Review by PonPonPataPon
"The game that taught me to ignore reviews"
I am a long time RPG buff, in fact, it's my favorite genre of videogame. Unfortunately there is always bad with the good and RoF is a shining example of the thick layer of crap that surrounds all categories of games. What follows is a poorly thought out stream of consciousness I tried to fill with my ire for this game.
I'll start with the most superficial of all comments I am going to make. ALL characters are chibi, that's right, even you're father in the beginning of the game is naught but a few inches higher than you. This character design fails to kindle my latent japanophile tendencies and just comes off as irritating and childish. If properly proportioned however the graphics would be acceptable.
I have nothing to say about the music because, honestly, if this isn't a rhythm based game or something you actually have to turn the sound on to play, it's not relevant enough to warrant a mention
Now on to what really matters: Gameplay!
Combat and exploration in RoF is realtime, allowing you to explore your environment fully with the aid of the ability to jump. This would seem nice if the environments didn't inspire a sense of dullness and monotony. The dungeons are so uninteresting and samey every room looks just like the one you left. The puzzles are for children who are able to put the square peg in the square hole and fail to give you a sense of accomplishment for completing them.
When fighting you can attack with a melee weapon, grab enemies to throw or slam them against walls, use magic or tribal abilities, and grab onto flying enemies to damage them.
Let's start with the magic system; it's horrible to say the least. To use a spell you have to tap on the proper magecite on the bottom screen to use the corresponding spell and then use X to activate it. Once selecting a target you're rooted to the ground as your lazy target, who's not in any hurry at all, is commanded by your D-Pad to the area occupied by an enemy who will probably hit you and cancel your spell before you can lock on. L locks the target in place and activates the spell if pressed again, allowing you to move again but will go off after a while, L or no L. To cast higher grade spells, every party member must have the same magecite readied which requires you to switch through four characters during combat to manually change their magecite. Once in the targeting phase, while hoping you don't get hit, you have to tap on your other party member's portrait to make them ready their spells which takes additional time and has a laughably short range for such a powerful spell.
Tribal abilities work much like spells in that they take a while to start and can be canceled by damage. Once using a tribal ability the DS takes a second to move the main screen to the bottom which loses you preparation time. The DS also fails to easily recognize enemies you are tapping and will miss or just not react most of the time. When hit the screen transfers back to the top again, robbing you of further attacks and a second of time.
Melee probably works the best, but the collisions, which I'll explain later make it seem fake when you jump on an enemy to curbstomp him, it should be cool, but it's not. Furthermore, a gamer (Like me) might have seen the character customation the game tauted as an oppertunity to be a kickass black mage, but magic being what it is my dreams were dashed and I became a muscular stupid who had enough sense to realize stick them with the pointy end was a great strategy.
Finally the stupid collision this game has. Items take up three dimensions of space, making it able to stack a tower of magecite or random crap monsters drop into a tower to get places you shouldn't. .This is bad game design!!! I should not be able to skip a cutscene just because I made a tower of carrots! Items frequently get stuck on your or your partner's head and it's a trial to remove them as they act like you're infested with something and don't like to be near you.
AI is stupid in this game, monsters will sometimes decide not to attack you, allies will stare at the wall like a vegetable and everyone but you can use magic with pinpoint accuracy.
Story.........story? What story? I had no idea what was going on! You get four party members and skip forward in time a few yours before you even know who any evil people are. Prior to that, you're dungeon crawling through insipid areas with a sense that you're not really accomplishing anything of value.
I have no idea why this game is getting the marks it is as it deserves to be thrown in a box full of awful games associated with a well known franchise and buried in the landfill reserved for ET for the 2600.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/12/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (US, 03/11/08)
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