Review by Hguols
Why do people not like this game? Its outstanding!
I've seen this game in the Playstation store for a while. I took some interest in it, watched some youtube videos, studied the game-play and game mechanics, but ended up passing for the time being because of other people's reviews. If lots of people are saying the same thing, they must be right, right?
Recently, I went ahead and bought the game from the Playstation store (after it came back online) and figured I'd just add it to my other "dungeon crawler" like games. I tried the game out. Played it for a while, played it some more, kept playing it and discovered that I have a regret:
Not getting this game sooner.
I'm genuinely confused as to why reviews here and reviews in the Playstation Store ranked the game so low. The only explanation I have is that newer generation gamers can't appreciate an old school game like this. It has some new aspects to it like more modern games, but the all around feel of the game is very PSOne-like with good-for-PSP graphics and sound. I mean that as a compliment. Enough about my rant, onto the game.
The game is an action RPG with a pretty good engine. You can level up from experience (killing enemies) and are given increased stats as well as status points to fine tune your abilities. You can "level up" your job as well as your weapon use, which unlocks additional special moves.
I'm currently playing through as a fighter, who still has a decent selection of "spells" measured in ability points (AP). This character has close range melee attacks, a melee special, and long distance special attack as well as group special attack. The specials can be gained by weapon use or experience and cost ability points. I'm also playing through the game solo, without the up to 4 party team, which I find to be more challenging and rewarding.
The game has almost like a "free roam linear" setup. There are quests you can purchase at the guild, which unlock special quests which unlock new areas. However, you don't need to sign on to a quest to play the game. Simply leave the town as you please and you can ransack the areas you've already unlocked for additional experience and treasure.
There is also a simple alchemy system, which I prefer over games that have a very complicated one. I'm not interested in millions of combinations I have to discover. I like the growing list of two part ingredients that the shop keeper has, recipes intact, and the shop keeper menu is the only place that alchemy can be done.
There are also weapon shops and item shops that unlock more of their inventories as you progress through the game.
The enemy variety is above average. I've run into a few pallet swap enemies, but most of the time, you can count on running into a couple new enemies as you progress through the game.
One aspect that I really like that other people might not care for, I haven't found a teleport of any kind. Basically, if you want to go to a new area, you have to run there. If you want to visit the item shop and the alchemy shop, you'll have to run across town. This can be a bit tedious, but new shortcuts open up through dungeon areas as you progress through the game so its not too bad. It can however, add an impending sense of doom to exhaust your heal and AP restore potion supply in a latter area, and know that you'll have to traverse back through an angry creature mob. I miss this aspect from a lot of newer games. I can't help but feel a bit cheated that I can teleport to safety whenever things get tough.
The bottom line is, this is a great game and I plan on spending a lot of time playing it. The aspects of the game are simple enough not to be ridiculously complicated, but complicated enough not to bore me. If you've been an old school gamer like me, I think you could definitely appreciate this little gem.
Product Release: Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts (US, 01/06/10)
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