Fun Game To Grow On
My own copy of this game arrived with a bit of gunk stuck in the cartridge which had to be cleaned out before I could play it. But that's an issue with my seller, not the actual game.
To begin with, the game seemed quite slow and full of uninteractive conversations in the traditional style of JRPG games. It was at times a bit tiresome, but the dialogue was witty at moments and aside from the contrived attempt to blend explanation of controls into the characters' conversations smoothly it was actually fairly interesting. A lot to have to skip through if you've already seen the introduction, though.
Once you actually get playing, the gameplay implements an interesting and original way of allowing characters to develop skills you want them to develop by using them in battle... The fact that the character develops the skills associated with equipped items even if he didn't use them that time seems to beg a question or two, but since some skills can't be used by simply commanding the character to do so (and others are occasionally outlawed and will make your character get sent to prison if he does use them) it works fairly well.
My main complaints about the gameplay are the details they left out that could have made it better, so obviously that I found myself annoyed they weren't there. For example, while any given weapon or piece of equipment shows which classes or races can learn special skills by equipping it on detailed view of the item, they do NOT state which OTHER classes can use it, which means that if you want to buy a helmet or a pair of boots to equip to your character just for good defense, you have to buy it and go to the character's inventory before finding out that that class can't use that item.
A similar problem occurs with melee classes' weapons. Some weapons are two-handed, so you can't equip a shield with them, and they will simply be unequippable on the menu unless you unequip your shield first. Why can't this be automatic? Again, the detailed screen does not mention whether they are two-handed, so if a particular weapon is unequippable, the player has no way of knowing except by trial and error whether it's because the class can't use that sword, or because it takes two hands. Or, for that matter, because it's already being held by someone else (though that is stated in a # used/# owned stat beside the item which is easy to overlook).
The basic jist of tactics in the game is to attack the enemy from behind or from the side - which makes sense, but it is frequently hard to both do that successfully and prevent them from stepping around you and doing exactly the same thing. Status afflictions can be used, mostly by archers for some reason, and can be exceedingly useful to exceedingly broken, if they hit. I swiftly found that Blinding my enemies pretty much assured they were useless for the rest of the battle unless the enemy had a status healing move.
The chances of hitting an enemy don't seem to improve by leveling up, and many of the missions consist of sending someone away for a short time and having them return to declare it a success. Sad. I would prefer to play them out.
It's not a bad game, and I found myself really getting into it after a while, but many details are unintuitive or just missing. I prefer Fire Emblem, as it's much more intuitive to control, has a well-developed personality for every character you can use in battle, and a story which always gives you a reason to be fighting.Read full review