In the world of gaming, it’s fairly common for titles to focus far too much on abstract gameplay concepts and not enough on setting the stage. So often, fighting legendary monsters feels absolutely nothing like being in a fantasy world, as players are simply too aware of the multitude of systems that surround the experience. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is an odd reversal of this issue. It is supremely easy to get lost in the sheer beauty and tragedy of the crumbling world the game presents, only to have that illusion come crashing to the ground when asked to do something practical, like press a switch. Continue reading ‘Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon – Staff Review’ »
Archive for the ‘Wii Reviews’ Category.
I’m led to believe that hating on Japanese RPGs is the “in” thing right now. Yes, they were pioneering and revolutionary back in their heyday, that magical time around the fourth and fifth console generations (and specifically the SNES and PS1) when cartoony, sprite-based graphics were the norm and any semblance of an intricate plot was head and shoulders above the competition.
That said, Arc Rise Fantasia is a fairly standard JRPG. Brooding protagonist with oversized sword, quiet, sheltered healer girl, semi-fantasy setting, colorful character designs, it’s all there. And it’s better than the haters would lead you to believe. Continue reading ‘Arc Rise Fantasia – Staff Review’ »
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love exists in a strange realm of intersections. It lies between dating sim and tactical mecha combat sim, between long-established Japanese tradition and familiar New York iconography, between the storytelling constructs we know as “video games” and “anime.” Like the Zen master, or the pathetic fanboy trying to get the “harem” ending, it strives to achieve balance in all things.
No discipline is flawless. At one level or another, we are all human, defective, stained with the deepest seeds of doubt and regret, shame and anger. But we can try, dammit. We can try. And this game, despite some technical flaws, tries. Dammit.
The main features of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World are an engaging and solidly balanced combat system, and a somewhat overbearing and at times saccharine story. In this, it is a fairly typical Tales game. That isn’t to say ToS:DotNW is a bad game — on the contrary, the game is quite well constructed — merely that it comes off as a bit derivative, particularly where the story is concerned. ToS:DotNW does try a number of new things with the series with varying levels of success, but overall, it’s unlikely that anyone who already has an opinion about the Tales series will find their position swayed one way or the other due to this game. Continue reading ‘Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World – Staff Review’ »
We Meet Again, Phantom Brave. It’s been a few years, hasn’t it? You sucked up a healthy portion of my time back on the PS2, you slick little TRPG. I had a blast with your free-and-open gridless maps, your extensive and esoteric concepts of what constituted a “weapon,” and your down-again-up-again story. Yes, we had good times. So how’s that intervening half-decade treated you?
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was an interesting experiment back in the days of the GameCube, a system known for its multiplayer prowess. Though the game could be played solo, it was clearly intended to be played with friends, but it came with one tiny hitch. In an effort to promote the GBA and the ill-fated GBA link cable, multiplay required separate GBAs with cables for each player. When the series made the move to the DS, Ring of Fates improved the situation tremendously by providing a game that could be enjoyed solo or with friends, but the multiplayer required a local connection. The third attempt, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, is a valiant attempt to get it right, but in the end, it still falls short. Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time – Staff Review’ »
Over the years, Pokemon has made constant changes to its basic combat system, eventually resulting in a system that is wonderfully balanced and provides a wealth of customization options to advanced players without making things too terribly complicated for beginners. Where Pokemon Battle Revolution goes horribly awry is where it decides to completely shuck all of the secondary aspects of the Pokemon series, such as the plot, the capture-and-train theme, and the sense of growth as a Trainer, in favor of a laser-sharp focus on the combat system. The game becomes dull quickly mainly due to the fact that without anything to support the combat or provide it with any sort of context, it’s just a series of challenges without purpose or direction. To put it simply, Pokemon Battle Revolution is a stripped-down title whose only real saving grace is the inclusion of a handful of systems which really should have been included in the DS titles in the first place. Continue reading ‘Pokemon Battle Revolution – Staff Review #2’ »
When Shining Force II was released on the Wii’s Virtual Console a few weeks ago, Sega fans across North America rejoiced. First released in the 1990s for the Sega Genesis, it is one of the era’s most fondly-remembered games; it is also one of the Genesis’ best-known RPGs. How long are its legs, though? Can it still hold its own in these days of super-powered systems, multi-layered storylines, complicated battle systems, and high-definition graphics?
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon concerns the efforts of Cid and his partner chocobo, aptly named Chocobo, adventurers who are seeking the assistance of Timeless Power, a gem that they plan to use to build an airship. Along the way, the heroes find themselves thrown into another world, Memoria, where those who listen to the bell of the clock tower will begin to lose their memories. Chocobo gains the ability to enter dungeons created by the memory loss phenomenon and restore the forgotten memories, though many of the townspeople are reluctant to remember at first. In this way, Chocobo can help revive the town. Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon – Staff Review’ »
When a quirky title comes along, one that I think most people won’t hear about or will more than likely ignore, I tend to jump on it. So far, I’ve gotten lucky (Portal and Steambot Chronicles, I’m looking at you). Whether or not Opoona, a quintessentially quirky RPG from Arte Piazza for the Nintendo Wii, can go beyond its mere charm remains to be seen. Continue reading ‘Opoona – Staff Review’ »
When Nintendo finally gave the gaming public a look at the Wii, it included a short clip of Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors in the montage of games currently being made. Nearly two years later, the game is out, and anyone can pick up an invisible sword to become the silent protagonist of the newest game in the Dragon Quest series. Continue reading ‘Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors – Staff Review’ »
Apologies, due to technical difficulties, the video version of this review will have to wait until I can recover the files from my hard drive and finish the voiceover. Continue reading ‘Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors – Staff Review’ »
It sure seems like we’re posting a lot of samples for new sections this week. A lot of the projects we’ve been working towards behind the scenes for a last few months are finally just about ready to go. You’ve probably wondered what happened to the reviews I’ve been working on during this time. Well…this should probably give you a pretty good clue. Please note that this is only a test. We are not covering Super Mario Galaxy; it was just a recent non-RPG I beat that I figured a lot of people would be familiar with. This is also more of a half review than a full one since I wasn’t planning to post this publically at first. Anyway, the point of this is just to get some feedback before I finish off the real reviews for the games that we do cover, so please leave comments if you have any. Continue reading ‘Video Review Test’ »
Though the main series of Pokémon games has been released for various portable Nintendo systems, titles such as Pokémon Stadium allow players Continue reading ‘Pokémon Battle Revolution – Staff Review’ »