Review by 2000double

Reviewed: 10/22/10

The most underrated game on the Wii

I had been looking forward to it since it was first unveiled through a few seconds of footage in a promotional highlight reel. Unfortunately I was too busy at the time of time and did not check it nor did most of the other fans of LostMagic or really anybody except for a select few and a few curious importers. When I finally did check it out I wasn't too impressed but after coming to the game I can see it really is a masterpiece which fixes just about every problem with the original while adapting to the new console. On with the review.

The first thing I thought when I saw that clip is that the spells look gorgeous. And they do. They looked great in LM but it's entirely different to finally see them in glorious 3D and there's nearly 200 of them! Unfortunately this also means that the units themselves look like they come from an early Gamecube game but this only really noticed in story mode cutscenes and in actual gameplay with everything zoomed out they look great. This is all very impressive to me with no slowdown on a weak console like the Wii.

In contrast to LM the developers this went have went with an "epic" orchestrated sounding music. Think Fire Emblem. It's not something you'll be humming but the soundtrack is pretty good with a good range of tracks.

I'd like to point out is the menus are very easy to navigate with no knowledge of Japanese. All the tutorials also use graphics so you'll have no trouble playing the game. Sure, you won't be able to know the story but the game has fully animated 3D cutscenes to make it easy to know what's going on. It's almost as if Taito knew about the US fanbase LM had and tried to make this import friendly. You'd really be doing yourself an injustice if the language barrier is what's stopping you from jumping in.

Now for the real meat of the game. The gameplay. If you're not up to speed Takt of Magic is an RTS style game co-developed by Nintendo/Taito. Despite having nothing to do with it in terms of story I consider it the spiritual successor to LostMagic, my favorite ever, due it playing almost the same way. You control 3 groups of monsters with a mage who can cast magic spells by drawing runes with the Wii remote. New additions include the ability to also control humans who in turn have their own small monsters who they will revive if they get near a capture point but only monsters can capture the capture point.. Capture points still play a big role as serving as good source of healing with many of the single player missions requiring you to capture them.

Of course with it being on the Wii they've had to change things up a little. The overall pace has been slowed down and now the game only allows you to control one group at a time rather than being able to freely select one unit. To make things easier to control they've added a button to tell your monsters to come back to your mage. They've removed the overpowered Bless spells which dominated the multiplayer aspect of LM as well as the "buff-up" spells. They have also removed the mana bar so as to put more of an emphasis on spells. This also means you can longer rush. Instead multiplayer matches are more tense with a lot more emphasis on planning ahead, varying your strategy, and being strategic with the spells. Overall despite some changes for the new console it's still the combination of micromanagement and creative spell usage fans of LM loved.

It's also worth pointing out that this time around the game doesn't even try to pretend to be an RPG removing both the levelling system and the ability to freely travel the world map. This is a very good thing as all the levelling system really did was introduce time consuming grinding. There's also no more hunting for items as those have been completely done away with. The only thing still connecting it to an RPG is that your elements still level up but this is done much better for a number of reasons. Your elements no longer level down and the system now opens up new spells for you rather than just making them stronger. The game is paced well as I got near the maximum of 10 with a 9/9/9/6 set elements at the end.

The story mode is an improvement over LostMagic in every conceivable way. While LM's story could easily be breezed Takt's will take you around 15 hours and the game's levels are well designed with a great difficulty curve. Many of the later ones require a test playthrough just to determine a game plan as well the puzzles you could expect from a game about micromanaging monsters and casting spells. Boss battles are very good too with many of them having loads of health to stop you from simply rushing them as well as powerful spells.

But that's only the beginning. The game features loads of special challenge missions as well as side stories for every sage in the game that will take 2 hours apiece. Completing these will unlock a sage with their own unique spell set for use in the online mode. If that's not enough the game also features an intricate scoring system based on the number of units lost, units killed, time the mission was won, and the amount of capture points you have to determine whether you get a bronze, silver, or gold medal. To encourage replaying the game now gives you a mode to replay any completed mission any time you want. This is a game that will you busy for a while regardless of the language you speak or if you have Wi-Fi.

Gone is the UP system of LostMagic which resulted in horrible balance and people finding the team in the game and sticking with it. Here you can assemble any team you like but must choose between quality of quantity. The groups with more monsters (going up to 6 this time) are obtained earlier in this game but die very fast while the stronger ones are obtained later in the game but only allow you 3-1. Most families also have a middle ground. The biggest change is the addition of humans commanding their own small armies of monsters. They tend to be stronger than monsters and can revive at capture points but can't capture, a crucial ability. The game offers a wide range of monsters with almost every one of them being useful at some point in a well balanced team.

The game gives you nearly 200 spells to play with all rendered in glorious 3D animations. It's down from the near 400 you had in LM but rest assured that's all from weeding out the useless, overpowered, and/or glitchy spells. The big change is now you have 4 main elements which each of 2 runes unlike LM where you had 18 runes and 6 elements. While you can cast single rune and duo rune spells just fine now the Light and Dark elements have become special runes used exclusively to begin a trio rune spell. Another big change is that each sage only has access to a small selection of trio runes available to them but make no mistake about it these are all very useful with effects ranging from just nuking the enemy team with a slow moving orb of dark matter to summoning an invincible monster to stand by your sage's side. You now also lose a capture you use one but this really only serves to prevent you from spamming them rather than to discourage from using them much.

Wi-Fi is great too. It features a wide range of maps with loads of different unlockable sages all while having next to zero with the caveat that you may only use 2 monster groups. Both players now get respawn ports too. The intricate scoring system has carried over except it adds up every match with a built-in leaderboard. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi seems to be dead but from the limited amount I played it seemed to be everything I wanted LM's to be.

Overall 10/10

Simply put Takt of Magic is not only my pick for most underrated game of this console generation but one of the best games I've played period and a worthy successor to LostMagic. Anybody who liked LM even a little or just somebody wanting something different needs to check this out.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: Takt of Magic (JP, 05/21/09)

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