• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Exceeded my expectations

  • calunio
  • 01/10/2014 07:10 PM
Before I start talking about the game, there are a few things I should say, for they affected why I chose to play this game, how I played it, and how I'm writing this review.

Historically, I'm a huge Final Fantasy fan, which means I used to loooove traditional RPGs with epic storylines and conventional mechanics (just like practically everybody here, I guess). Today I don't like them. Maybe because I've played enough of them, and because I got to know and like the broader potential of being able to make indie/amateur games, and the variety of gaming concepts that may come from that. Even so, we all know that in communities such as RMN, the big majority of the members make and like playing games that are as close to the classics as possible. Not my thing, but I'm fine with that. To each its own. I'm just saying that because, no matter how awesome Star Stealing Prince looks, no matter how much praise it got, it is NOT the kind of game I tend to look for.

But I was bored, looking for something fun to play, and decided to give it a shot.

I should also say that I have not finished the game. Not because I disliked it, not because I ragequit, but because I got stuck on a very difficult battle, and even though I had enjoyed the game thus far, I decided it was enough.

Given all that, I decided this review shall have no star ratings. But I wanted to write anyway, because, well... maybe my feedback is useful in a way, who knows?

Also, contains minor spoilers.

Star Stealing Prince
The first thing you'll notice about this game is that it is extremely polished, and absolutely professional. Graphics, systems, writing, story, balancing, pacing... there’s nothing amateur about this game. It’s not behind the old SNES classics in any way... maybe better in many ways. This is not a game that you play feeling you should judge it and give feedback to its creator. It’s a game you play because you want to enjoy playing a game, and this is a very enjoyable and beautiful game.
For me, however, it wasn’t a memorable, impacting, emotional game. I felt something was lacking to make it worth my list of favorite RM games.
I know this is somewhat strange, but I’ll focus this review on the things I didn’t like very much, or that could be changed/improved in a way, because... well, it already has a bunch of praise in all other reviews.

Still, I should point
Specific things that I like
  • One thing that caught my attention is how nice all the NPCs were in the beginning of the game. I actually felt welcome in that place, like I was welcome to play the game. I liked that, loved the <3 balloons too!

  • I like that battles unfolded fast. Not fast enough so that you don’t know what’s happening, but not as slow so you get bored watching the same battle animations over and over.

  • Save anywhere <3

  • Overall I liked the puzzles. I loved the one in which you have to name the statues!

  • It was great when that vampire was in my group, but even exceeding 4 party members, it helped using random effects in the beginning of battles. Smart!

About battles and difficulty
From what I had heard, I expected the game to be way more difficult than it was... especially considering I suck at RPGs in general, I’m not a tactical player, I like spamming the attack button, I hate being worried about item shortage, etc. In Star Stealing Prince, battles were fairly ok to me. I must have died like... 4 times, and only once or twice in bosses. Also, I almost never used any healing items. It’s not that battles were too easy... they were just how I liked them. It felt like I was playing the game, not against the game, which is great. But when I reached a certain boss (hint: a couple) that completely destroyed me merciless in very little time on all my 3 attempts, I gave up.

Now, finally,
Specific things I didn’t like as much
  • I’m sorry to say this, but I must begin with story. The story itself was not trully awesome, but it was interesting. But my problem was not with the story, but with how it was presented. Maybe I’m dumb, but I found it very confusing. Important parts of the story and the world’s background were presented in random pieces of paper scattered through places and dungeons, and they were completely out of context. It made more sense when it was being told by NPCs in cutscenes, but I always had this feeling I understood less than I was supposed to. It made me a little upset, I’m not sure if with myself or with the game. Even having played 5/7 chapters, if you ask me to tell the game’s story, I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do it properly. I have no doubt it would make much more sense if I had finished the game, but... was I really supposed to feel completely confused throughout the entire game up to its end? I know I was supposed to piece the story together myself, but I guess I played this game when I was too tired to do anything else, and I lacked the mental energy to play the game as required.

  • There’s one specific thing about the story that bugged me a little too... the fact that so much of the characters’ behavior resulted from spells. Some people liked you because of a spell... then they disliked you because of another spell... some people couldn’t tell you certain things because of a spell... and you couldn’t remember some things because of a spell... etc etc etc. It felt like I wasn’t dwelling in a world with actual people, they were just a bunch of puppets obeying the effects of someone’s spells. In my opinion, that’s a terrible story artifice. It just strips characters off their individuality completely.

  • Another thing I wasn’t much fond of was the game’s pacing. Too much battling. The game’s structure is mostly battleeeeeeeeeeeeee -cutscene -battleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - cutscene - battleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. There’s barely any exploration, any shopping, any anything. There are a few puzzles and other moments that break this predictability, but overall I felt like I just left a huge dungeon full of battles, watched a tiny dialog, and was immediately thrown in another immense dungeon again. That made me a little tired, and somewhat eager to finish the game sooner.

  • Speaking of that, I should mention another pet peve of mine: I really don’t liked when I’m left loose in a big place right at the beginning of the game. I don’t remember if there was a cutscene before that, but the very first part of Star Stealing Prince is you in a big town with lots of NPCs with no random dialogs, all with something meaningful to say, and a castle of the same sorts. At that first moment, I didn’t really feel like talking to everyone and investigating every corner of the place (the game hadn’t pulled me in enough), and I didn’t, but I felt guilty because I was probably leaving something important behind. Maybe a little more linearity in the initial scenes would be more... comfortable for the players?

I hope I didn't sound negative... I guess when a game is too good in a bunch of aspects, we tend to be more pickier about other. Overall, this is a game I quite enjoyed, I really recommend it to all RPG lovers, and my hat's off to Ronove for creating such a fine piece of work. I guess if would give this game 4/5.