Sep 16 2006
Seeing as i own a 360, and this was the first JRPG out for it over here, i just had to buy it regardless of what other reviews had to say. After a week, i’ve completed the game, and i guess i might aswell review it myself.
The graphics were overall quite excellent. The lighting effects are generally quite amazing in places, for example you walk out of a dark cave into the light, and it’s blinding at first and then the game adjusts to the light, just like your eyes would in real life. All that crap the marketing people at Sony and Microsoft keep banging on about “High Dynamic Range” is clearly evident in this game, and it generally looks great, especially when reflecting off of stonework walls or metallic surfaces.
Each of the cities has it’s own distinctive feel, altough some of them are quite a bit blander than others (you can tell they spent more time on Kyoto than the other cities).
There were only 2 “cutscenes” to speak of, but the game didn’t really need them, because at times even with the in-game graphics you were thinking “was that a cutscene or real time graphics”?
Even the little things were also quite enjoyable to watch, like the way the clothes and hair moved if you turned around quickly.
Well, that was the good things about the graphics, there were a few bad points aswell. Quite a few of the backgrounds were very bland, no footsteps in the snow/sand when you walked across it (i mean even ps2 games had this, lol), normal clothing looked kinda rubbery not like real material would look (armour based clothing looked great though), skin texture also looked rubbery, the water everywhere looked absolutely crap, the random battle backgrounds mostly don’t match your surroundings (i.e. you’re swimming in water, then suddenly random battle… and it shows you as being on land), and most annoying of all…. LACK OF CHARACTER DESIGNS!!! You’re walking around a town, there are loads of people, but they’re all using the same 4 character designs for that town… i mean would it hurt to adjust them even slightly?? Does a different colour hair or shirt really take that long to do?
Other than that, the graphics were excellent.
Music?? There was music??
Seriously… there is literally no soundtrack. 1 piece of battle music throughout the whole game, and what seemed like nothing else. How can they even think of selling a “soundtrack”, it’s a total disgrace for what should be a “next generation” game.
Well, the story was fairly generic for a JRPG. Ordinary guy, stuff happens, realises he has some sort of power, saves the world.
Basically, there are these golems mankind created to do stuff (battle, maid’s etc.), 1000 years ago there was a huge golem war, mankind fought golems and the most powerful of all, the “devil golems” ended up destroying most of the world before being sealed away. 1000 years later, the golems are being used for peaceful purposes, and the story about the devil golems is seen as a fairy tale. Then one day the golems go crazy and the main character Atsuma inadvertantly awakens the devil golem sealed underneath his city… The Ice Queen (she looks like she’s into bondage). Stuff happens, his friend gets kidnapped, his city destroyed, he goes on a mission to save the world.
One notable thing about the story is that it’s got quite a few comedy moments, for example throughout the beginning of the game whenever you come across a new obstacle or something you can use, Atsuma (who is pretty thick) has to ask his friend Toya how to use it, and his reply is constantly “Well according to my knowledge, you must press the A button.”, that might not seem that funny, but when you walk up to a ladder for the first time, you’ll be in stitches! ^_^ And also, the whole scene in Junk City where they have to figure out who stole this rare item, they gather all the evidence, then one of the girls, Karin, asks Atsuma “The only way the thief could get in was through this small vent, what does that tell us?”, and you have two responses for Atsuma: “The thief is small”, or “The thief is using a trained mouse to steal things”, if you ever play the game, choose the 2nd option, because Atsuma goes into a hilarious rant (including sound effects) about how this thief has been training a mouse and speaking to it in mouse talk. ^_^
The Japanese voice acting for this game is pretty cool too, especially Yuki’s voice, that angry tomboy kid voice fits her character perfectly! The only problem with listening to the Japanese is that the subtitles are written for the English voices, so there are a few mistakes. e.g. Yuki calls herself “The King of Golem Hunters”, but the subtitles say queen. And the subtitles completly missed out a pretty funny joke at the end of the game, when Yuki talks about her golem hunter class, Atsuma mishears her and thought she said “golden hamburger”… but the subtitles were completly wrong there.
This game has 2 endings… one gay ending, and one gay ending. (that’s all i’m gonna say about that, you’ll see if you play it )
Overall, the story is generic, but still pretty enjoyable, and the characters are definitely fun!
If you’ve ever played a JRPG before then you know what to expect here, random battles etc. The battle system here was somewhat different to the average final fantasy, which was refereshing. It uses a 4×3 grid where you can move your characters around on, different attacks have different ranges etc. and standing behind another character when being attacked reduces damage. So slightly more interesting than the normal boring turn based stuff. Even if you were to get bored of this battle system, then there’s an “auto” and “fast forward” options, so you don’t actually have to do anything during battles!
There were a couple of bad things about the gameplay. First of all it’s pretty linear, like FFX was… you have 1 path, you follow it pretty much all the way to the end, there aren’t many oppertunities to explore the world. Second, the whole game was too damn easy, not once was i challenged like i am in FF games, the final boss took an amazing 3 attempts (unlike FF which can take many many attempts… at least in my case, lol), and the side-quest boss, which is supposedly harder than the end boss, i defeated first time within about 5 mins. And i was barely above level 50 out of 99.
The online portion of the game looks good on paper… bring your golems online and battle other people, but it totally doesn’t work. Hardly anyone plays, and those that do are just using the most powerful golems… no point in playing unless you all have the most powerful golems.
Overall (not an average of the above points) 8/10:
A very enjoyable game, i mean i played non-stop for a week and clocked up 50 hours of gameplay, which is pretty good. Dispite the little things that were unpolished, the game was great fun, which is all that matters really.
+Great lighting effects
+Interesting battle system
-Minor graphical issues that screamed “we were rushed when making this”
-Lack of proper soundtrack