Monday, April 06, 2009

Avalon Code (DS)

Hello, peoples. Today we're going to be talking about the end of the world and the book that will bring about a new one.

Story: So, you take on the role of either a male or female who finds a book. The book appears when the world is about to end, and it is now your job to collect information for what the next world will be like. You slap the book on monsters and people and plants, and you develop maps (no work on your part) of the areas you visit. Of course, having the book is not enough, you must find the four elemental spirits to help guide you. And you must avoid having this Book of Prophecy taken away by the wrong hands. The story is interesting, while not the most developed, it will keep you going. You will want to know how everything plays out. 4/5

The music is nice and cheery, nothing spectacular. There is some voice acting, which is decently done, but again not the most amazing. 3/5

The graphics of Avalon Code utilize the DS well. Environments look attractive, and the characters have a storybook art look to them. It's all very fitting for the game. 4/5

The gameplay is fairly unique. You can put a different weapon in each hand, and the X and Y button each control a hand. Your skills with different weapons increase as you use them, offering you stronger attack and longer special attacks. The A button performs a judgment link, which is essentially you knocking an enemy into the air. Then with timing you can keep pressing one of the attack buttons to knock the enemy higher and higher. Eventually the enemy will explode into HP, MP, and money. You can also alternate the attack buttons, keeping the enemy low to the ground, but easier to reach the hit count necessary for said explosion of goodies. The B button hits things with the book, which allows you to see their data. You can adjust the stats of monsters by altering their data. This is an excellent, and sometimes necessary, way to make bosses weaker. You can use the book to adjust your weapons and armor too, giving them elemental properties, or if you have the recipes, making them into stronger items. When you interact with people, you can give them presents and build their friendship towards you. This also can develop romantic relationships with certain characters. All of this affects how the new world (and game ending) will be. Now then, onto dungeons. This is an interesting area. Each room in a dungeon has some sort of challenge you must face (defeat enemies, hit switches, move statues) and often have bonus conditions. If you earn enough points, you have the possibility of getting a gold medal, which depending on the room might or might not provide you with a new recipe. If you die, then you have the option to continue in the room you are in (with everything reset of course). This makes it easy to forget to save often, and sometimes you will get caught in a boos fight, have to retry again and again, and if you have not saved recently, then you won't be able to turn off the game without losing data (because you cannot save during a boss fight). Boss fights are all about finding the key to winning. Usually it's playing with your new weapon, but sometimes not. One thing to note, altering codes and giving presents cost MP (as does teleporting but that's much later in the game), and the only way to really replenish your MP is using judgment links. Sometimes in dungeons you can find vases that will restore all HP/MP, but these are usually just before a boss fight. The other problem with the game scrolling though the book (the touchscreen). You can flip through the index to certain sections, but you cannot go to a particular page. And you will be flipping through pages often trying to find that particular code you need for any given situation. (*Note: you will need to use the stylus on this game. It's not overdone luckily, just for the moving codes and navigating the book.) The game play is simple enough, and even fun. Dungeons sometimes get tedious with room after room of challenges, but once done you do not have to mess with them again. Overall, good gameplay. 4/5

There are a lot of small things in this game that are easy to miss...a lot. And even if you find most of them, there are things you'll want to do differently. Replay is a worthwhile experience. 3/5

The game is cute and fun and a good way to spend time. It utilizes the DS well, both graphically and gameplay wise. If you want a fun, light hearted action RPG to play, this is a good choice for you. 4/5


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