Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rune Factory (NDS)

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Though the name is different this is a Harvest Moon title, yay Harvest Moon! Only this has swords and monster and hacking and slashing and magic with farming and marriage yay!

Gameplay: The game play similar to most other Harvest Moons. In that you select your tool and use it, you run, and you talk to people and give them things. Except now you also have weapons and magic in your selections. All in all the additions were nice making a good blend of action and fun. 5/5

The premise is that you are a guy who has no memories and this girl cons you into working on her farm. Later you get access to some caves where you can fight or befriend monster which become your allies in combat or livestock. The story is thin at best but more then most Harvest Moons 3/5

Being a DS game the best hand held ever I feel I don't think the graphics measured up to what they should. There is though a cool full length video for the opening that despite being corny is nice. 3/5

The people have voices and not just single word voices. Most events and important information from the locals is voice acted. Other than that though the music is nothing special and all else seems just up to standard. 3/5

I'd say its worth playing through at least 1 extra time but not beyond that. Nothing is too challenging and most people will probably get there fill the first time through and only replay to make different choices. 3/5

The game puts a fun new spin on Harvest Moon as a series and I'd like to see more game like this. The main problem being that the game seemed to not incorporate enough of the typical Harvest Moon things, like marital rivals more challenging management of your farm and relationships. I say pick it up and have some fun and here's hoping for an improved sequel. 3/5

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Grim Grimoire (PS2)

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Hello, and as you might have noticed, we've been a bit late with the reviews lately. Expect this to continue. We've been moving around so things have been hectic. Besides that I'm about to go incommunicato for a while. We're also not going to bother with actually reviews for a few weeks after this. We're gonna do some retro reviews for filler. With all that out of the way, it's time to review this gem that is Grim Grimoire.

Story: You are Lillet Blan, a young girl who has recently enrolled into a wizard's school. After five days there, the school is destroyed, and somehow Lillet is sent back to her first night. No one else remembers what has happened before time reversed. The plot sounds a little bland, and I've sadly heard it compared to Harry Potter more times that I'd care. Don't believe it. The desire to know what was going to happen kept me up later than I should have been. The characters are wonderfully vivid. If nothing else, this is a great reason to try out the game. 5/5

Audio: The voices are pretty well done. The music is decent, some tracks more interesting than others. 4/5

Graphics: The graphics look good. They're an artfully done 2D style. When characters talk, they have full portraits that appear. These portrains will move slightly to immitate breathing as well as change expressions to match the characters dialogue. In battle the summoned creatures also retain this hand painted artistic look. The backgrounds aren't that noticeable though. 4/5

Gameplay: The game plays like a real time strategy. As you progress you will learn from four different classes of magic, and each class has three areas. This gives you a total of twelve gates that you can create to summon out monsters and boost their abilities. To fund these monsters, you need to harvest mana from crystals scattered around the map. Only one type of magic gatherer can use a crystal, but the gathered mana is not class specific so may be used on any type. Each magic type is strong and weak against another magic type. The nature magic is weak to alchemy but strong to necromancy. Each category of magic has a gate that will summon an especially strong monster. My favorite is sorcery's summon: a giant egg that hatches into an extremely useful, if slow, dragon. Battles have the option of normal, easy, or sweet. For the most part I played normal and easy, and while some battles were breezes, some were still very challenging. The controls on the units can be hectic at times. When you want an elf to harvest a mana crystal, it might get confused as to where you're pointing and follow around a unit that needs healing instead. It's also difficult to select groups. The game allows for controlling all the same type units on the screen, but you cannot control multiple units at once. Also, you cannot set spawn points, so troops that spawn all hang around the spawn point, clogging up traffic. Still, it's not badly done for being unique. Outside of the storyline, there are also bonus battles with various challenges you can do to test yourself. 4/5

Replay: After beating the game, you do create a save file, but there are no real bonuses to this post game that I could tell. The only unlockable I've heard mentioned is Hard mode if all battles are defeated in Normal mode. 2/5

Overall: The game has an amazing story with beautiful graphics and some fun if, at times, clunky gameplay. Sadly, it does clock in at about ten hours or so, which means, it's probably a good rental. While I absolutely loved the story, and if it were a book, I'd reread it many times, I'm not sure I can say the same for a game. Still, it's definitely worth a look by and RPG fan. 4/5