Review by Ravid182
"Great game. Little lacking."
BEFORE YOU FINISH READING MY REVIEW I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU READ MY LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE REVIEW
First let me say that I love this game. Even though I will probably make the game sound sorta bad it really is a fun game even with it's many flaws it is still a great game.
This is a hack and slash RPG that is not greatly based on the story. While it is a decent story it is sort of generic. While it does have a few good twists to it it is nothing special. The absence of video to tell the story is disappointing. You really don't find yourself too much reason to care for the town you are trying to save.
These graphics are quite nice actually. The spells look great. The most I have seen(I am sure you could do more) is up to 20 enemies on the screen with still an acceptable frame rate. The graphics are over all pretty crisp.
Now to the flaws in it. At seemingly random times the frame rate suddenly will go down. You will be walking around with no enemies or anything that or anything you would think would lower the frame rate. It never gets low enough to really effect your play but it can be annoying. Sorta at times is blurry.
This next part is sort of hard to explain. You can sort of see sometimes the patches of land that was put together if you understand that. Like you can see the grid in the landscape a bit. Also with that white dots which resemble dead pixels will appear in places were two "squares on the grid" touch which really does not look appealing. Basically the graphics look pretty nice but needed a little buffing.
Not too much to say about sound. It is of nice quality really. It's only real problem(which is quite minor) is that it is lacking in different types of ambiance music. While there is a decent amount it is just that some of the music just does not fit the location.
The quests are very lacking and all essentially the same. You fight through levels to get to a weak mini-boss or an npc. Then you collect your item and bring it back to someone in town. That is basically all you do. Thats it.
The AI is decent yet predictable. Mage/Ranging enemies run away when you get close to them and attack once far enough away. A trick to get past this is equip a ranged weapon, walk up to them, quickly switch to melee and attack. They won't run when you have a ranged weapon equipped. Melee do what you would think any melee monster would do. Just get as close to you as possible and hack away.
The boss AI is quite good actually. One boss will jump from different holes in the ground, freeze you, grab you and drag you into one of the holes with you and spit you out. As long as you have a few health potions they will normally fall pretty easy anyway.
A big problem is lack of Customization. Heck classes are even gender specific! You get to pick the hair style, hair color, and skin color. That is it. You also only have 3 to 4 choices for each of those.
There are tons of weapons from shurikens to an executioner axe. Weapons and armor also come in different qualities which is nice. For example weapons can have qualities such as "warped", "ruined", "worn" and stuff like that. You can also attach "components" to your weapons and armor to give them special abilities.
Each item has a different effect for whether you attach it to a piece of armor or a weapon. When you attach it to armor it generally just increases your 4 stats(endurance, dexterity, strength and intelligence) in some way. But when you attach them to weapons it will give them effects from poisoning your weapon to giving it a chance to generate an elemental based shield around you for a short time.
The problem is that when you attach it to a weapon and it gives it an effect name but never explains what the effect is(except with special items that come with pre added effects) and you often don't have any idea what it is does. Some are pretty obvious like healing wind(or whatever it is called) will heal you every so often when fighting. Then there are ones that you will probably not know such as trepidation that unless you know the meaning of the word(not a commonly known word) you don't know what it does(in this case scares away the enemy) and even with knowing the enemy it still would not explain well enough.
The only other problem with this part is that you get new and better armor/weapons so often you rarely stick with one piece of equipment very long. You can also wear rings, necklaces, and stuff which increase your stats.
The loading times are very long. upwards of 40 seconds has been the highest I have experienced and the average is 30 seconds. Rarely does it go for a shorter period of time then 30 seconds though. One thing I wish is that it had a loading bar to show you how close it is to loading so I know about how longer I have to wait. It also seems to feel shorter when you have a bar showing how much is left.
It is understandable that it has long load times though because it has to create the area, place the enemies and lots of other stuff each time you change areas(except for a very few pre drawn areas). Since they are randomly generated well, they sort of look it. Every level is basically just a big series of square rooms separated by short hallways. Some are pretty linear and some are maze-like.
This game is very easy. Well one neat idea that they had was have the enemies adjust to your level so when you go to previous areas you will not just be fighting off loads of weak monsters that you can all kill with one hit. Instead of having to fight loads of weak monsters for little experience you can go to any place and still have a fun time. While this is a good idea for leveling up it also makes the game easy. When going through the story line you are always at a high enough level to defeat them. There is no more leveling up so you can get past a certain part in the story. It makes it just too easy.
The game is very long though even with it's ease. It will take you from 20-50 hours to complete the game. Which is very nice because you rarely find a game so long now a days.
As you level up you can also put points into abilities. Each class has a different ability tree. As you level up and get abilities lower on the tree you can invest your points into lower abilities. After you get the ability you can use your ability points to increase you ability's power. Abilities can range from summoning a ball of thorns to act as a decoy for you to a large combo attack. The characters have a good selection of abilities with each having around 18 different ones. The problem is the berserker. She(gender specific) has a large lack of good abilities and you will find yourself investing most of your ability points into just 2 or 3 different ones because really those are the only good ones.
One last thing. On the menu screens it lags quite a bit. Thats it for gameplay.
I think the controls are great. You control with your analog nub. Attack with X. Circle and triangle are for abilities. Square is basic command ability. d-pad is quick select for abilities. L is for health potions. One smart they did was with the R button. They made that the secondary button. Like as you know L is for health potions. Hold R+L for a power potion. Square is an action button(talk with people, pick up items, ect) as you know. But with R+Square you change the on-screen mini map.
Not too much to say here. Pretty nice. You can zoom in and out. When zoomed in you are too close to see what is happening so you will rarely zoom in. Otherwise camera is changed by holding R and using the D-pad. The reason this did not get a 10 is because when in the heat of battle you don't have time to take your hand of the analog stick and change the camera. But this is remedied pretty well by a quick press of R+ triangle to center the camera which works just fine.
Multi Player 9/10
You can do wireless multi player with people near you. You join right into one person's game and play with them. The monsters adjust with both player's levels. It is very well done. There is 2 problems with it. One is no player vs player. I can live with no player vs player and personally like co-op modes better in games but it would have been nice to have the option. The other problem is no online play. Sort of ironic with this game coming from Sony Online Entertainment. Now you can play with people online in a way. By using a tunneler you can play as if you were playing with people right by you. The problem is lots of lag most of the time and hard to find people online. Still fun though.
Total Score 7 Not average
Now after reading my review you are probably thinking something like, "This game just does not sound too good and I don't think I will get it". It really is a very fun game. I highly recommend it. Even with all it's flaws it is still a pleasure to play. As long as you somewhat like hack and slash rpgs you will like this game. You will love the portability and will last you for a long time.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/31/05
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