Review by wolverinefan

Reviewed: 06/12/05

Mediocre game but it finishes the series off rather well

Before I start this review let me state something. Despite having reviews just for game 2 and 4, I have played and beat them all, in order. I just didn't find time to review games 1 or 3 when I had beat them. Now, most people who are reading this review have played the other three and honestly, you guys don't need to be convinced. This is a series of games that you either love or hate but let me say this, this final one really drags it down but it does redeem itself in the end.

I can't tell you much about the story, due to this being the fourth and final game and if someone you haven't played the first three, I wouldn't want to ruin any surprises, even though there isn't many. No real plot twists in this game but one near the middle. Story kind of just moves along, nothing exciting. However, despite this being a weak volume in the series, the ending is just perfect for those of us who have played through them all. Don't start the series here, just go play volumes 1-3.

The graphics look the same. Fairly detailed. Monsters look cool but are repeated way too often and a lot are just slight variations on others. The dungeons look and feel tedious since this is the fourth game and they haven't changed at all. Cut scenes look good, a bit dated but they do hold their own.

The sound effects in this game are pretty average. Nothing exciting. Things break and sound the same. Nothing exciting about these sound effects. The music is decent, not nearly as good as that of the anime series but it holds its own I guess. The voice acting is still top notch in my opinion. No changes with the cast and the voices do seem to match the characters.

The control is still the same. Simplistic but I oh so wish we could just have a magic button where we could assign a spell or skill to it so we don't have to go through all of those menus but oh well, the menus give you time to think. The camera is a small bit of a pain and I found the boss before last had some terrible camera issues like it was semi stuck in on spot and I had trouble being able to see the boss.

The game play is still the same and it's truly stale at this point. Go from dungeon A to dungeon B, find out info and just wash and repeat. There are different looks of dungeons but they all tend to look the same in the end. You can still randomly generate places or go by word lists, or even create your own word lists. Most of the time you get an over world like place and have to go to a dungeon but some are sort of dungeon-esq above ground stuff that lad to a real dungeon. Fighting is still the same hack and slash with magic thrown in.

The problem with this game is two things. First of all, the monsters that can only be hurt by magic are horrible to defeat. The ones who can only be beat by normal attacks are easy. However, the biggest problem is the god forsaken core hunting. To get to the last dungeon you need 5 cores. There are four specific dungeons that have 1 of those in each; I believe you get one before this also. The problem? You need a little over 40 total to get into those four areas. That's crap when you constantly get instant game over by trying to get cores by data draining. It's truly painfully to sit through all of that crap, and that's what it is. Of course, I see why they did this, it's because the game is very short. About 6 hours if you skip the side quests and if you have most of the 40+ cores from the previous volumes.

For those of you who love replay value; there's a lot here. You now get a "gather 1 of every item in the game" quests which is fine for those who want to do everything. Lots of bonus dungeons and secret characters here and you still have the Ryu books to unlock backgrounds, music and movies. It extends the game length by a lot but in the end, for those who are playing for the story, it's very short.

I don't think I can really explain anything else. Data bugs are enemies that need to be beat up until you can data drain them. It’s a skill that you have from all four games and it makes them weaker. However, you do become infected more and more if you data drain nonstop. Just beat enemies normally and it lowers. It does have it effects, some good (healing), some bad (game over). It's always a risk once it's past green.

I can't tell you to get this game or not get this game. I find that while the game play didn't deliver the ending was enough to make this rough around the edges game worth playing but if you don't like the first game, just pass rest of them up unless that story has gripped you. This series isn't for everyone.

Story - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Control - 8/10
Game Play - 4/10
Replay Value - 7/10

Final Score - 6/10

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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