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Intriguing potential, but frozen by fatal error

LATE UPDATE: Looking back on this, I realize I wasn't able to play the full game and amend my score. I'm changing my rating to N/A so my early review will not drag down the rating among others. Also, I'll try to make time to play this new version!

I just played Aten’s game Final Fantasy Dreams to completion. And by completion, I mean as completely as one can play it until a game-breaking bug looks for a file called mid1 (I assume a sound effect) and can’t find it, ending the game right after the boss fight with the giant Minotaur. It would be unfair of me to do judge based on this very limited portion of what is supposed to be a completed game if there was any way I could open up the database, remove the call for this file, and continue. Unfortunately, this game is locked and all that the player can tinker with is the executable, so there’s no way around it. So I will judge the game on what I’ve seen, extrapolating my experience from here to the rest of the game. When this bug is fixed, I will play through and amend this review as necessary.

Story: 2.5/5

The story begins as many RPGs do: a quiet town is threatened, prompting the heroes (I assume) to embark on a journey that carries them to distant lands and epic quests. All I’ve played so far is a fetch quest that sets the stage for the heroes’ rush back home, but I can imagine where this is headed. It’s an idea used often, but it’s an effective enough device. And the actual source of the danger is still unknown to me, so it’s entirely possible the plot could be great. Just an average score for now though.

One note: please speed up the dialogue. I think almost every piece of dialogue is set at \s2 and I think at certain points it even drops to \s3 or 4. I would use \s3 maybe as the final boss is in his death throes, but it’s just too slow for normal reading.

Characters: 3/5

There is a short taste of some unknown extremely powerful hero before the focus switches to our familiar Squaresoftenix friends. It seems that Cloud and Squall have teamed up for the adventure (although there isn’t really an explanation as to why these two and not the multitude of other heroes running around town). I didn’t get a sense that the characters had distinct personalities, let alone personalities as we came to know them in their original games. A notable exception would be Cloud’s annoyed reaction to Marle’s nosiness, which I appreciated.

It was interesting that a town full of RPG heroes would be so helpless against invading monsters. I thought they were all jerks, making Cloud and Squall go off to fight the giant Minotaur by themselves while they just walked in random directions.

Still, it is a fan game, so of course the heroes are going to be present, and of course it’s unrealistic that they can all play a part. If you’re looking for familiar faces, they’re everywhere, so an average score here too.

Gameplay: 4/5

The battles in this game have a lot going for them, and it’s a shame my experience was cut so short. The extra systems look pretty cool (the option to either buy or learn magic, charging up attack combos, methods of gaining and using EP) and they’re pulled off gracefully. The battlers are very well done, and the limit breaks are especially impressive. It’s obvious the author spent a lot of time making these look nice. The balance is well adjusted also and the fights don’t drag.

My two criticisms would be that 1.) Maybe limit breaks are a little bit too powerful (one of Squall’s breaks plus lots of fire took down that giant Minotaur quickly) and 2.) It seemed all the enemies were only weak against fire, despite my possession of ice, water, and thunder magic.

Mapping: 3/5

Some good and some bad. It seemed evident in some areas that a lot of thought and care went into crafting the setting (interior areas are particularly good). Other areas are big spaces filled with nothing and are very uninteresting to look at. To the maker’s credit, it seemed like everything fit together, so at least it was consistent.

Music: 3/5

Square tunes that everyone has heard. It’s a fan game, so pretty much what I would expect. Also, the MIDIs are really buggy in the forest: on transitions, it’ll play for a moment, and then go silent.

Custom Systems: 3/5

The custom menu system looks great and functions well. One thing that irked me was that the menu is inaccessible in the forest. Was this intentional? I couldn’t use any items because the Esc key did nothing until I was back in town. I would like to say more about the limit system and the skills, but I wasn’t able to play long enough.

Also, the piano system (ala FFVII) was neat, but I didn’t hear any sounds when I attempted to play.

OVERALL: 3/5

I’d definitely want to keep playing if that bug was fixed. I’m not hooked on the story yet, but I feel like it has some potential and I’d give in an hour or two more to draw me in.

Posts

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Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
6642
If you were to look in the comments of the game page, you would find that Aten both uploaded the file for download and instructed those who played the game on where to place it to allow the game to work. One thing I agree with in this review is that the text speed is VERY slow at some parts, despite me setting the text speed to the Rm2k3's default text speed, which is \s. It seemed that Aten didn't take the extra time to look over every conversation and fix it accordingly.
If you looked in the OPTIONS menu, there is a text speed setting.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
6642
That's exactly what I used to set it down to the default speed, and there were still many occasions where it still used the slower text speed.
Oh see, yeah, I might have missed a couple, since I decided on it when the game was nearly.... 3/4 way done... Yeah, bad planning. But also, there were a couple places where it was on purpose, you know, wanting to be dramatic and all.
Oh, and sorry about the missing file, but like Corfaisus pointed out, the fix is in the comments, as well as the main page for the game under the heading "Alert on missing files".

*Nukes RMTool*
Reuploading a file must take a lot of hard work
What is that supposed to mean?
I'm calling you lazy. You apparently spent the five seconds of work uploading the missing file and updating your game page but the ten seconds of adding the missing file to your game and reupload the whole thing to prevent these issues appears to be too much. Never mind that something critical that will always crash the game if not corrected is not in big bold letters at the very top of your game profile but is instead stuck under content that isn't nearly as relevant is another bad decision on your part.
Oh. Yeah, maybe move to notice to the top of the game page, I skimmed the features and then just clicked download. I'll add the file and continue on.
You should have said it like that in the first place xD. No need to beat around the bush. I'll correct that and put in on the top of the gamepage like you said.
comment=23737
No need to beat around the bush.

tell this to all writers and poets
why don't you upload the whole thing corrected? you know most people are lazy, even more if they just want to find a game to kill some time, which means you should have the work not them..

I think the game looks really good so I will do it, but other people might not be familiar with final fantasy and won't give a rat's ass for a lazy uploader...I'm not familiar with the uploading system, is it that bad?

Another thing, if you correct the thing, you will see that a whole lot of comments will be about the game's good features and not the bad ones, and even the score might rise. And yes, people might just make comments t say that the game is awesome and not to call you lazy rofl

Cheers


PS: someone should beat Bush not around him ;)
He's got a really good point, I just downloaded your game and remember previously playing it before but it was due to the bugs I stopped having no knowledge of how to resolve the issue. Considering this isn't a commercial game which people pay for then I suggest you fix the whole download and upload it again. Like Agnito said, those of us looking for amateur games to try out and play for fun, why the hell should it be a chore for us to figure how to get the game to work. You should make it an easy and simple installation process where no bugs are present especially if you are aware of what bugs need to be fixed. After this then people can download it comfortably without complaints and don't have to work to get your game working.

As a developer once I'm noted with a terror bug, I go and revamp it for the next release and or when I get time I re-upload the whole game without that error to satisfy the player. That way the people playing it aren't put off by it and more people play it without complaints of why they can't play it.
Ok, I see where you guys are getting at. I'll try and fix any remaining bugs I can find and reupload the game. Anyone still having bugs can PM me the details how they got them and what the bug does.
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