Review by Fragrant Elephant
Tsk, tsk, developers!
Mimana Iyar Chronicles is an old-school RPG that may or may not be a waste of your time, depending on how generous a mood you're in when you play it.
The storyline is simple: your main character, Crais, is a down-on-his-luck member of the mercenaries guild, and he gets hired as a bodyguard by Sophie, a young girl on a quest. She's out to gather a set number of gems, which of course happen to be in monster-infested areas. Along the way, Crais and Sophie meet Melrose, a crazed "genius;" Tinon, who is probably a royal or noble in disguise; and Patty, Crais' hot cousin. There's one final member who joins, and it's pretty easy to figure out her real identity.
Speaking of pretty, the artwork is just that--pretty. Even Crais is a pretty boy. And every other main character in this game is female, so a part of the game also lets the player favor one over the others, leading to dialogs and sidequests unique to each of the girls.
The game has a few other things going for it. First, the voice acting is superb. All of the character actors, especially Crais', put their heart and soul into the voices, resulting in great character development. Second, the quests are simple and straightforward, apart from the backgrounds being so monotonous that I sometimes got lost. The world of Mimana Iyar is compact, and there are many helpful road signs that make it clear where you're supposed to go next. Third, the story is poignant, made all the more so by the wonderful voice work.
That said, the battle system is TERRIBLE. Fights occur in real-time, and you can only control the main character, who has three moves: swipe, slash, and stab. The AI is horrendous; supporting characters will stand and let the enemy hit them if you dont micromanage their fight options. If youre not careful, your spellcasters will run out of MP too quickly. Finally, the enemies are boring. There are the gelatinous triangles, the gelatinous cubes, pointy-headed golems, and probably a couple more varieties that I missed.
The worst part of the game has to be the INCREDIBLY SLOW LOADING TIME for battles. I actually counted; it took anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds for a battle to start. If youre in a dungeon with a high encounter rate, you can try out some breathing exercises, or go to the bathroom or something. At one point, I got so mad at the slow loading time that I cracked my PSP screen from gripping the handheld so hard. No worries--I replaced the screen and dutifully finished the game. (But, grrrrrr.)
Bottom line: If the developers improve the fighting system, add better enemies, remedy the weak AI, and fix the slow loads, the next Mimana Iyar (if there is one) would be good. This one is only recommended to rabid, die-hard fans of old-school RPGs.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Mimana Iyar Chronicle (US, 03/30/10)
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