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Old 01-06-2009, 10:27 PM   #121
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005

Nintendo Wii - WiiWare
1 Player
Developer - SquareEnix

My Bias
-I enjoy the Crystal Chronicles universe
-I like Simulation games

My Completion
-Beaten with 95% of the available DLC beaten

Note: This is my first WiiWare review, and so it’s harder to grasp a standard to judge things like graphics and music by.

Story
The game takes place soon after the events of the original FF:CC game on Gamecube. The world has been cured is Miasma and people are ready to start a new life. For some reason the young king (the main character) has lost his father’s original kingdom and must rebuild a new one. He stumbles upon this

I thought the story would end here after this initial opening, but throughout the game you are treated to new storyline and an overall master plot. It does follow the traditional mold of “bad guy threatens world must stop him” but I don’t view that as a bad thing. There are only about five developed characters in this game. They do a decent job of developing these characters and giving them personalities, but it’s nothing too elaborate. I would have enjoyed even more cut scenes to break up the day in day out tasks of this game.


You guys are in a Final Fantasy game, why are you suprised at this?

As a whole the story is anything but a masterpiece, but it helps push the game along and give you reason to playing. It’s nice to have an end goal to work towards and this is a very important aspect of simulation games that is often lacking.

Graphics
Supports 16:9 Widescreen but not Progressive Scan

This game certainly has set a standard for WiiWare titles. The graphical presentation here is on par with, if not better than most retail Wii games. It’s both an amazing testament to this game and an embarrassment for most 3rd party developers on Wii.

The character models are beautiful as always, which is typical from SquareEnix. While there is no facial animation the body language of everyone is enough to convey different feelings. Between the characters, the overall look of the town, and all the various shiny effect this is one great looking game.


I know there are stats somewhere on this screen, but my eyes can't seem to find them...

However these stunning graphics in a small downloadable game are not achieved without a price. For one the games frame rate is all over the place. At the beginning of the game it isn’t too bad, although even then it runs below 30 FPS. I’m no professional when it comes to guessing frame rates but I’d say it runs at a constant 25 FPS.

As your city becomes huge the graphics definitely take a dip. Dropping below the already low frame rate it starts to get really choppy. The absolute worst offender in this regard is your hot assistant Chime. Whenever you call her, she teleports in with some elaborate graphical effect. This teleport animation grinds the game down to about 5 FPS.

Music
I imagine the reason there aren’t many music tracks in MLaaK is because this is a WiiWare title and there simply isn’t enough space for loads of music. Because of this I’m not going to knock this game (or any WiiWare until proven otherwise) for not having a huge elaborate soundtrack.

What is here is pretty good though. The town theme is what you will be listening to a majority of the time. It’s a calming theme and one of those songs that loops well without feeling repetitive. As your village expands the theme changes and gets more upbeat which is a nice feature.

One little touch I liked is how the battle/danger music during cut scenes is a reprise of the Boss music from the Gamecube FF:CC.

Gameplay
Despite the other games in the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles being action based games, MLaaK is strictly a simulation game. Rather than play as the adventurers that go off and do battle, you play as their King and handle all the behind the scenes activity. Again I must stress, this is a Simulation game and not an Action game.


Don't be fooled, only your adventurers get to go fight baddies

The game can be controlled about every way possible on Wii. Wii Remote only, Nunchuk, Gamecube Controller and Classic Controller. Using the Wii Remote only scheme really limits some of the things you can do and as expected makes walking in 3D feel and look bad. Personally I use the Nunchuk setup to play this game. It works great and you don’t have to get out a separate controller.

The gameplay revolves around building the best city you can to support your adventurers, so that they can go out and conquer dungeons. Every day you are allowed to post one Behest (fancy word for mission) on your village’s bulletin board. In the morning your adventurers will come to this bulletin board and give you their opinion on the behest. If they are gung-ho about it then you can tell them to try to complete it if you feel they are ready. Sometimes they get discouraged by it and its best to send them home to rest instead. There are about 25 locations in the core game with multiple behests for each.


There are a ton of dungeons to explore

As you build more houses in you village, more young villagers will show up at your castle wanting to become adventurers. This lets you pick and chose who you want to hire and lets you view all of that villagers stats beforehand.

You help prepare them for battle by building things like weapon shops, shrines and training grounds. Not only do you create different shops and training facilities for them to use, but you also control what these facilities are going to contain. It allows for a lot of depth and strategy as you only have certain amount of funds to work with. Do you upgrade the shops so your adventurers can purchase better swords, or do you upgrade the Training Hall so they can learn better skills? Those are the kind of decisions you must constantly make in this game.

However most of this isn’t available from the start. As your adventurers conquer more dungeons, it opens up paths to new harder dungeons with better rewards. For example you aren’t able to build a Weapons Shop until your adventurers beat the dungeon that unlocks it. This is where the addictive cycle comes into place. Your adventurers conquer a new dungeon, unlock a new building that will allow them to become stronger, train/shop at the new building which allows them to travel to harder dungeons, and the cycle never ends. Eventually you gain the ability to job change your adventurers and have them form parties, opening up even more strategic options.

At the end of every day your assistant Chime gives you a report of what your adventurers did. These reports are really interesting and crucial to review just how they are doing. You can view every single action they did that day in detail, down to a turn-by-turn basis for every battle. Doing this gives you an idea how what aspects of your village you need to improve on. So for example if your adventurer is doing 0 damage with their sword, you either need to buy better swords or level that adventurer up. It really is running a Final Fantasy Battle simulator in the background, turn by turn.


Its actually pretty fun seeing how your new adventurers did

As the day goes on its important to talk to your villagers. Doing so increases your Morale bar, and once it fills up completely you can do some special things. You can either spend that completed bar to upgrade your village, which grants you new abilities. Or you can spend it to give you a few minutes of morale boosting power. When you speak to villagers with this power they get along better with their families and start staying up later at night, in turn letting you stay out later every day.

Later in the game you get the ability to build more than one bulletin board, so that you can assign multiple behests a day. This is great as you support more adventurers you get more things done in a day. However a big problem I kept running into was that my adventurers would go to the wrong bulletin boards. For example if I wanted to send my strongest Warrior to go kill a boss, most often he would head over to the level-up behest I posted instead and all my weak trainees would go to the bulletin with the boss behest. This gets really frustrating.


Gelfsarrem's party always choses the wrong behest to piss me off

Downloadable Content
One of the biggest worries or complaints I see on the internet is over this game’s Downloadable Content (DLC). For those of you who don’t know, you can spend real money to buy add-ons for this game. I was not very keen on the idea of this at first, as I hate having to spend even more money just to play the “complete” game. But as it turns out SquareEnix has carefully made sure all of it is optional. I think it’s a great way to offer DLC because you are still getting the full game regardless, and the DLC is there if you like the game so much that you want to extend it.

I myself felt no desire or push at first to buy this extra content, but my little brother went ahead and bought most of it. I will say that it does enhance the experience and extends the length of the game. I especially enjoyed the Extended Race pack and the Extra Dungeon pack.
What I really love about this game is that it gets you to care about your villagers. I get involved in their lives and know a lot of them by name. I would feel really bad when one of my adventurers would get wiped out or fail a mission and come back with their head hung low. As your village grows it gets harder and harder to keep track of everyone, but you still have a special place in your heart for those original villagers you started out with.

Lasting Appeal
The game has taken me about 18 hours to get to the last boss. I’m sure it’s going to take another hour for me to beat him.

I haven’t tried the extra dungeons provided by DLC yet because I just got them, but from the average time it took to beat the other dungeons I’d say they add about another 5 hours onto the game.

This game does have a NewGame+ feature that lets you carry over your end game stuff to a new save file. I love it when a game does this, and in my opinion adds a ton of replayability. It’s especially great for this game, because learning the ropes the first time though you more than likely didn’t build your village as optimal as you would have liked.

Final Thoughts
For $15 this game is a great value. I’ve spent $50 for new retail games that didn’t last thing long or provide this level of enjoyment. This dosent feel like a cheap little game, it feels like something I would buy retail.

This is by far one of the most addicting games I have played in a while. When I first purchased this game it started off slow but before I realized it 3 hours had gone by and I didn’t want to stop. I don’t remember the last time a game grabbed me like this. If you enjoy simulation games then I really recommend My Life as a King.

Gameplay Video
[YOUTUBEhq]Q3WUMDz0Yxg[/YOUTUBEhq]

Last edited by Seraph; 08-31-2009 at 02:47 PM.
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