hands on several games that previously never saw release on this side of the world. Like so many other games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era, Dragon Quest V has been completely remade as Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. Continue reading ‘Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride – Staff Review’ »

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure – Staff Review #2

Several years ago, a company called Nippon Ichi Soft decided to deliver a game called Rhapsody to North American shores. While the company would later be responsible for such successful titles as Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Rhapsody was not met with much fanfare. In fact, the PlayStation game was regarded by many to be glitchy, lazily built, and not all that much fun. An important question arises: Has anything changed after almost a decade of time with the DS remake of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure?

Continue reading ‘Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure – Staff Review #2’ »

Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness – Staff Review

It’s been ten years since a quirky game that fused farming with dating sim first appeared on the Super Nintendo. Since then, Harvest Moon has spawned countless games and appeared on just about every system. Island of Happiness for the Nintendo DS, which commemorates the series’ ten year history,  brings together a mix of tried and true elements  and a few new twists. It also represents a significant departure from the series by giving players very few resources at the outset with the result that the beginning of the game is somewhat more challenging than is traditional. This decision makes the game more interesting in the long run, but it may put off some players who are expecting the easy ride typical of Harvest Moon games. Also, as an added bonus to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Harvest Moon, Island of  Happiness offers players the choice of a male of female character (whereas typically the series releases a “girl” version of a given Harvest Moon game after the fact). That choice is a welcome addition. Continue reading ‘Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness – Staff Review’ »

Chrono Trigger DS – Staff Review

Square Enix has long shown a penchant for re-releases and ports, but Chrono Trigger is one game whose long absence from circulation has always been a bit of a mystery. This long-awaited re-release of Chrono Trigger adds in a fair amount of new content while polishing up much of the old with a new translation, new dungeons, and even a new ending. Chrono Trigger DS isn’t a particularly mind-blowing affair, and the new additions will probably cause some die-hard purists to scream a bit, but on the whole, it’s a remarkably solid and entertaining game with a lot to offer both old fans and a new generation of gamers. Continue reading ‘Chrono Trigger DS – Staff Review’ »

Summon Night: Twin Age – Staff Review

There are some games out there that are appreciated for wild adventures full of excitement, intrigue, and surprise. Some other games are appreciated for their elegantly and meticulously crafted presentation. Some, still, grab players by sucking them in with an addictively interesting battle system and fantastic gameplay. Summon Night: Twin Age is not one of these games. At most, it could provide a lighthearted, quick, and rather mindless experience for only the thirstiest of RPG players.

Continue reading ‘Summon Night: Twin Age – Staff Review’ »

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia – Staff Review

Over a decade ago, Konami introduced a new look to the Castlevania series.  Gone was the notion of lives and linear stages, and in their place was a giant castle to explore, twice in fact.  The game was widely acclaimed, and soon others like it began to appear on Nintendo’s handheld systems.  Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is third game to appear on the DS and the seventh game in the genre, and with some interesting departures, it is the best so far. Continue reading ‘Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia – Staff Review’ »

The World Ends with You – Staff Review #2

Finding himself wandering around the streets of Shibuya, Neku notices that something is amiss. For starters, he receives an ominous email that he can’t delete. He doesn’t remember who he is, and none of the people in the crowded intersection seem aware of his presence. Not only that, he can read their thoughts using a strange pin he has with him. Strange invisible walls, cloaked figures, and weird monsters only add to the confusion. As much as he may dislike other people, he needs answers. Whether he likes it or not, he runs into another person in much the same situation he’s in, and she seems to have a better grasp on what’s going on. Continue reading ‘The World Ends with You – Staff Review #2’ »

Blurring the Line: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

After the many adventures that took place during The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Link is finally getting a chance to relax a little bit. Of course, this peace does not last long, and Zelda quickly finds trouble again. It’s up to Link to investigate the mysteries of the ghost ship and the ocean king in order to set things right. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is indeed a direct sequel to Wind Waker, though aside from one major spoiler, the story doesn’t carry over all that strongly, allowing newcomers to pick it up just fine. That said, there are some similarities in mechanics and world, many of which have been improved upon since the original, though this isn’t always the case. Continue reading ‘Blurring the Line: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass’ »

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure DS – Staff Review

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure was something of a like it or hate it tactical RPG for the PlayStation. It had its share of flaws, but it was also a bit of a cult classic. The game followed the story of an adventurous girl, Cornet, who has the ability to communicate and fight alongside puppets and goes on a musical adventure that, as the title implies, involves a good deal of singing. Instead of simply porting the game over, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure DS makes some rather substantial tweaks in order to make the game more accessible. Continue reading ‘Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure DS – Staff Review’ »

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen – Staff Review #2

Hi, everybody! I’d like to introduce myself as the newest addition to RandomNPC! You might know me from here or there on this big Internet, but if not, my name is Matthew Demers, and I’m a Ph.D. student in math at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. I’m thrilled to be a part of the team, and I’m hoping to review a few more games over the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

Continue reading ‘Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen – Staff Review #2’ »

Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 – Staff Review

Following up last year’s Naruto RPG comes the next in the series, this time taking things in a slightly different direction. Rather than pick up where the first game left off, Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 takes place at some unknown period after the first game, quite late in the anime series, with a side story not found in the anime. This time around, Naruto and allies must collect five mirrors in order to seal away a being of great evil that has begun to break free. Continue reading ‘Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 – Staff Review’ »

Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness – Impression

Harvest Moon is celebrating its tenth birthday this year — no small feat for any franchise — and Natsume is celebrating that anniversary with their latest addition to the series, Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness for the Nintendo DS. Like most Harvest Moon games, Island of Happiness is quite lengthy. After thirty hours of gameplay I managed to make it through the first year of the game. Since here at RandomNPC we believe that an informed review can only be accomplished by playing a game through to its end, I thought I would offer an impression of Island of Happiness based on the first year of the game, in advance of a full review, which will come at a later date. Continue reading ‘Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness – Impression’ »

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen – Staff Review

These days, remakes are all the rage, and many of them are finding their way onto Nintendo’s dual-screened portable juggernaut.  These transitions typically mean new features as well as the expected boosts in graphics and sound, but they also mean comparisons to games that have been released years and sometimes even a decade after the initial release of the source material.  In this light, remakes are unique in that they must compete with games of the past, present, and future in a modern day setting, yet Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen for the DS manages to hold its own. Continue reading ‘Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen – Staff Review’ »

Final Fantasy IV – Staff Review

Final Fantasy IV is a classic RPG that has seen release on five different gaming platforms, so remaking a game that has been played by so many, and often played so many times by those people, is a particularly difficult challenge. How does one make a game that is so familiar to its fans seem fresh and new while retaining the nostalgic feel at the same time? Fortunately, the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV exceeds expectations and is a new yardstick by which to measure remakes in the future. Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy IV – Staff Review’ »

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift – Staff Review

When you’re a kid, summer vacation is the best time for swimming, riding bikes, and playing outside until after sundown. But for Luso, the main character of Final Fantasy Tactics A2, summer vacation is about leading a clan, fighting monsters, and saving another world. It is the making of an epic “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay. Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift – Staff Review’ »

Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard – Staff Review

Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard is a dungeon crawler that seeks to induce nostalgia for the very earliest RPGs; games that, if given half a chance, would happily hand a player their own teeth in a bag. The game’s designers have succeeded in producing a tough, classically-styled RPG, but its high level of difficulty, slow-paced plot, and one-dimensional cast is going to make it fairly impenetrable to anyone without a pre-existing love of dungeon exploration and turn-based combat. As far as dungeon crawlers go, Etrian Odyssey II is better than the vast majority, but this particular sub-genre remains a very insular and traditional one, and Etrian Odyssey II isn’t going to change any of that.

Continue reading ‘Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard – Staff Review’ »