Review by PCrystal

"A good game with a few problems"

Gameplay 8 -

The addition system is a great idea but it's difficult to get the hang of. The problem is that each addition requires different timing and if you get the timing right on one, then you'll have to get the timing right again for another. Which can be frustrating. The battle system lacks depth. You can't custmize your characters like you can with most RPGs these days. It seems more old school like to me. It is still rather enjoyable. I like the 32 item aspect as you can't carry 99 of everything which would have made it more easy it also brings item management. Although they should have given you a choice between using an item when you get one. The world map should have been free to explore. And why is the framerate so bad on the map? The minigames suck there is no reward in beating them (just more items that you already have). The stardust is a nice idea as it brings an element of interactivity and exploration to the surroundings. You will not want to replay this game as it is very long and there are no sub-quests or alternate paths.

Graphics 8 - The graphics are very impressive in some places and not so impressive in other places. The worst part is the joints of the polygon characters merging together during battles. While theres not that much texture mapping I think they traded detail for frame rate. It could be just me but the framerate & resolution seems smoother than FF8 during battles (which would explain less textures and polygons). On the other hand the battles have VERY impressive effects during spells and even the simplest attack looks good with fireworks and lighting. The prerendered locations look great as well. The water effects are stunning and every village/town has a unique look and feel. The graphics should have more character though. The locations are bland at times. The CG sequence I have just seen
(to do with ROSE on disc2) is magnificent!

Story 8 - Its to do with dragons and humans. You play several characters that have the ability to morph into dragoons (dragoons are humanoid and have control over dragons). I think the story is pretty good and definately a LOT better than some of the more recent RPGs stories (Thousand Arms, Wild Arms2). The characters may be stereotypical (you have your 'will they or won't they' love affair with Shana and Dart and you have the strong guy (Kongol) the Yuffie-type (meru) but the actual story to do with dragoons is very interesting because its refreshing and new. Albeit in a japanese Power Rangers kind of way. Translation could have been better with written dialogue.

Sound 7 - The music is by no means bad, but not excellent either. The tunes aren't that memorable but they'll do. Having a variety of battle themes is a great idea. The sound effects are great but the voice acting could have been better during the fight sequences. ('Madness Hero' anyone?)

To buy or rent - Rent. If you like RPGs then this is defiantely worth buying but if precise button-tapping isnt your thing, rent it.

Generally a good game with a few flaws.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/02/00, Updated 07/02/00

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