Review by kalasglenn73
I know, I better make this good, there aren't many positive reviews for this game...
There's no secret; this game has gotta a lot of bad press. I've read almost all negative reviews for both the PS1 version and this version of the game. However, I preordered the game before the bad press was coming out for the DS version, and decided to get it despite it's bad rap. And I'm glad I didn't cancel it!
A little background about me, since I don't believe I've ever done any reviews on this S/N. I'm a huge RPG fan, especially of the PS1 era. This being one of the few of the PS1 era made me interested in it right away. I'm a fairly big SRPG fan too; I've played and beaten FFT, FFTA, Tactics Ogre GBA, and my favorite, Ogre Battle 64. Conversely, I enjoy casual games that are common on the DS too.
Anyways, the point is, all of those interests above show why I was A) attracted to this game and B) show that I'm a gamer, and not some sort of troll or something.
On to the game itself:
I thought the graphics were pretty good, considering it is a DS game. I definitely enjoyed the 3D fields, opposed to the 2D ones found in FFTA or TA GBA. It makes for situations and land shapes that would be hard to create in 2D.
The 2D character graphics look great too. Thanks to the smaller screen size of a hand held, I think they blended better with the 3D environment than most games do with the 2D character/3D graphics setup.
My only real complaint is that a few of the areas had some slowdown, but even then, it was a little annoying, but nothing more than that.
The music was pretty typical for this type of game. It sounded pretty similar to the FFT soundtrack. It was great to listen to for this type of game, but nothing really that blew me away per se.
I'd say it's better than the Ogre series, but worse than FFT. But good in it's own right.
I thought the story was pretty good. It's not the longest story, and I suppose that's it's main fault; sometimes, so much battling goes on that too much time elapses in between story segments. But it is pretty good.
Note 1 - Take a few points off the score if you're one of those jaded "I hate rpg cliches" people. Also, it has some parallels to FFT's story as well, with it's "the different truths about history" kind of topics.
Note 2 - Reading the PS1 version FAQs, there are many branching stories depending on decisions you make in conversation choices, so that helps the story too. I plan on playing again to see alternate situation/characters I missed out on last time.
I thought this game was really fun to play. I played on the "Normal" difficulty, and as long as I kept my guys leveled up higher than the enemies, the game was quite enjoyable. If I leveled up too much, then it became kind of easy, so you have to find your own balance:
Do I spend an half hour leveling up before a battle and then have the battle take a half hour; or do I go right at the story battle and probably take an hour on it instead. (Not exactly those time frames, but it's along that idea.)
I've heard people complain about the "Session" part of the fighting system to be too complex or difficult to set up. I agree. I didn't enjoy it. But here's the thing; just don't use it. I guess that doesn't work if you're some sort of perfectionist, because it does give you some rare stuff I believe, but I made it through the entire game without HAVING to do it. (I'd explain the system, but I'd probably just confuse you readers. Any game preview you look up should explain it well.)
The other part of the fighting system that makes it different is the magic system. This is where a coin, which is responsible for a certain kind of magic, to be equipped by a character, and then the stats are altered by colecting seals and applying them to it. I found, albeit time consuming, to mess around with coin's stats. Also, I enjoyed the fact that, if a character dies, you can atleast give the coin to your new replacement character, rather than having to redevelop the magic on a new character.
Anyways, all in all, I enjoyed the battle system. It was something new, without straying too far from the FFT type of formula.
ENDING COMMENTS (and replay value too)
Please don't be put off by all the negative press this game is getting! I wasn't, and I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the game a lot, and because of it's branching paths and story, I look forward to playing it again. The different difficulties help too: If you want to play the game strictly to see the alternate story, you could breeze through the easy mode. If you want to challenge yourself, you can try the hard mode. So I'd suggest starting on Normal, and then taking one of the 2 above routes for a second play through.
If you're a FFT or TO fan, I say give this game a try! And ignore all the hate from the media!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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