Review by FuSoYa999
"It's worth renting, at least."
In battles, you position your characters in an area, which is limited by how far they can walk. They have set attack ranges for their regular attacks and their special attacks/magic. In battles, you acquire skill points and experience points. The experience points allow you to gain levels, while the skill points allows you to acquire the special attacks/magic of your choosing. The experience system is a little flawed, because your high level characters will gain (a lot) more experience than your low level characters. The special skills/magic has a ridiculously long 'charge up' animation too, where your character just sits there while some wave thingies are seen and some sounds are heard; you might get REALLY annoyed at that, because you'll see that over 300 times in the game, probably. The attacks themselves are also usually short, but even the longer ones aren't as long as any of the special attacks in Xenosaga, fortunately, so don't worry about that. Using special attacks/magic requires spirit stones. Each character has a set amount of spirit stones they can carry, and up to 999 unused spirit stones can be kept as party items. The battle system is pretty simple, but not bad at all. The gameplay outside of battles is rather limited, and it might get to some people (like me). The dungeons are few, they contain few treasures, and the treasures are laid out right in front of you. It's probably made out to be this way because of the battle system, where battles are pretty long and they take up entire screens. Don't expect a lot of exploration in this game, not even in the battles; the areas you fight on seem pretty big, but the areas you're allowed to walk on is much less. The game is also very easy; I usually don't mind this, because I can just not equip new weapons and armor or something like that, but it's hard to make the game hard in this game, as the only factors you can control are the skills and magic you learn, what weapons and armor add-ons you have on, and whether or not you want to escape random battles. Not using the skills and magic doesn't mean all that much (save for the healing ones), the add-ons don't have a considerable effect until later in the game, and escaping random battles won't have a noticeable effect until later in the game either. There are four battle arenas in this game, two of which you get secret characters from, and a grand spanking two other side quests, that involve you searching for tablets and books.
In this game, humans and Deimos have great distaste towards each other, and it looks like they will soon war with each other over limited resources. The plot has a sort of 'two sides of the same coin' layout, where you experience events with the humans as one main character while experiencing events with the Deimos as another main character. A game focusing on a race war, which it seemed like it would at the beginning, would've been very unique and interesting, but sadly, it's not in this game. In both storylines, you are for the most part fighting the Dilzweld Empire. There are only two battles in this game where Darc, the Deimos main character, kills non-Dilzweld humans, and Kharg only fights against the Deimos in a few battles. And what about the Dilzweld Empire that the story focuses so much on? Well, it's as cliché as it can get. They do all the bad things evil empires can do; they try taking over the world, they go after mystery stones, they break promises with your party members multiple times, they kidnap mystery girls, they torture kittens, they kick people in the shins, they eat babies; it's evil and bad and not good in every single way. It's finally given a tiny smidgen of grayness near the end of the game, but it doesn't make up for the childish black-and-white conflict throughout most of the game. Speaking of which, don't you think this sort of contradicts the 'two sides of the same coin' plotline in this game? Seeing how the game developers are trying to show situations in different angles, you'd think that there would be an angle that shows that Dilzweld isn't evil in every single way, but it's not there. Very late in the game, Dilzweld is out of the picture and the story FINALLY focuses on the two races. But, yet again, there is another evil-in-every-way enemy that they have to join forces to fight. This new enemy is even more cliché than the evil empire; it'll spout things about darkness and destruction and 'negative emotions' every two seconds, and it wants to destroy the world for no reason at all. Your characters start becoming more and more sappy and unrealistic, and it ends in a silly 'good vs. evil' battle. Ugh.
Anyways, I'm being really cynical about the storyline, so you should definitely look at other reviewer's opinion on the story.
Little note: There are a few grammar and punctuation errors in this game as well. No biggie, though.
The music in this game isn't at all bad, but it's not particularly good either, save a few. It doesn't sound artificial, which is very good, but it doesn't have much depth, either. Some of the voice acting is good while some is bad. Darc, Ganz, and Volk sound pretty silly, Maru's sounds rather annoying, and Kharg's lines, such as ''Justice shall prevail!'' and ''Justice wins again!'' fit very well in this game, sadly. Tatjana and Cammilia sound great, as well as others.
The graphics aren't bad at all. The areas where random battles take place are rather repetitive, and I disliked a couple of character designs, namely Ganz and Maru, but that's not much to complain about. Oh yeah, the characters in this game have seizures while talking, like in FFX. There's no dog paddling, though.
Replay value: 3/10
There isn't much extra stuff to do, and if you replay it, you're not allowed to skip any scenes, which I hate. Also, if you replay it, I bet those fancy attacks that took 5-15 seconds to do being used over and over will get to you.
Buy or rent: Rent.
Despite how cynical I am about the game, particularly about the storyline, I still think it's worth renting. It's not a bad game. It just has flaws that will really get to some people while not getting to others at all; that's the case with every game.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 07/22/03, Updated 07/22/03
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