You might have noticed the myriad of games I’ve owned or currently still own are not exactly the ordinary ones that everybody else likes to review in droves because how else am I meant to carve myself a little niche in the market? No, no, in all seriousness, the mass hysteria surrounding many games generally washes over my head because those are not my sorts of games. I have played some of these best-selling games and whatnot but to be honest, everyone has their own unique collection of games and mine just happens to be full of the other crap that you lot didn’t buy. My stuff’s also worth a hell of lot more because of those very reasons and as such, I’m technically a millionaire and you should bow down to my brilliance, peasants, mwahahaha and all that malarkey.
In reality though, my tastes basically mean that everyone looks at me as if I’m not a seasoned or ‘proper gamer’ but who the fuck can get a career out of that? I play for fun. I’m not a serious gamer. I own Pocket Fighter and Rapid Reload for fuck’s sake. I own them for very obvious reasons AXEL FUCKING SONICS AND RUKA FUCKING HETFIELD but they’re mostly only obvious to me because I’ve played them and I’m not turned off by such things as 2D graphics and cutesy looking beat ’em ups with chibi characters.
Instead, I buy games that are attempting to be Final Fantasy VII with characters that are either desperately annoying or hilariously annoying and wonky storylines told through MAGICAL TREES.
By now you should know that I’m not making that up.
Oh, you think I’m making THAT up? Magical trees? Come the fuck on, people, this is an RPG and you have to expect MAGICAL EVERYTHING, surely? *sigh*
Time for us to experience the STORY OF A LIFETIME!
You begin your magical journey as this slightly generic looking mute. SURPRISE SURPRISE PEOPLE! RPG FEATURES MUTE MAIN CHARACTER! I am shocked and appalled. His default name is Vahn but he is officially our new Mutey for today. Anyway, Mutey’s living peacefully in the land of Legaia in a REALLY BADLY NAMED town called Rim Elm (OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD. THAT NAME. THAT NAME!) and you’re casually living there doing your martial arts thing and learning how to martial arts and use the combat system and all that gubbins when DISASTER STRIKES! Glass Rim gets attacked by a MONSTER because this game features monsters and if it didn’t, it’d be fairly boring RPG. In the centre of the town of Rim Tin Tin, there’s a super special magical tree because of course there is. When a mist leaks into the town, it turns some people into DEMONS and they attack the townspeople and only YOU can repel the mist by using the tree’s MAGICAL POWERS. it speaks to you like every magical tree can and it BLOOMS in the most awfully animated way possible and suddenly, everything is fine again. Except that everyone thinks you could probably end up really evil because the tree gives you a MAGICAL bracelet/arm-guard/wristband/whatever thingy called a RA-SERU and apparently they’re not evil but there are similarly named things called SERU that are what cause people to turn into these awful demons and yeah… no wonder people are a bit nonplussed about it.
Anyway, eventually, you save Rimjob but not in time for your duck-faced girlfriend/not-girlfriend’s father to live. He dies and then she’s on the precipice of loving and hating you but YOU MUST LEAVE TO SAVE THE WORLD and she won’t stop you but her duck-facedness cries a lot about everything so she’s clearly just being melo and I suppose her dad dying DOESN’T help matters at all. So you walk out into the world, away from Toilet Rimblock and attempt to SAVE EVERYONE from the perils of the mist by restoring the other MAGICAL trees in the land. Hooray.
And then you get to play as this darling creature, a character so expressive that she can wave her arms up and down in an attempt to fly and constantly look cheerful all of the time. Her default name is Noa and she’s a wolf-child. She’s a giant, feral, wolf-child, raised by a wolf who is obviously not a real wolf as such because she speaks like a human and has a giant Ra-Seru attached to her face. But of course, Derpy – her new name – has no idea because she lives in a cave and probably eats mushrooms all day or other bits of animals. However, she wears the remnants of a sack and jeans all over so she’s obviously able to do something right, apart from cover herself up entirely from the cold. YOU LIVE IN A CAVE IN THE MOUNTAINS, DERPY, YOU SHOULD WRAP YOURSELF UP FROM THE COLD. Daft girl.
Basically, she’s your next character to play with and she’s weaker but faster, as all female characters are in games, and eventually you meet up, your wolfy-mother/father dies but you get to keep the Ra-Seru! Could be worse! You could be mauled by a wolf!
And then eventually, you all meet up with this guy:
This guy, Gala, completes the trio of character cliches by being the UBER-strong slow character who also happens to be a really morose, unlikeable headache of a character because he’s super-religious and he hates the whole idea of having a Ra-Seru attached to him because it’s against his faith and he goes through most of the game being a giant DICK to his talking MAGICAL BRACELET and only uses him to stop the mist as a tool. Mildly ironic given the tool that he is… I dubbed him Dickface because that is basically what he is.
Seriously, you don’t give me opportunities to name characters in games because I will abuse it monstrously, particularly on a second playthrough.
So basically, you all join together to help the MAGICAL TREES become MAGICAL again and stop the evil beast who has created the mist because goodness alone knows that shit isn’t natural in a place where it basically never rains from the looks of things. And eventually there’s a bit of time travel and some family misfits get involved and Rimming gets destroyed AGAIN but this time you can probably do a bit better in sorting it out because by that point you’ll be super high-levelled up and whatnot and the majority of the mist will have gone. Look, it’s an RPG, you know how most of them end anyway, don’t go saying it’s a spoiler when essentially, the whole idea of these games is to SAVE THE WORLD. You save it. It’s not a spoiler.
And as soon as the game starts up, this is the level of super graphical upheaval we’re facing. This is like saying “I WANT TO BE FINAL FANTASY VII BECAUSE EVERYONE LOVES THAT GAME!” but doing it a year later. Points for trying but no points for only adding mouths to the characters as some sort of added incentive.
It totally falls into the FFVII style of gaming because the combat graphics look much more realistically, character-wise and less like the chunky cube figures that this game offers in dungeons and everywhere else. People make a massive thing about Final Fantasy VII’s graphics being really dated and putting them off so it’s probably not surprising to think that this game probably made people think the same thing. It’s a shame because although FFVII did at least have a bit of charm and expression to the movements, this one really relies heavily on a few movements to show off the one-dimensional characters. Well… 0.5 for Mutey because he barely moves at all. He’s the most generic character you are ever likely to come across apart from characters you create in FIGHTER MAKER or other character creation sections of games. I mean… even THOSE move around a bit. This one walks and runs and occasionally nods his head but bugger me if you get so much as a personality from him in any way, shape or form. Bleh.
I can imagine you sitting there wondering when I’m going to say anything sense about this game considering the title I gave it. I do LIKE this game and there’s one MAJOR reason why because it’s not the grainy, blocky, low-res, low-frame rate graphics and it’s not really the story, as good as it sort of is at times and it’s not the bloody MEH characters the game throws at you.
The combat mechanics are BRILLIANT. In a genre where selecting a single attack or item or magic whatever is the norm, this game threw most of that out of the window to give us this really, really intriguing system. The attacking mechanic involves selecting a series of directional buttons that relate to limbs on the body and different moves. To begin with, you can only select a certain number (usually three) but over time, your bar extends and you can pick a much greater number.
Some combinations do very little other than straight up attack the opponent whereas some make super arts, hyper arts and MIRACLE arts – bigger, bolder, PROPER OVER THE TOP moves that use some of your AP to use. You can’t use them freely but you can connect them to pull off ridiculous combos and it allows for a LOT of customisation and makes you try out loads of combos to try and find ALL of your super arts and whatnot. It just gives the combat a bit more flavour. It feels satisfying to use and it adds a whole new dimension to games of this type. It doesn’t feel overdone or played upon. It works solidly and just makes the came that bit more enjoyable.
Whole you have, essentially, is a game that is ALMOST brilliant. The combat definitely is. If anything, the combat is almost on a par with Grandia in terms of brilliance and intuitiveness. The rest of the game doesn’t quite match up to this, which is a real shame as it IS a fun little game on the inside. The outside, in much the same way that FFVII does to so many, is blocky and unforgiving and likely to put a lot of people off. It didn’t put me off as such. It detracted from the overall experience a little bit but to be honest, when you have as much fun as I did with the mechanics, that means very little. It looks a bit shit but it plays a bit shit-hot.
So three cheers for Mutey, Derpy and Dickface as they continue their adventures in the sequ- ohhhhhh. Oh they didn’t. That’s right. Yeah.