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A classic that shows why we all want Lys86 back!

  • Oblic
  • 02/13/2012 04:12 AM
  • 2065 views
This is my first review, and I hope to do a few more in the future. I know this game has been reviewed few times, but I figured this is a good place to get my feet wet. Anyway, please be gentle… ON WITH THE SHOW!

Although I noticed that not a lot of people like the breakdown method of reviewing, I find it helpful in most cases. Plus, it’s easier on me in the long run. I won’t give a score to each section, but I’ll do my best to flesh out each part of the game.

SPOILERS!!!

Story:

This game is relatively short (it’s about a 5-10 hour game, depending on how thorough you are at checking everything), but provides quite a ride as you progress through the story. At first, considering the opening scene (which I greatly appreciate in these games), I thought it was going to be another generic “good guy A goes after bad guy B and saves the world”. After realizing that it takes the title quite seriously, you have to learn to interact with more than just the NPCs, of which there are few. Most of the “dialogue” consists of the main character talking to herself, describing the various frozen objects and people she meets.

That is, until she meets the next playable character.

This is where the story starts to get interesting. Things don’t seem to fit neatly into the normal character archetypes after a bit, and you start to wonder who fits where. Even though I should have expected the M. Night Shyamalan like twist in the end, it still caught me off guard. And I even felt a bit (a VERY tiny bit) emotional when Lutine loses herself. I actually thought the “bad guys” were going to win.

Unless you are VERY intuitive or had some hint as to what was going on, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the little twists this game throws at you.

Music/Sound:

I am not super familiar with what resources come with RM, but I do know that this game did use some of those resources. This isn’t a bad thing, especially when the maker uses them properly and sparingly, which I am pretty sure Lys86 did. Depending on how long it takes you to figure out some bits of the game, some of the music can start to get annoying, especially the battle music. Some battles, especially the later ones, can drag on for a while and the battle theme will be just short enough for it to start looping right at the end of the battle. It can really break your immersion when the music-loops are too choppy, but considering the quality of the rest of the game, I can overlook this.

One other small thing that seems common in a lot of RM games is the difference in volume between sound effects and music. This may be my fault due to poor setup on my computer, but as far as I can tell, this is consistent between machines. This issue can be particularly annoying when I need to wear headphones and the minimum volume can still shatter my eardrums. Granted, this is rare in this game and again can be overlooked.

Other than those little gripes, most of the music meshed well with the areas in which it was presented.

Graphics:

Like I said earlier, I don’t know what comes with RM, and what is custom. From what I’ve seen from other games and what little poking around I have done in RM2k3, at least a portion of the graphics look custom. Many of the sprites are stock, but they fit well, and those that I’m pretty sure are not, mesh with the environment without looking out of place (if all the graphics are stock, Lys86 did a great job of mixing it up!).

I like the areas where the maps are only one screen. It is very reminiscent of the old Zelda classics. The screen transitions are nice and quick and don’t break the flow of gameplay. Even the large, sparingly used maps are well put together. There are a few passability issues, but you really have to look for them.

I like how the environment is used to hide valuable chests; they’re usually pretty easy to find if you take your time. I miss this about RPGs. It adds to the free exploration feel, even when there isn’t that much to explore. Some games have this feature, but they go a little nuts with the “hidden” aspect, which makes it very difficult to find “the good stuff”, while others ignore it completely. I think this game has the perfect balance.

Gameplay:

Here is where this game truly shines! I usually get a bit antsy when a game shirks the standard main menu feature (I’m old-school and stuck in my ways), but I got used to the way this game operates fairly quickly. I really enjoyed the tile battle system. It’s a bit slow at first, and it’s not fully utilized until much later in the game, but once you get your third or fourth tile and a second character, you can really strategize and customize how the flow of battle will go!

I always love the non-random encounter systems! I am currently working my way through a few other games that use random encounters, which also use the standard ATB system (I know there’s a name for it, but it’s not coming to mind), and I feel like battles drag on FOREVER! The fact that this game pretty much has just enough battles to get most of your characters to their max level shows that Lys86 put a lot of thought into how the game was going to play out. No random battles is (almost) always a plus in my book!

One thing I did find weird though, was the overwhelming number of tiles. Considering you really only have two characters throughout most of the game, each having five tile slots, you get a ton more tiles than you will every use. This does lead to a LOT of combinations and customizability, but most of the time (other than a few occasions) you will use the more basic tiles to plow through the fodder.

Contrary to the last paragraph, I found it oddly comforting that there was not an excess of items. Normally, I love to max out whatever items I can, so I never have to worry about them. But, I never had to buy any, and I pretty much used most of what I found. I never bothered using the “Memory Crystals” due to the high number of save points scattered around the world. And I rarely used the elemental items, either, but I rarely do anyway. Also, the item levels made battles much more interesting. You had to think about your tile placement in order to get the maximum usefulness out of the “use” tile.

Bits and pieces:

-One of the biggest things that bothers me about “completed” games is the lack of proof reading. There is nothing worse than getting your immersion broken by a typo, misspelling, or a chopped off line. I truly hate it…

This game did a GREAT job of avoiding this! When I make it through an entire game without getting snagged on any major typos (I can live through one or two small ones), I am elated!

I know I’m not the best writer, and I’m far from perfect, but when you hand something in as “complete” and half of the dialogue is choppier than white water rapids, something is wrong.

Again, it didn’t happen here, at least as far as I could tell. (Sorry for the rant. I promise to proof read the hell out of this review!)

-The brevity of the game was kind of sad, but I think it wrapped itself up quite well without being too short; I just wished there was more of it!

-I never figured out what to do with the handwritten note found on the one bookshelf… maybe I should go back and look around…? Hints like these bug me sometimes. I consider myself a completist, and hate to leave a game “unfinished”. I can usually pull myself away, especially when there are very limited ways of finding the answer (a guide or something of the like). I think there was one other note like this, but I could be mistaken…

-I love when the makers really take the time to put in a ton of events! Even if they don’t really amount to much. I just like checking almost every tree, box, pot, clock, chest, bush, etc. to see if there is anything to see! It really helps with immersion (a big thing to me if you haven’t noticed yet!)

Overall:

I highly recommend this title to anyone that hasn’t played it! It’s not the best game out there, but it provides a unique experience that few games offer! I hate trying to score games, especially when the scale only gives a few levels of rating, but I suppose if I have to…

4/5 seems fair.

I really hope Lys86 comes back to RMN and finishes a certain game that everyone knows about…

Posts

Pages: 1
he'll never come back dude, i think you're little too late for the begging. but hey cool review.
Oblic
Once a member of RMN, always a member of RMN!
1752
Yea you're probably right. I mostly wrote this to test out my writing skills. The begging was secondary, haha!

Thanks for the vote of confidence btw!
BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
I definitely enjoyed that game.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
The battle-tile system was really excellent. Good, clear review.
Oblic
Once a member of RMN, always a member of RMN!
1752
Thanks chana! I need all the compliments I can get!

I want to try and get into reviewing more games. I still need to find a style... I kind of feel like I ripped this one from a lot of already well-established reviewers... It'll come with time, I suppose.
Didn't Lys come back for a couple weeks last year and then disappear again soon after? Or was that another joke account? If so, I was totally fooled.
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