Author - Ripper71

EverQuest II: The Children of War Update Now Available

Sony Online Entertainment has released the 60th game update for their MMO, EverQuest II. This new updated features a whole host of updates, all of which you can read about below – enjoy!

Game Update 60 Includes:

PvP & Battlegrounds improvements, including but not limited to:

  • Lobby system so players can hang together between matches with PvP merchants available locally
  • New Velious battleground map (“The Frozen Tundra”)
  • New Battleground game type (“Vanquish!”)
  • PvP and Battlegrounds rule modifications for better balance and fun
  • Fame system improvements
  • New Velious Discord faction to purchase new PvP equipment and adornments
  • Additional new PvP armor and adornments

Itemization:

  • New Adornments interface to make this system easier to understand
  • Continued honing of the itemization system

Drunder*:
Three new heroic dungeons:

  • Confront Warmaster Grolla Skullwielder in the Spire of Rage
  • Challenge Warmaster Korok Hai in the Strategist’s Stronghold
  • Battle Warmaster Deynka Packlasher in the Tower of Tactics

One new x2 raid – Citadel of V’uul

  • Defeat Queen Vorticia V’uul in the Citadel of V’uul

Three new x4 raids [all available in Normal and Challenge modes]:

  • Encounter Sullon Zek in Sullon’s Spire
  • Test your strength against Tallon Zek in Tallon’s Stronghold
  • Prove yourself against Vallon Zek in Vallon’s Tower

Additional Content:

  • Visit Whipmaster Snargeant in the Fortress of Drunder to assist with new daily missions within Drunder
  • Speak to Provocateur Bas Darkfrost at Thurgadin Docks to earn Primal Velium Shards through a new solo quest
  • Two new heritage quests
  • Additional signature quest line
  • New tradeskill quests and recipes
  • New adornments interface
  • Ratonga players will find Qeynos has become more accepting of their presence
  • And Coming Soon: Help build the wizard and druid transportation network in Velious

*NOTE: Drunder content is locked to DoV expansion owners only. All other GU content affects all players.

CD Projekt RED and GOG to Reveal Big News at “CDP Summer Days”

CD Projekt RED creator of The Witcher series and its sister company GOG.com, the digital distribution platform for DRM-free PC games, are going to reveal some big news just before E3 at their “CDP Summer Days” live from Los Angeles. The announcements will be made on June 2 at 12:00pm pst at  http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cdp-summer-days.

CD Projekt RED will be making a big announcement about their next upcoming title and have some other exciting things to share during their Summer Days livecast.  CDP RED will discuss some of the successes of the recent launch of The Witcher 2, and will also map out a plan for  continued support for the new title.  GOG.com has already teased that during the CDP Days 2011 Spring Conference they will reveal a new deal with one of five big publishers still not signed with them: Microsoft, Lucas Arts, Electronic Arts, Square Enix or Take2.  During the live stream GOG.com will reveal the name of the publisher and the first games out of the batch of 25+ titles that will be released throughout summer 2011 at GOG.com.  Both GOG.com and CD Projekt RED representatives will be available for interviews at E3.

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale (XBLA)

This game has an immense appeal to a certain kind of gamer geek.  If you have ever owned a set of dice with more than six sides, ever spent a whole weekend with a group of friends locked in a room together with pencil and paper on the table in front of you listening to a friend hidden behind a cardboard blind narrating a tale or heck ever stepped on a four-sided die then you probably know that special feeling that you can get when someone mentions “Daggerdale”. A place of rich history tucked away in The Forgotten Realms, it is a great setting for the current land of storytelling and adventuring: video games.  Not that video games are new, or that this is the first time that the Forgotten Realms have been remembered and brought to life in digital glory, but it marks the first attempt to incorporate Fourth Edition rules into a console hack and slash environment.  Just the nature of the platform will cause a bit of simplification, too much detailed play can not only be taxing on the system but can also but taxing on the player who is trying to use a limited number of controls to navigate a massive world.  There is nothing wrong with this at all as long as the developers can give the player the feel of the Dungeons & Dragons world while still making it fun to play.

Atmosphere:

The cutscenes aren’t quite as engaging as I would have liked, they consisted of concept art being dissolved between but it still worked and the voice acting was not bad.  When you enter the game itself it actually gets more engaging with excellent graphics, toned down music that is usually just underneath and mellow until a massive fight begins then it raises in volume and tempo.  The main time when this breaks down is when talking to npcs.  They just make a series of inarticulate grunting noises while words scroll by on the screen.  Now this is not completely uncommon in console games as a means of saving space but even if they just said a “what can I help you with” or better yet no sound at all then the immersiveness into the game would have been far easier.  As a player we can overlook no voice acting or bad voice acting but grunting is just strange.  Luckily as soon as you find yourself running through the dungeon halls you forget all about it again.

Game Play:

There are three types of game play and four types of characters to choose from.  There is solo campaign, local co-op campaign and online multiplayer co-op campaign.  Solo campaign is pretty self explanatory, local co-op is split screen and multiplayer co-op online is up to four players.  The four characters you have to choose from are a human warrior, elf rogue, dwarf cleric and halfling wizard.  While at first this might seem limiting, race doesn’t really play that much of a factor and they are well designed.  Let’s face it though most of you knew all that months ago.  What you want to know is how it actually plays.  It plays really, really smooth.  Camera angles shift but are easily adjusted and the controls are excellent at response time and angle.  The only problem I really found was that the game starts off hard really early so save a lot.  If you are in the middle of a quest chain and you die it starts you back at the beginning of the chain which is a bummer and may get fixed, but it also causes the chests and barrels you raid for supplies to re-pop so it is a wash bordering on a benefit.  The only real problem with that is failing the same quest at the same point and having to restart the chain again can get old, but you may find yourself facing it with a better purchased piece of gear or a better drop.  Also you find you can grind a bit on the goblins so that you have a bit more strength when you get to the wicked looking and harder hitting skeletons.Online play hasn’t really gotten out of the gates yet due to how new the game is.  When playing online you can choose between a new character or the one you have been campaigning with so if you have already grown attached you can bring your favorite out to play.  During my playtime there were no glitches or lag issues so even though the load screens and cutscenes may be a bit dull, your in level action with be smooth and a beautiful sight to see.  The Fourth Edition Rules are built into the equipment drops, damage and skill systems so that a true P&P geek will feel the rules in play but a console jockey will just hack and slash along for the ride.  They did an excellent job making a console game with a PC D&D look and style

Playtime/Cost:

Playtime is really hard to figure, it depends on builds, play style, replayability which this game has at least four times, one for each class, not to mention online play and local co-op AND if you get stuck on a quest.  But at $15 it is cheaper than a hardcover editions of the rules it is based on so I would say it is incredibly worth the money!  And it is a good by for D&D geeks and console jockeys alike (if they aren’t the same person in your household).

The Good:
Great graphics, great game play, smooth controls, melded Fourth Edition rules in seemlessly.
The Bad:
Questlines have to be repeated if a quest fails.  Could have used better cutscenes and less NPC grunting.

Last Call:

My inner geek is comfortable without a pencil for the time being and no paper is in sight.  I will go right back to playing some more Daggerdale after finishing this review and know that the developers and publishers didn’t bring us another NeverWinter Nights but they didn’t really bring us a NeverWinter Nights 2 either! (yep, I said it).  Instead they gave us a nice solid D&D game I can use to run my XBox through the paces and one that already has me looking forward to a sequel.

Side Note:

And if my cousin Aaron is reading this – back in 1982, when the succubus gave you the Kiss of Death she had shown plenty of amoral and downright evil behavior prior to that and you died due to your hormones.  Accept it.

Bangai-O HD Missile Fury (XBLA)

Summary:

Bangai-O HD Missile Fury is the latest installment of a game series dating back to the Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast over 20 years ago.  Should it have been scrapped sometime over the years?  Well I will let the big secret out right now… no!  This game is great!

The Good:
Crazy missile attacks, great power ups, over 100 levels, addictive!

The Bad:
Hard from the start, addictive!

Atmosphere:
Atmosphere consists of level backgrounds and musical scores all which get lost quick in the really, really fast-paced action.  They are well done and very nicely detailed but they for the most part channel the action and compliment the game play.

Game Play:
This shooter is one of the most over the top massively insane shooters I have ever played in 35 years of gaming.  That may sound like a bold statement, and it is. It may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn’t.  This games sole purpose is creating as many missiles, weapons and enemies as possible to attack you and giving you massive weapons, skills and missiles to attack back with.  It doesn’t worry about story lines or cutscenes, it just makes an addictive overwhelming fighting game where strategic weapon use makes the difference between completing a level or restarting it in less than 30 seconds.  Each level creates it’s own challenges to completion and tends to lead you to use a different weapon in different way so the fighting doesn’t get repetitive.  Also the game has you try to beat a level three times then gives you the option to skip it and go back later if you like.  The only problem with this is how addictive the game is and each level is.  It just takes hitting a couple buttons after you die to be right back in the action trying a different technique to slam through the level.  You had better have a clock nearby or an alarm set because you will lose track of time so fast that hours pass before you know it.  Add a friend to the action and it just doubles the fun.  Having a gaming night with friends?  This game is great to play and extremely fun to watch.

Graphics/Audio:
Graphics is where this game could have very easily have wound up getting overwhelmed with the thousands of detailed missiles and rays flying all over the screen and it would have been easy for the explosions to actually cause audio errors.  The graphics are so smooth that the death screen shows a clear view of all the action at that moment and you can save the play through and watch it back later.  The screens between levels are a throwback to early graphic systems because all the beauty and detail is reserved for the battles.

Think You Can Do Better?:
If you think you can build a better level or just fancy yourself the creative type you can try your hand at building maps and levels that you can then share with your friends.  At this time you can only share your custom designs with your friends list but maybe that will change sometime.

Playtime/Cost:
This game with over 100 levels, level building, multiplayer mode is only 800 points ($10).  Hours of playtime and replayability makes this a steal.

Last Call:
Bangai-O HD Missile Fury is great, packed full of action and crazy amounts of missiles and mayhem and all at a great price.  I can’t wait for the next one!

*DISCLOSURE: A copy of this game was sent to us for the purpose of this review.

Four Foo Fighters Tracks Hit Rock Band 3

Harmonix announced that a four pack of songs from Foo Fighters including two off their new album Wasting Light, as well as singles from Run-DMC and Lordi, will be available in theRock Band 3 Music Store for the Xbox 360 , PlayStation 3 and Wii.  There will also be Pro Guitar and Pro Bass upgrades for two back-catalog Foo Fighters songs – “Monkey Wrench” and “The Pretender”.

Available on Xbox 360 and Wii (May 10) and PlayStation 3 system (May 19):

  • Foo Fighters – “Long Road to Ruin”
  • Foo Fighters – “Rope”X
  • Foo Fighters – “Stacked Actors”
  • Foo Fighters – “Walk”
  • Run-DMC – “King of Rock”
  • Lordi – “Hard Rock Hallelujah”

Pro Guitar/Bass Additions for Legacy Songs:

  • Foo Fighters – “Monkey Wrench”X
  • Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”X

Tracks marked with “X” will include Pro Guitar and Pro Bass expansions for $0.99 per song.

Yar’s Revenge Review (PC)

So way back in the ancient days of a little box known as the Atari 2600 (you may have seen one in a museum or Antiques Roadshow), Atari put out an insanely addictive game called Yar’s Revenge.  In 1981 if you were a gamer you either had the game or had a friend who had the game and you played it a lot.  The game was revised and revisited several times over the following years on different platforms before finally getting completely re-envisioned 30 years after it first came out.  The question is, should you re-envision a classic or just leave nostalgia alone?

Graphics/Atmosphere/Sound:

Smartly dumping any semblance of the original game look the creators went for a cross between comic book and concept art style making it feel almost more like an interactive comic rather than a standard video game.  The graphics remind me slightly of Borderlands in the sense of heavily outlining characters and shading style and everything is crisp and sharply finished with rich colors.  Atmosphere wise it creates a claustrophobic train-out-of-control sense since it is a rail shooter and the blasts coming out you are really large and though you can fly around the screen and even do flip dodges you have no control over where you go.   Audio consists mainly of calm music tracks and intense ones to fit the action and a few weapon sound effects.  This might be one of the biggest lacking points in the game since while you are fighting things like crazy the storyline continues in a little dialogue box in the corner.  Voice acting would have made a huge improvement on the game and made the storyline far more engaging.  For the most part you get part of the storyline from cutscenes between levels (which have subtitles and no voice acting) and the tidbits you manage to catch by glancing in the corner while flying through battle.

Game Play:

Game play is pretty straight forward though there are obvious signs that it is a port that really should have been changed.  Primarily you move around the screen using WASD to dodge incoming enemy fire while using the mouse to move your target sights around and fire your two standard weapons.  Extra timed weapons can be collected throughout the level and they and the shields are assigned buttons 1-5.  On your screen however it says these special weapons are located A, B, X, and Y with the symbols and letters displayed on the screen in their corresponding Xbox controller locations.  You just have to memorize which button does which or hit them randomly to see what works.  This is easy enough to get past but this plus references to joystick on the mouse menu and a vibration option when the game isn’t game pad enabled make it seem like they rushed to port it.  Along these same lines I had multiple mouse targeting issues even after trying more than one mouse, downloading the game twice and re-installing it three times.  The game play is fast and furious and fun, but the targeting issues did diminish it a bit to the point is felt more like playing Tempest than Yar’s Revenge sometimes.

The enemies are fun to fight and different weapons work better in different circumstances so a bit of strategy and timing are key to racking up the scores to really high numbers and sometimes the number of enemies gets daunting.  The boss fights are fun and challenging and all seem to have their own style and defense you have to overcome.  The enemies throughout the levels probably could have used a bit more variety other than just color changes but it is still fun to just blast the heck out of everything you see on the screen.

Feeling A Little Left Out:

Let’s face it a lot of games replayability depends on the extras such as in this case achievements and leader boards.  Plenty of gamers want to be the top of the board and will replay over and over until they get all the achievements.  On XBLA you can earn 200 points between all the achievements making those who strive for a high gamer score play hours upon hours.  On the PC however the leader boards and achievements are disabled leaving you to look them up on the web to even know what you are missing.  Even if you didn’t earn points by playing it on the computer the option to achieve those achievements and therefore get lots of replay would be really nice.

Time/Cost

Yar’s Revenge runs about 3 hours with a total of six levels.  The levels are very long and the fighting is fun but it still feels short.  And on the PC you can replay it if you want, maybe to see what aspects of the storyline you missed or just to blast away with different weapon choices but really for the computer it is a one time play.  The price is the same for the PC version as it is for the Xbox and is really affordable at $10 but you aren’t getting as much game as you get on the console.

Last Call:

Yar’s Revenge is a fun game with nice looking graphics and lots and lots of fun shooting.  At $10 it definitely affordable too.  I have to say though that I wouldn’t highly recommend it for the PC, if you have an Xbox pick it up on there, you will get much more play for your money and it would make a decent party game with co-op drop in and out available.


iBUYPOWER and Wal-Mart Launch Build Your Own Gaming Desktop

iBUYPOWER announced it has partnered with Wal-Mart to launch the retailer’s first custom configurator on Walmart.com – Build Your Own Gaming Desktop Bundle.  Wal-Mart customers will have five cases to choose from, both AMD and Intel “K” processor options,  three different memory options, three hard drive sizes to choose from and both AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards options, three different optical drives to choose from and three versions of the Windows 7 operating system.   The result is over 10,000 different possible hardware configurations.

“There are few brands in the world that are as recognizable as Wal-Mart,” said Darren Su, Vice President of iBUYPOWER.  “It is an honor to be chosen to join forces with them to offer custom built PCs, and will introduce the iBUYPOWER brand to an entirely new segment of gamers.”

The new customizable iBUYPOWER systems from Wal-Mart start at $599, all systems come standard with 1 year limited warranty and lifetime technical support.

Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy Review

The UMD is dead, long live the UMD:
Alright I admit that the reason I picked up my model of PSP was because a particular sci-fi black-clad barbecued bad ass was on the outside of it. Not the best reason to buy a system but, since I was planning on buying one anyways, it helped me choose. At first, when I heard about the new model coming out without the UMD, I wondered if I had made a mistake. Then I started playing games that utilized the UMD and I wondered if everyone else had made a mistake. I began to hear about UMD player plug-ins you could buy for the UMDless PSPs and I knew at least a few had come to the same realization I had: Just because something new comes along doesn’t mean that it is better and/or the old one is obsolete. So, while so many were beginning to sit about and look to the future for the next system to come out, some game makers such as Square Enix put the UMD to some good by bringing out beautiful and rich games on the little drive that many had forgot. The result is games like Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy, [The 3rd Birthday], Ogre Tactics: Let Us Cling Together and Lord of Arcana which all have rich environments, excellent battle systems and amazing cinematics and have me hoping for more gifts of gaming like these before the UMD is truly abandoned.

Atmosphere:
From a map of the old Final Fantasy games’ style maps to the nostalgically recognizable music compositions this game succeeds at capturing the feel of a Final Fantasy game while allowing non-turn based combats in three dimensional space. So unlike the days where some of the game’s heroes and villains came from the characters jump high in the air sideways, ride light rails and do their famous specialty moves all in three story buildings or rooms with pillars to fight one and through. The cutscenes feel like the old games, the personalities were well recreated but the game play is so fluid that it pulls you in really well.

Graphics/Audio:
The graphics are terrific and the sounds are crisp and enjoyable. The cut scenes are exceptionally well rendered and yet the fight scenes also maintain the graphic quality. The game gives you the option to load part of it onto the PSPs hard drive to reduce the loading time but the loading times aren’t that bad, they were actually good enough that I didn’t find a need to load it onto the hard drive, it is nice to have the option though. So the graphics are great and don’t have to be compromised for game speed or loading times. The music really takes your senses back through the Final Fantasy games of the past while coming up with a crisp and clear sound of its own.

Game Play:

Game play is designed to be accessible to any kind of Final Fantasy fan. For those who enjoyed the fighting but didn’t care much about the storyline (or if you have a friendly wager on who you think is a tougher hero or villain) there is Battle mode where you can just choose to fight and adjust levels of difficulty and can unlock arenas and characters to fight each other without worrying about story wise why they would be fighting. Then there is Story Mode with replayable chapters which are designed to give a nice story explaining how the characters came to be in this situation while allowing players to grind up characters, unlock more options and individualized which skills you find most effective. There are lots of options to be unlocked through play and so many game play choices that it is easily possible for two different people to play it and have entirely different experiences. The actual battle dynamics work well and are easy to learn and the camera angle follows extremely well.

Playtime/Cost:
Since the game has multiplayer, multiple playable characters and multiple game modes $29.99 isn’t bad for a game that you can not only play over and over but take where ever you want without having to lug a console around with you.

Last Call:
I think this is one more example by Square Enix of how the UMD may be considered a format of the past but it is an excellent platform for the here and now and, hopefully, the near future. Keep making them and I will keep playing them and loving every minute of it.

*DISCLOSURE: A copy of this game was sent to us for the purpose of this review.

Total War: Shogun 2 Review (PC)

While some strategy players love a good game set in the future with ever evolving technology and science fiction effects. There is a certain sect of strategy players though who truly prefer to look at the past and try to see how they would have done at the great already written moments of mankind. Those times when empires rose and fell, those crucial moments where fate, luck and a strong mind and will made the difference resulting in what we now call history. The Total War game series has always been a shining example of games aimed toward this purpose, where we get a chance to make history our own and test our abilities with not weapons of the future but the technology of the time, the philosophy of war as seen by those of a forgotten and possibly misunderstood period. In this case they chose the Sengoku period of feudal Japan when warring clans fought for their piece of land and power from the fading glory of the shogunate. Land and the development of it is a tight commodity and every inch of province you can control may decide the difference between becoming the new leader of Japan or becoming a member of an extinct clan.



Atmosphere:

The atmosphere is remarkably deep for a strategy game. There is usually a certain detachment associated with playing strategy. In first person shooters you see the arrows or tracer rounds flying right out you whereas in strategy you order around little figures and sit back and watch the results. That doesn’t mean the games don’t have atmosphere though. A good strategy will create an atmosphere of contemplation during turns and a tension or at least increased tempo during the battle sections. Shogun 2 does an excellent job of this by having beautiful maps that look like more like historical documents than a video game with a comforting wood wind and string musical accompaniment which is followed by the sound of weapons clashing and drums and gongs beating to usher in combat. The maps can be replaced with remarkably close views of the figures where you can tell the detail in their masks or the type of footwear they use as you usher them into troop movements and in some cases certain death to draw enemies into a trap. The arrows descend like a cloud of locusts upon your troops and they scream and fall or scatter in hopes of survival. So the game allows for a atmosphere of detachment on taxation, construction and troop recruitment movements and then makes it seem very intimate during the battle scenes. This game does an amazing job of creating the atmosphere of the generals and the troops alike.



Game Play:

The game is designed as a turn based strategy in which you control economic, political and military power of your expanding clan influence through techniques and philosophy based off Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. You alternate between map movements and adjustments of taxes, construction expansion and other forms of development to actual troop movements on the battlefield that can be adjusted to be a bird’s eye wide view down to watch a single figure in a column traverse the field. Poor political management of a territory can result in a rebellion in which the army finds themselves outnumbered by attacking rebels. There are multiple game campaign length choices as well as multiple choices of which clan to play, each has a specialty that gives them a different advantage and requires a different play strategy. During the standard campaigns you witness the generic movements of the other clans as they work toward their own domination of the lands through their turns. There is also an option to play true historical campaigns in which you are given the resources, factions and terrain of the actual battle and given the opportunity to change the battle’s outcome. Multiplayer has a few types of ways to battle, co-op, opponent campaign battle or avatar battle, in which you are on a map, try to expand to a new territory and the online system will find a random player who is also trying to expand a territory and the two of you battle, whoever wins gets the spot on their map and the process is repeated with each attempt at expansion. There is also a local server option if you just want to challenge your friends (or co-workers) to clan combat. Playing others may be welcome sometimes because the AI can be a very challenging and hard to glitch opponent.

One of the greatest, and most daunting for the casual gamer, parts of the game play is the depth of development you work at in your clan. If you concentrate too much on building your armies, food supplies may suffer or your towns may build beyond the control of your standing forces. There are a lot of details to keep track of that once you get used to are very manageable, but you need to make sure you manage them every turn and save often in case somehow you neglect something and suddenly you find yourself fighting the rebels in your borders as well as the invading armies, and all because you didn’t upgrade your irrigation system or left taxes a bit too high.



Graphics/Audio:

The graphics are beautifully done, during the routine management screens you look at maps that could be print screened and hung on the wall as art. The graphics are not neglected in the close up sections of the troop movements. It would have been very easy to make all the troops of one type to look alike, but they vary in the way the dress, the way their faces look – some even have traditional war masks while others don’t even have shoes on their dirty feet. They shift from foot to foot, look at each other and scream and shout as the charge or are being charged. The music is amazingly clean digital sound and the clash of weapons or sounds of destruction are so realistic that sometimes they make a person flinch, especially if you had the sound up to immerse yourself in the music. The sound is clean enough to understand the voice actors even through their thickly accented voices. Graphically every aspect of the game is amazing and the sound draws you in.



Playtime/Cost:

New the game will run about $50 which when you consider the game has four game difficulty levels, multiple game lengths, multiple clans to play, and multiple modes to play including online PLUS this game has very in depth play we are talking about a game that in theory someone could play over and over and over and never get tired of. A person is actually more likely to have historical overload before playing every possible aspect of the game completely through.

Last Call:

I wouldn’t be surprised if this winds up being a strong contender for many ‘Strategy Game of the Year’ awards. Its mixture of leadership, map and in battle game play combine to make an amazingly well rounded game that appeals to anyone with a desire to test their strategic abilities or better understand the warfare of a much different time and culture. Just remember this isn’t the ‘old board game’ we used to play, this is akin to the History Channel coming to life.

*DISCLOSURE: A copy of this game was sent to us for the purpose of this review.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP UMD)

The original creator, director, character designer and composer of the series came together to re-imagine the series in a 3D updated graphics environment. The results are as good as a person could hope, the game pays some homage visually to it’s roots but at the same time is designed nicely into today’s graphics. The music is terrific and combines nicely to make an atmosphere that has a touch of nostalgia without any of the old school game’s graphics and play issues.

Gameplay:
Gameplay is excellent and while based upon the old system has been nicely updated to allow for dozens of characters, lots of decisions that branch the story in new directions and most of all, multiple possible endings. Each character you add to your team brings their own strengths weaknesses and learn-able skills and different characters can be chosen depending upon the battle. Different units have different ranges of attack and movement with varying weapons, the end result being that this game can be played using different strategies, different characters, multiple times with entirely different results and endings. When you level a character you don’t just level the character, you level every character of that class. Adding a new member to your party with the same class will come in at the advanced level and have opportunities for skill selection based on the level. So you don’t have to worry about leveling two wizards at the same time if the battle doesn’t call for two of them. If you decide to add another healer to the group you don’t have to level it from the start, they come in at the level you have reached for them.

For a game based on a portable game unit this is a massive amount of game, bordering on amazing. There are only a few shortfalls to mention, and in comparison they are minor and easily overlooked. Sometimes when aiming at an enemy for an attack the percentage chance for a strike will say 100% and you will miss. Also sometimes you will aim at a target and when you fire there will be a line of sight issue that causes you to miss regardless of your hit percentage. The last issue is a minor AI one where your AI may walk right past a bag of treasure instead of picking it up requiring you to sent one of your manual controlled character to pick it up. At this point you may be asking yourself wait… AI and manual? As part of the game’s choices you can choose for as many of your units to be controlled by AI as you want or control them manually. Add this to all the playing options and not only are the little issues eclipsed, but it really brings up the point again: this game is on a UMD.

Graphics/Audio:
Graphics look slightly low tech in places to make it nostalgic but are nice quality in most parts. Though sounding a lot like the music and sound effects of the old days, the audio is crisp, clear and nicely put together.



Playtime/Cost:

$39 dollars is what it costs new, cheaper if you pick up a used copy. Considering this has unlimited re-playability with multiple endings it is pretty darn hard to calculate how much playtime but it is easy to say it is worth the cost.

Last Call:
Should they have left a good series alone? Resoundingly no! This game is great! From a critical playing point of view which I have to approach it this game has few flaws, massive replay potential and a terrific game play system. Part of me wishes it was available on one of the larger platforms but to have a game with this much punch combined with old school homage on a portable platform is a terrific treat! I also think this format was passed on before it really had it’s time, that it is a shame that the UMD, which was able to provide a platform for such an amazing game, is slowly fading away.

*DISCLOSURE: A copy of this game was sent to us for the purpose of this review.