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Old 09-03-2009, 06:47 PM   #151
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I think I'll always wonder what FF12 would've been like if Yasumi Matsuno had directed its development to completion.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:50 PM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpingcat View Post
I think I'll always wonder what FF12 would've been like if Yasumi Matsuno had directed its development to completion.
Certainly better, storywise and character-wise too. I want him to do a SRPG à la original FFT and Ogre Battle so bad, but the chances are pretty slim unfortunately. I won't deny a dungeon crawler like Vagrant Story as well.
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:18 PM   #153
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Nice FFXII review, the Mar-qwis is pleased.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:39 PM   #154
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where is Matsuno now?
working on a new game?

i was really hoping FF12 would be the perfect FF-equivalent of VS - almost!
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:29 PM   #155
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It might be a little late to say but Ivalace was the world used in FFT as well. Otherwise, good review FFXII is definitely a game that should be approached with an open mind. Most people played this game looking for Final Fantasy but the only thing they found was the same was the title and throwbacks to previous titles in the series.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:14 PM   #156
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Man Seraph I love your reviews. Just read your latest 3. I think you scared me off from trying the FFT remake ( I hate what they did to the script, I guess it worked for FF12 and now they want to do it to all their games?) while at the same time make me want to play FF12 again... even though it has that obnoxious way of speaking. Go figure. I dunno. Also reading the reviews with the games respective music playing was a nice touch too.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:48 AM   #157
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The last thing Matsuno has worked on is the story for Madworld. Yeah.

He's supposedly working on another undisclosed project for Wii, with Hitoshi Sakimoto (the music composer for FFT, Vagrant Story, FF12, etc.)...but that's been the only tidbit of info for two years now. Who knows what will come of it, if anything.
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:23 AM   #158
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Vagrant Story 2 *crosses fingers*
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Old 09-10-2009, 02:13 PM   #159
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Great review, I loved FFXII. i agree that the soundtrack was passable but there were some very well done tracks. the rabanastre theme reminds me of the jeuno theme during the starlight celebrations for some reason. they have a sort-of christmas feel to them
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:44 PM   #160
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Sony PlayStation Portable
1 Player
Developer - Pyramid, Japan Studio
Publisher - Sony


My Bias
-I like Rhythm games
-I am drawn to cute games

My Completion
-Main story beaten

Story
The story of Patapon is ridiculously lighthearted. I mean sure the little Patapons take it seriously and are brutally slaughtering things, but they do it while singing cute little songs. The Patapons are on a mission to see “IT” and will not stop until they finally do. They constantly break the Fourth Wall by talking to you as the almighty God that controls them. It’s up to you as their ruler to guide them with music

Along the way the Patapons run into the opposing army of the Zigotons. The Zigotons fear that “IT” should not be uncovered and try to stand in the Patapons way, so the two armies are constantly clashing. Eventually the Zigotons pray to the dark forces and sell their souls to defeat the Patapons. The story never takes itself too seriously which seems fitting for a game about singing eyeball creatures.


The Zigatons are obviously evil because they have red eyes

It sounds strange but throughout the game I actually cared about the little guys. They have somewhat adorable voices and little movements that they do while fighting. When one of my Patapons would get killed I would feel bad.

The ending is really disappointing and funny enough; the Patapons think it is disappointing too. So unsatisfied they embark on a journey across the sea to find the real “IT” and that is the premise for Patapon 2

Graphics
Patapon has a very unique style to it. Everything in the game is minimalist and yet has a good sized resolution which gives the whole game a very modern look. All of the units in the game including your Patapons, the Zigotons and Creatures are all done in pure black which looks really nice over the colorful gradient backdrops. You can tell this game is made by the same developer that gave us the LocoRoco series because they have the same look. Almost like a really complex web game in Adobe Flash.


This worm boss is one of the easiest

Everything runs smoothly and looks awesome once a lot is going on. Sometimes there can be too much going on and it’s hard to see what is happening to your army. This only happened a couple of times though so it wasn’t that big a deal.

Music
The music of Patapon is entirely dependant on the beats you produce in battle. There is a simple pattern that follows you giving a 4 beat drum command, and then your Patapons sing that beat. Once you start to get a combo going and achieve Fever mode the Patapons will stop repeating your beats so much and start singing their own little tunes.

The music is all very Tribal sounding thanks to the drum beats and sometimes gets a little obnoxious. It’s a little weird playing a rhythm game without catchy compelling music, but Patapon just works. Because the music is like this I can’t post a few tracks from the game like usual.

The last battle has a really cool theme which is made even more awesome when the Patapons start singing along to it. The rest of the game should have had cool themes like this because it was the first and only time I actually felt fueled by the music.

Gameplay
In Patapon you are some sort of music playing God that directs the Patapon army in battle with drum beats. The Patapons march from left to right on a 2D plane and fight anything in their path. The commands you give them are simple things such as Walk, Defend and Attack and later in the game you start learning more advanced moves like Retreat and Miracle. However you can only issue these commands along with the 4 beat rhythm of the game. This forces you to think ahead and plan your movements out in advance because you can’t instantly order your army. If you can keep the beat going without any hiccups, your Patapon will enter Fever Mode, which more than triples their attack power. A majority of the game requires you to be in constant fever status if you want to pull through. The only other way to enter fever is to perfectly time your 4 beats, and I italicize perfectly for good reason because the timing is picky as hell.


So to attack these evil Zigoton you play PON PON PATA PON

This premise for gameplay is part of what frustrates me about this game. It seems like there is an art to controlling the Patapons that I never was able to grasp. I did well enough to beat the game but there were many instances I found myself yelling at my Patapons “no you idiots, don’t run back into the fire!” I’ve read the secret to this game is to learn how to break your rhythm and issue commands out of sequence. This would of course ruin your fever status so unless you’re amazing at pulling off perfect beats, it will most likely do more damage than good.

There are a few different classes of Patapons as well as different varieties of those classes. Because I never could remember the weird naming conventions this game uses, the classes consist of Melee, Spear Throwers, Archers, Horse Riders, Ogres and Music Players. You can only take 3 different kinds of Patapon into battle at one time so it offers a little bit of strategy. I didn’t find this customization to be put into practice very well however because Melee, Spear, Archer worked the best for 95% of the entire game.

To grow your army you can make more Patapons by combining the materials you find on missions. Certain combinations will make different shaped Patapons with higher stats. I’m not sure if there is a structure to this combining system, if there is I was never able to figure it out. The game certainly doesn’t give you any sort of guidance and so you are left to experiment with the limited materials you acquire. It comes down to 3 options: Grind missions over and over for more materials to experiment with, constantly reset your game, or consult a guide. Since the first two options were not fun and time consuming, I had to find a guide.

There are parts of this game that get very hard. No matter how good you are your Patapons are always going to take hits. This means that if your defense or attack is not high enough then certain battles will simply wear you down. There were a few missions I played where this exact thing happened, I played perfectly avoiding/blocking/attacking at all the opportune times and I simply couldn’t wear down the enemy before my army died of small block damage.


It is SOOO much fun when this guy launches his unblockable bite attack that perma-kills one of your units

Which brings me to my next issue, equipment is hard to find. Patapons do not level up or anything so the only way to make them stronger is to find better equipment for them. Getting good pieces of equipment to drop from enemies is random and sometimes takes a long time. I found myself constantly playing the same stages over and over looking for equipment and materials. What makes this even worse is that every time you play a Boss stage to find good equipment, that boss levels up. This puts you in situations where the Boss can eventually get too strong to defeat and can no longer be farmed for items. I luckily never ran into this because I consulted GameFAQs.com and learned to reset the game if I defeated a boss and didn’t get a good drop, but I can easily see how a player could ruin their save file.

Despite my frustrations with this game, there were instances that I really got into “the zone” and had a great time. I was really feeling the music, my attacks were all happening at just the right times, and I totally decimated the enemy. I would say buying Patapon is worth it for these moments alone. I only wish that they happened more often than they did.


Get into Fever Mode, start slamming on a boss, and it's good fun

I generally don’t knock a game for the platform it’s on, but Patapon really suffers from being a portable game. You absolutely need to hear the music and I found when playing in public (school, work, ect) it’s too hard to hear unless you block out the world with headphones like some anti-social high school kid. I ran into so many instances where I would be out in public wanting to play and couldn’t. The game does flash a white border around the screen as you play, but without the music it does little to help keep the rhythm. I asked myself the question several times “If the only time I can play this game is when it’s quiet at home, why is it on a portable?”

Lasting Appeal
Patapon lasted me 15 hours according to my save file. However I know my actual play time was more than this because I had to reset the game so many times. 15 hours may not seem like a lot to some but remember this is a rhythm game with stages that only last a few minutes.

After you complete the game you can go back and continually fight the bosses to build an even stronger army. I had absolutely no interest in doing this but you could make quite a powerful army if you keep going. I’ve read that it’s possible to get the bosses so strong that they are impossible to defeat even with the strongest possible army.

Final Thoughts
This is a really interesting way to make a rhythm game. Like I said above, when the game has it’s moments it becomes really fun. It may sound like I have a lot of complaints but I enjoyed Patapon. I recommend it if you own a PSP and like rhythm games.

There are a lot of people who swear this is one of the best games on the PSP but I definitely was not feeling it like they have. Maybe I played it wrong, maybe I just don’t “get it”, who knows. I did like it enough to purchase the sequel so take that for what it’s worth.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:19 PM   #161
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:38 PM   #162
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Seraph, why are your reviews always the best....it just makes everyone who gets paid to review look bad.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:34 PM   #163
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Sony PlayStation Portable
1 Player
Developer - Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher - NIS America


My Bias
-I love the Disgaea universe
-I am easily amused by Prinnys
-2D platformers are one of my favorite genres

My Completion
-Beaten on standard difficutly

Story
If you have no clue what this game is, Prinny CIRBTH is a side story game in the Disgaea universe. It stars a single Prinny, those lovable abused monsters that blow up if they touch something. The premise is that Master Etna has had her pudding stolen from her and orders the prinnys to go fetch her the Ultra Dessert to replace it. Of course the prinnys mention that it’s difficult and anyone who tries to make it dies. In response Etna gives one of the prinnys a red cape (which looks strangly like Laharls cape) which protects him from blowing up. The rest of the game is spent looking for all the ingredients needed to make the ultra dessert.


Notice how Etna couldn't care less about their saftey

This is a very comical game. Nothing serious happens throughout the entire storyline. As a pure comedy it works and I found myself laughing quite a few times. I absolutely love the dialog in this game. I liked it so much that it became the driving force behind wanting to beat levels, just to hear what happens next. I really love the prinny character and hearing them freak out and get abused makes me laugh. Etna and the other bosses of the game are constantly threatening Prinny and he always freaks out. For some reason I never get tired of that shtick.


It makes me laugh every single time

Graphics
Prinny CIRBTH is a 2d platformer with sprites on a 3D environment. The sprite work is fantastic and I found myself being really impressed with both the level of detail and animation. Clothes blow in the wind, and of course all the busty women flop around.

The 3D environments look a little bland but still create a visually pleasing effect. I would have much preferred them to be hand drawn to the level of detail of the sprites. A lot of the foliage and backdrops look really nice, yet the actual ground and walls often look out of place.

Even though the 3D is hit or miss it does offer a nice subtle effect. Whenever you jump and throw blades from the air the camera pans around and shows you what is ahead of you. It’s nothing major and you can actually turn this off if it bothers you.

Music
I was pretty surprised by the games soundtrack because for a spin off game most of it is really good. I love the use of wood instruments throughout the tracks and I it reminds me a lot of suped up classical music. The boss themes are also really well done and while nothing on a grand scale, still set the mood right.

♪ Green Labyrinth

This might be my favorite stage song and I really like how the song picks up about 50 seconds in.

♪ Tutorial Stage

This being the very first stage that you play this track made me realize I was in for a treat. It starts off really slow and then when the violin starts at 44 seconds in and at that moment I thought “Ok yeah, I need to get this soundtrack”.

♪ Hub World

The best way I can describe this track is that it’s very “disgaea-ish”. If you told me that this was a hidden/unreleased track from disgaea I would believe you. I really like the children’s choir in the background.

Gameplay
As mentioned above, Prinny CIRBTH is a 2D platformer. The controls are simple enough with the standard Jump, Attack, ect . Prinny moves very stiff much like the old NES Castlevania games and less like the Super Mario games. Like the old Castlevania games, you also have no control over Prinny in the air. This means that trying to time your jumps in the precise platforming sections is a really difficult task. Prinny has 2 methods of attacking, slashing and throwing blades. Slashing happens when you attack on the ground and prevents you from moving and to throw blades you attack in the air and Prinny will rain down glowing sword blades diagonally.


Prinny's blade throw attack is really awesome

I cannot emphasize this enough: Prinny Can I really be the Hero is the hardest platformer I have ever played. The game starts you with 1000 lives and you are going to need them. The amount of dangers that the game throws at you are insane and on standard difficulty Prinny can only be hit 4 times. This may not seem like a lot but between how much stuff comes at you and how immobile Prinny is it becomes very hard. Most of the time you will die by falling off the edge from knockback after a monster hits you. You will go through lives like water in this game, often losing 3-4 lives within a single minute. I’m not sure what happens at the end of the 1000 lives (I beat it with 657 left), I assume it’s game over. Which means if you find you are dying a lot (like more than 100 times a stage) then you will never beat the game.

I also have another forewarning for anyone interested in this game: You need to be able to tap buttons fast. It really makes me wonder what the developers were thinking when they made this game because the rate at which you absolutely need to tap the attack button is abnormal. Personally I have a unique talent where I can tense up my arm, causing my muscles to shake, and in turn tap buttons at an accelerated rate. I’ve only met a few people in my entire life that can do this which is why I find it surprising that this game requires buttons to be pressed so fast. I beat the last boss with only 40 seconds left on the clock and I attacked him as fast as I possibly could.

With all the difficulty in this game comes a great deal of frustration. Be ready to want to throw your PSP against the wall. However the bi-product of such a high level of frustration is some truly rewarding feelings of accomplishment. I still can’t believe I managed to beat this game and it feels good.

The boss battles both really fun and aggravating. Every boss has a unique pattern and announces their moves before they do them. So what it comes down to is memorizing the pattern and then not screwing up. Once you figure out that you can stomp on almost every bosses head to temporarily paralyze them the get a lot easier.


These girls seem to bounce/flop even when they are just standing

After you complete every stage there is a new platforming challenge in the Hub world. If you REALLY enjoy platforming challenges then you will most likely love this. It’s not a special mode or anything, just platforms above the hub world that you can jump on to climb to the top. Some of the final challenges will have to pulling out every trick in the book to get to the top, such as getting a running start and jumping at the last possible second only to barley grab the other platforms edge. I tried to do all of these but ended up giving up because I got too frustrated with the 2nd to last challenge.


This is the ground of the hub world where you fall to everytime you screw up the platforming challenge

Lasting Appeal
It took me around 7 hours to beat this game. If you are some sort of 2D platformer prodigy and you barley died then you could probably complete the game in a few hours. However if you are a normal or even a seasoned player like me expect to spend a lot of time re-trying the stages and bosses a lot.

The end of each stage ranks you on how well you did. My rank was ALWAYS a C, I assume because I died so much, so if you really like a challenge you can retry stages to shoot for a higher rank. I personally had no desire to go back and do this because I’m not a masochist, but if that’s your thing you may find a ton of replay value.

There is also some extra content unlocked after beating the game as well as some downloadable content. I was satisfied simply beating the game so I watched the DLC on Youtube for the story.

Final Thoughts
I really enjoyed this game and liked how different it was from all the easy 2D platformers I’ve been playing my entire life. I definitely could not play a bunch of games like this because the amount of frustration it caused would make me go crazy.

I will warn you one more time, this is a very hard game. It’s difficulty is a strange choice considering Disgaea is a SRPG and that genre doesn’t require any reflex skill. If you don’t consider yourself very good a videogames then don’t buy Prinny CIRBTH, no matter how big of a Disgaea fan you are. However if you love 2D platoformers and are ready for a big challenge, give Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? a try.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:52 PM   #164
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I didn't know that this game was from Dis Gay or what even Dis Gay even is. I watched fellow forum member Vicviper play it and it seemed cool, but it looked like you really have to get "into" it. Also, from what I understood was that each Prinny Dood (which is the official name of the game according to fellow forum member Vicviper) is their own individual living, breathing entity. So when one dies, it is dead forever. It's family and friends miss it and mourn it. It will never return. Dead. Like your great grandma. Then another Prinny Dood takes over from where the last one died, just like in WW2.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:19 PM   #165
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Nintendo Wii
1 Player
Developer - Neverland Co.
Publisher - XSeed


My Bias
-I loved the first Rune Factory on Nintendo DS
-I’ve barley played Rune Factory 2

My Completion
-Beaten storyline
-Exactly one year elapsed
-90+ hours

Story
The first Rune Factory on the Nintendo DS didn’t have much of a storyline. It had interesting characters but story events were slim and too far in between. I never really had an idea of what was going on in the first game.

Frontier picks up where it left off, however having completed the DS game I don’t think it matters too much. Almost nothing is referenced and if there is something it’s subtle and doesn’t affect the storyline in any way. However this does mean that many of the same characters make their return. You play as Laguna again, having the same antics with a lot of the same girls.

In Frontier the driving plot, and this is revealed in the first 10 minutes so I don’t consider it spoiler, is that there is a giant floating whale-shaped island floating above town and it needs your help. The whale island speaks to you, explaining how it’s slowly losing power and if you don’t save it then it will come crashing down on top of everyone. Overall I enjoyed the story of Frontier and even if it was a bit cheesy, I felt it had a strong climatic finish.


Mist is downright crazy

While the story itself and its presentation is still very archaic when compared to most modern games, it is a big step up from the previous game. Frontier actually had me curious to find out what happens next quite a few times. It still suffers at the conception level because it’s hard to have a well paced storyline if the player has completely control on how fast the game progresses. This means you could view a story related event and then not see it’s resolve until weeks later when you decide to push forward again.

The voice acting has really improved in Frontier. Being on the Wii there is now a lot more spoken dialog when compared to the original DS game. There are a few English voice actors that are well known in the dubbed anime industry, I was able to pick out a few. Most of the characters talk in what I can only describe as “dubbed anime” voices, and have funny lines. I enjoyed the dialog quite a bit and I felt it really added some life into the characters. I really wish all of the games dialog was voiced, and that there was more variety of that dialog. Giving an everyday gift to a prospective female is standard Harvest Moon etiquette by now, but I really would like enough dialog so that I don’t hear the same repetitive lines.

Graphics
The visuals of Frontier are very nice looking. Graphics aren’t up to the quality or standards of a game like Mario Galaxy, but it still looks very nice. It is very refreshing to have a 3rd party developer actually trying in the visuals department for once.

Runeys, a new game element I will explain later, are these little glowing spirit things that float around the fields and town. When there are a lot of them they fill the screen and give a very cool looking visual effect. When you combine their glow-ness with the lush environments it makes for some amazing looking moments.


You mean it is in fact possible for a 3rd party to create quality visuals?

I love the character designs of this game. Hearing some of the characters were returning I was afraid the developer was going to go down the same rut they dug the Harvest Moon series into. One of the reasons I stopped playing the Harvest Moon series is because I got sick of dating the same girls and talking to the same Mayor and townsfolk. Luckily Frontier adds enough new into the mix that it doesn’t feel that way. The old characters still have their fantastic designs and some of the new characters like Annette and Cinnamon have really striking designs. I also like how your equipment is visible now as well.

Music
I was pleasantly surprised with Frontiers soundtrack. Time and time again while playing this I found myself really enjoying the music. Of course it still has its share of obnoxious festival themes but overall I would say this game has the best soundtrack of the entire RF/HM series.

♪ Intro

Keeping with Rune Factory tradition, the game opens with an anime cutscene and a catchy song. This song is very different and in my opinion isn’t as good as the ones from the first two DS games, but I still like it.

♪ Winter

I love the four season/field themes, especially this winter one (which is a great remix of the first RFs winter theme). I remember stepping out of my house the first day of winter and just thinking “oh my gosh”.

♪ Summer

Another great theme that plays during summer. Although I've listened to it probably a million times throughout the game it never got annoying which is a good sign.

♪ Whale Island Outside

This is the music that plays when you first walk out onto Whale Island. It reminds me a lot of Zeal music from Chrono Trigger.

Gameplay
Like the previous entries in the series, Frontier is still very much rooted in the Harvest Moon series. This means you will be doing a lot of unavoidable crop growing, livestock feeding, and female wooing. If you don’t like doing this sort of “daily task” gameplay then don’t think that you can ignore it and play the game like a pure dungeon crawler.


You will still be doing a lot of this, you can't escape farming.

I’ve explained the gameplay formula more in depth in my original Rune Factory review, but I will briefly go over it here. Rune Factory Frontier is essentially a dungeon crawler on top of a farming simulator. At the start of the game there is one dungeon available. Your character doesn’t start with any kind of real weapon to get through this dungeon. So in order to buy a new weapon you must plant,grow,and harvest crops to sell. Now that you have enough money for that new weapon you can clear the dungeon and find new materials to create even better farming tools to make more money ect. This cycle is exactly what makes Rune Factory such an addicting series because there is always an immediate goal in sight. It constantly gives you “just one more thing” to do and it’s hard to find points in which to stop myself playing.

The controls in Frontier are a lot better than the DS Rune Factory games if not only because you can now use an analog stick to move. For one, there is no longer any “Run” button to hold down 99% of the time. Analog control also makes planting crops and combat much more fluid and easier.

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with all the 3D Harvest Moon games is that planting your crops seemed to be such a frustrating chore in 3D. Due to either bad controls or bad camera angles it was always hard to position your character to work on your field. Frontier doesn’t have this problem because it has a fixed camera angle with some decent controls. I was able to do all of the games farm work without ever getting frustrated. When you upgrade your tools to cover even more squares the camera angle will switch to a top-down view which makes things even easier. You should have been able to view your fields like this whenever you want regardless of what tool you are equipped with, if you could it would make farm work as easy as the old 2D HM games.

Speaking of tools I really liked how they were handled in this game. Like all the previous games you can upgrade your tools to become even more functional. The Watering Can can water more spaces at once, the Axe can chop stumps in fewer swings and so forth. What makes Frontier different is that these upgraded actions are no longer activated by a long tedious “charge” method. Now to use your item specials you simply hold down B as you use it. I really appreciated this change because it sped things up considerably. To prevent you from really abusing this they made the SP requirements for these actions quite steep. I ran into a situation where I became too ambitious and tried to make a new watering can before I was ready for it. It drained way too much SP and ended up hampering my farm work for a good 2 weeks until I leveled up.

There are a total of only 4 dungeons in Frontier, a lot less than the previous games. However what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. These dungeons are really long and have more complex designs and secrets than the previous games did. Whale Island is a particularly interesting dungeon as it has multiple parts that you can’t access until you progress further into the game.


Doing this circle move with the greatsword is the best attack in the game

The dating aspects of Frontier have been much improved and in my opinion are the best the HM/RF series has done to date. Like stated earlier, the girls now have a lot of voiced dialog which gives them a lot of personality. Something that I thought was a nice touch was you can give your favorite female hats & accessories as presents and she will actually wear them. I gave Mist a red ribbon and for the rest of the game she wore it around her neck. From that point on whenever I would see her I would see that ribbon and know that I was the one who gave it to her. One of the best parts about the love relationships in this game is that once a girl likes you enough you can take her out on dates. I am really disappointed that I didn’t get far enough in my own game to do this (you need 8 hearts to do so and I got 7 before I beat it). Whenever I return back to Frontier I will update this review to explain how it is.

Forging your own tools and equipment is back in this game and even cooler than before. Now instead of just instantly happening when you add the required materials, a timing bar appears similar to the ones found in golf games. You have to time things right in order to forge successfully and if your timing is good you have a chance to create a higher level item. The higher your forging skill becomes the bigger this bar becomes and therefore easier to time. Along with forging, cooking makes a return however this time cooking is actually useful. Once you really start cooking you can easily make items that restore your SP throughout the day and give you substantial stat boosts and status effects. This in turn makes tasks that were once useless like fishing worthy of your time.


Even hoes have attack power and stats

For as fantastic as this game is Frontier has its share of problems, one of which the series has had since its conception. I don’t know why this keeps happening but nothing is straight forward or explained. As far as progressing the storyline or getting certain things you will constantly not know what to do. For an example the game doesn’t start you off with many tools so you need to find the Axe yourself. You can check the common sense places such as the blacksmith, the convenience store, or the other farmer who lives next door and turn up with nothing, not even hints. In order to get the Axe you have to go talk to the old nun in the church after meeting certain criteria. How would any player be able to figure this out without a lot of painful searching or trial & error? There were quite a few times during my play through when I had to consult an internet guide and even when I read what to do next I thought “how would I have ever figured that out on my own?”

Relationships are a lot harder to establish in this game with both women and animals. I completed the game towards the end of my first year and only had my selected female, Mist, at 7 hearts. I gave a turnip to her every day (favorite food), I talked to her every day, I fulfilled her special conditions, and talked to her at every festival. I ended up beating the game before she was even close to being wed. Even sillier is when the boat race festival came around which is based around going on a boat with your love. At the time that it happened it was impossible to have a girl like you enough to invite her. Monsters also take eons to befriend and this was a big downer for me. In the original Rune Factory you could befriend monsters to work on your farm and after a while they liked you so much they could manage your entire field. In Frontier I pet and rode my monsters every day and only got up to level 2 friendships. I never got to experience the dream of having a self-sustaining field.

A new addition in Frontier are Runeys. Runeys are these little glowing spirit things that float around every area of the game. They represent the spirits of the land and directly affect how well your crops grow. There are four types of them and they all eat each other in a food cycle except one of the Runeys is at the bottom of the food chain and must be replenished. The idea is that if you manage the Runeys and spread them around to maintain balanced populations then in turn they will prosper and so will your crops, fail to maintain balance and nothing grows. As a concept I think this is a really cool idea.

However the way they were actually implemented is ruins anything fun about them, and drags this game down. For one, the only way to check the Runey populations throughout the different areas of the game is to either climb to the top of the Clock Tower or find Candy, the little girl who talks to spirits. Candy is never consistently in one spot and climbing the clock tower is a hassle. In these games you are constantly working against time and having to traverse 2-4 screens before you can even check Runey levels is ridiculous. The other problem with Runeys is that the only way to move them around is with the harvester tool. This tool sucks any Runey standing in your general location out of the air which sounds easy enough. However once you walk to the area where you wanted to pull Runeys from you then have to find where they are floating around. Once you find them the harvester will suck them up along with every other Runey around you. So you constantly have to go into you inventory and release all the bystanders you didn’t want.


Managing these little freaks is not only impossible, but not fun while you do it!

I found that to manage runeys it took up the good majority of an entire day. Walking back and forth to the clock tower, carefully searching and picking out the right colored runeys with the harvester......... and the entire process was a chore that pulled me away from the games fun activities.

So I tried to ignore it, and for the most part I could. Since your farm generates the bottom of the food chain Runey you never have to worry about your field falling into ruin. The problem I had is that towards the end of the game when you want to craft the best equipment you need flowers that cannot be grown on your field. Since the other areas of the map were in total Runey ruin I hit a literal road block and couldn’t continue. Yes, I was able to beat the game fine but this ruined a lot of the fun post-game content for me.

Lasting Appeal
Each day takes around 15-20 minutes to complete, and there are 30 days in a season. Doing the math that’s about 30-40 hours to get through the first year. I somehow managed to spend 90+ hours on the first year alone so going into buildings. I also have become very efficient with how to play these games so I wouldn’t expect to beat the game within the first year.

Rune Factory Frontier will last as long as you still have things to do or until you grow bored doing so. Once you complete most of the main objectives like the storyline, marriage, and the last dungeon the desire to play dies down. After 90+ hours in I had to tell myself to stop because I was still having fun yet wanted to play other games. This is one game I have no qualms about returning to in the future.

Final Thoughts
This is definitely the best game in the series. The first Rune Factory didn’t quite get to this point, but I can confidently say Frontier has topped all the Harvest Moon games. Yes, even Harvest Moon 64.

If you have ever been curious about either the Harvest Moon or Rune Factory games, this is the one to try. It makes me sad that nobody seemed to care (including the gaming press) nor even heard of this game before. Any Wii owner who is looking for a fun RPG/Simulation with a lot of content should give Rune Factory Frontier a try.
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