Children of Mana Review

Time for another installment in the Mana series. The Children of Mana has a title that really makes sense by the final boss which was a really unique opponent to go up against. I’d call this a dungeon crawler RPG. You don’t have any partners to help you out this time around so it’s like you’re some kind of solo leveling warrior on your way to stop all of the villains and prove your power. It’s a title that definitely ends up being really solid the whole time and you’ll have a good experience here.

The story follows a kid named Ferrik who one day gets roped into a massive adventure when monsters start appearing everywhere. Tess, one of those who prays to the Mana lets Ferrik know that he has to stop these monsters and use the Mana Sword for justice but the Mana Lord doesn’t want this to happen. He aims to create a lot of chaos and endless battles among those in the world before destroying it all. He is effectively using the mana to wipe out everything and believes it is the will of mana. Ferrik has to stop this lunatic and quickly but it won’t be easy. This guy basically is pure power after all.

The structure of the game is fairly straight forward. Each world has you enter a dungeon and go through a bunch of floors until you beat the boss at the end. At first the worlds are around 4 floors long, then 8, and then the final one was around 15-16. You can save every 4 floors which is really handy. One minor annoyance is if you lose you have to shut the console off and on again to load your save because otherwise it takes you back to home base. SO keep that in mind and try not to lose too often. On the other hand the big plus about this setup is that when you die you keep your EXP and weapons that you obtained. In that way it’s like a rogue game in that each playthrough will make you stronger. You get exp really quickly here so the level ups just keep coming in.

Each floor will have you try to find a gem in order to get to the next floor. Once you find that then you have to find the portal and each level will always give you a hint as to where that is. It can be trapped inside a crystal or perhaps generated by beating all of the enemies in the floor. The messages are very clear so you should never be confused on what to do next. It will just end up coming naturally to you. This is very much a game where you will get more and more comfortable with the controls as you play through the game. The important thing is to make sure you are good at attacking and then running off. Don’t bother finishing the combo unless it is a one on one fight or you may leave yourself open to a counter.

You equip gems to balance out your character so I made mine a glass cannon. The plus of that is that every enemy goes down quickly including the final bosses but the downside of that is that each hit really knocks you for a loop. A few hits and you will not be surviving. I still thought this was worth it because while I might die more I will also be obtaining exp a lot quicker so it adds up. Wouldn’t you say hat this is the right move when you take all of that into consideration? You can switch your setup at any time too so there’s no rush there. The game is very plentiful with the resources.

The gameplay style is that of an overhead real time battle system by the way. You start with a sword but gradually get 3 other weapons in the bow, hammer, and chain. Each one is handy so you will be using them a lot. Mainly I would focus on the hammer for environmental damage like destroying the big crystals and activating traps. The bow is great when you need to pick off enemies from a distance. It will take longer than using the sword but it is always a whole lot safer and I found myself relying on this more in the final worlds. The chain is good for if you are getting overwhelmed by enemies and need to create some distance. It hits in a full circle so you can hit a lot of enemies at once.

Grow used to each weapon and you will really be set. You also have magic but I never really used it the whole game since it just seemed really weak. My advice is to equip the light based one since as a passive ability it will heal you from time to time. At the end of the day that’s all I really need. Just give me that and I can take care of the rest with my weapons. There is really a lot of depth to the gameplay though so playing around with the equipment and weapons is really fun. I recommend just messing around with all of them and finding the setup that works for you.

The graphics here are pretty good. The game gets major credit from me for having some cutscenes that were fully animated. I know that’s not easy based on how few games for portable would actually do it. So that’s a really good amount of extra effort that’s just really nice to see. Major kudos on that! The soundtrack is also pretty good. I enjoyed the boss theme here and the game had that classic RPG feel to it. The music is very authentic and so you should be satisfied here. In terms of replay value, well the game is decently long. I want to say it took me around 15 hours or so. There isn’t really much replay value beyond that that I could see but the game hinted that there may be a post game hidden somewhere so that’s something to keep an eye out for. You should be able to get this for a decent price right around now too so this is definitely worth it.

Overall, Children of Mana is a pretty good game. The dungeon elements are fun and it’s not something that is done very often in the RPGs so I think it worked well as a change of pace. I don’t think the story itself was quite as engaging as some of the other Mana games and mainly I think that is because I do miss the banter with all of the characters. Since you’re just playing as the main guy with nobody around for about 90% of the game, there isn’t a whole lot of time for witty dialogue and all of that. If anything there isn’t a lot of talking for a very large portion of the game. As a result the story just didn’t have as much time to really grow and adapt. Still the gameplay will always be the most important factor and the game delivers on that so I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Yu-Gi-Oh Nightmare Troubadour Review

Feels like quite a while since I completed a Yugioh game. They definitely tend to be on the long side so you always get a whole lot of content and satisfaction from them. This one even has a full story along with the usual duels. It has a day and night system that I don’t particularly care for but ultimately it’s still a great game. One that would be nearly impossible to complete without the internet though as everything is so secretive. I suppose eventually you could pull out the win but the play time would certainly skyrocket.

The story is sort of an adaption of Battle City but extremely loose along with minor adaptions of the Noah and Rebecca filler arcs. You play as a new character who I called Terry and you have to try and be the best duelist of all time. To do that you will need to become the World Champion and crush every opponent who tries to get near you. It won’t be easy but this wouldn’t be satisfying if it was a cakewalk right? Will Terry really be able to adapt and take out the villains or will he be wishing that he could just duel for fun?

Lets jump right into what works about the game. First off, there are a lot of cards here so you can customize your deck really well. Initially it’ll take time to build up enough funds to get the cards that you really want but gradually this won’t be an issue. Eventually you will have all that you need to make a deck. So far I have never made 2 decks that were really similar. My deck ends up being really different in every Yugioh game and I think I know why. See, the cards that you get at the beginning of the game are super important because subconsciously you start to build around them. For example, even after I had a lot of really good cards, I kept in a ton of my originals.

I’d already been dueling with them for so long so why remove the right? My deck was more trap oriented so I could block opponent moves and then win with my 5-6 star monsters. I always have a hard time condensing my deck to 40 cards though so I tend to have around 60 or so. It does mean that sometimes you won’t get one of your cards in time but it also means that you will never be timed out. That has happened in the past and sure enough in this game I did have to win at least one match that way. Always make sure that your deck is larger than your opponent’s to be ready for such an attack.

The duels themselves can be a bit long and to this day no game has optimized the speed more than World Championship 2007. Still, it’s way better than the older GBA games which just couldn’t load the screens as quickly. Some of the menus in this game aren’t great so deck construction can be long but the duels themselves are very polished and work well. Ultimately I don’t have any real issues there. The gameplay is solid and in general I like Yugioh a lot so it’s a blast to be able to play through the duels.

The soundtrack is also good. A little repetitive though to be honest. Given how long you’re going to be playing the game, I think they should try to have a larger soundtrack just to keep things fresh. Usually there are only a few themes and it works like in Tag Force when all of the themes are amazing, but when they’re fairly ordinary you just feel like you’d like to see something else. The graphics are okay but the series is not really known for its visuals and I would say this game is in line with that. There’s nothing that jumps out at you.

I already mentioned the game’s length before but don’t expect to beat this game in under 35 hours. It’s an extremely long game due in part to how many duels you have to go through. I played over 100 duels in the game and there are story events you have to go through to get to the ending. These events are dependent on your dueling various people so it really adds up. You also can’t see who you are dueling ahead of time until you beat them a bunch and become friends with them. Hypothetically if you didn’t know what to do, the way to get through the game would be to keep challenging everyone over and over until you registered everyone as a friend. Some seem quite resistant though, like I beat Rex over 20 times and he wouldn’t become my friend.

Now on the downsides to the game, the biggest one is how the story is presented. Without a guide I really would not have been able to figure out where to go next. The randomness of the story is not a strength but a liability. Additionally, I don’t like how duelists randomly attack you at night and if you lose then it’s a game over. At least make it take you back home but don’t threaten me with losing a bunch of save data. I had to save constantly when it was night time just in case. Same with all shadow duels, if you lose then it’s all over. So if a shadow duelist sneaks up on you then it’s really going to end up being messy.

My deck was great but not unbeatable. I would still lose from time to time and sometimes I would get a bad draw. Part of the fun in Yugioh is how many different variations of the same duel you can have based on what you draw. So in that sense I thought the game was a little too merciless with this. There’s also a leveling up system but it seems almost pointless to an extent. You unlock decks by leveling up but that just seems like a way to really keep you from getting good cards for a while. It takes a lot of duels to level up too so I think that could have been really reduced.

Overall, I had my issues with some of the mechanics like the day and night system which keep this from being an elite Yugioh title. The core gameplay still ensures that it is great though and I did appreciate that we got a full story mode. Some of the decisions may have been a bit odd and it certainly aims to be one of the loosest adaptions that I’ve seen but I’ll take that over not having a story mode. If you want to check out a Yugioh game with a lot of content then this is definitely one to check out. You’re not going to regret picking this one up even if it doesn’t quite beat the top tier Yugioh games.

Overall 8/10

Yu-Gi-Oh Nightmare Troubadour Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 37h 48m
Level 15
Cards: 961
Dueling Record 177 Wins-33 Losses -1 Tie
Win Ratio 84%

Duelist Records

Yami Yugi 7-4
Yugi 16-2
Joey 8-6-1
Kaiba 4-3
Mokuba 9-1
Yami Bakura 3-2
Bakura 5-2
Tea 12-0
Mai 5-2
Serenity 7-0
Rebecca 4-8
Solomon 5-2
Bonz 3-0
Mako 6-5
Espa Roba 13-0
Rex 21-1
Weevil 5-0
PaniK 2-0
Dox 4-0
Para 2-0
Pegasus 7-0
Bandit Keith 3-0
Big 1 1-0
Big 2 1-0
Big 3 1-0
Big 4 1-0
Big 5 1-0
Noah 1-0
Gozaburo 1-0
Rare Hunter 1-0
Lumis 3-0
Umbra 3-0
Odion 1-0
Ishizu 3-0
Yami Marik 1-0

Card Pack collection

Miracle of Nature 67%
Shadows in the Labyrinth 67%
Mechanical Trap Power 67%
Flight to a New World 67%
Broken Seal 67%
Inherited Will 67%
Infinite Illusion 67%
Cursed Darkness 69%
Legendary History 71%
Magician’s Soul 69%
Visitor from Beyond 69%
Beautiful Challenger 71%
Wonderous Sorcery 74%
Tricky Toons 71%
Royal Relics 67%
Chosen Warrior 65%

Bleach the 3rd Phantom Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 31h 51m

Character Levels

Fujimaru 37
Matsuri 31
Yanmamoto 18
Soi Fon 18
Kira 23
Unohana 16
Hanataro 18
Aizen 14
Kaien 12
Momo 18
Byakuya 23
Renji 16
Komamura 24
Shunsui 13
Hisagi 24
Hitsugaya 18
Zaraki 20
Yachiru 17
Ikkaku 29
Yumichika 16
Rangiku 16
Urahara 15
Mayuri 23
Nemu 18
Ukitake 13
Rukia 17
Yoruichi 23
Jidanbo 20
Ichigo 28
Chad 21
Uryu 36
Orihime 41
Kon 30
Don 10
Shinji 30
Hiyori 30
Kukaku 23

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 34h 26m
Battle Wins 977
Alchemies 3
Accolades Earnt 36
Quests Completed 1
Wardrobe Completion 11%
Item List Completion 30%
Defeated Monster List Completion 455
Different Monsters Defeated 141

Character Levels


Warrior Level 12
Mage Level 18
Thief Level 22
Priest Level 14
Martial Artist Level 14
Minstrel Level 40


Warrior Level 15
Mage Level 8
Thief Level 43
Priest Level _
Martial Artist Level 6
Minstrel Level 9


Warrior Level 14
Mage Level _
Thief Level 13
Priest Level 13
Martial Artist Level 43
Minstrel Level 8


Warrior Level _
Mage Level 8
Thief Level 13
Priest Level 42
Martial Artist Level _
Minstrel Level 3

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies Review

It’s been many years since I first got this Dragon Quest title so it’s about time I finally cleared the game. It’s also the first game in the series that I’ve played so that’s also a big milestone. It’s definitely a great game and really nails all of the RPG elements that make the genre so much fun. The weak aspect of the game is the story which can feel really episodic the whole time instead of forming a big ongoing plot. That’s fairly unique for an RPG but I just like having the big story at the ready.

The game starts off by introducing you to the guardian angels. Each one watches over a part of the planet and collect the blessings and prayers from the people within. Effectively they provide protection and get energy in return. The main character who I named Terry is just finishing his time as a trainee when the game starts. He is now ready to guard the whole village on his own. Unfortunately the timing isn’t great as the holy realm is struck by some kind of comet/laser and Terry crashes back to Earth so hard that he loses his wings. He must now find a way back into the sky to see what is happening with his fellow angels but must live as a mortal in the meantime. His angel abilities are effectively locked. If he can capture the Frygg’s that fell to the planet then he can at least save the rest of the realm but each one is guarded by a fantastic creature.

The world in this game does not seem technologically advanced so if not for a magic train that shows up I think Terry would have been doomed. I do find it iffy that nobody went to look for him though. I know they were busy and some were getting kidnapped but at least send someone right? It’s hard to say how much time passes in the game but it must be at least a few days if not months since you have to travel a whole lot from town to town. Fortunately Terry keeps his a good amount of strength since he will need that here as the villains are going to keep moving forward until they’ve destroyed all of their enemies.

The combat is fairly straight forward here. It’s a turn based game where you use your attacks to take your opponents down. You have special moves and normal attacks so you will want to use them wisely as running out of magic meter is never a good thing. This is a game where you will definitely need to do some grinding though as the enemies get more powerful along with you. If you don’t watch your back then you’ll be stuck dying over and over again in a cave.

Fortunately the game has a lot of good features that make sure you never get truly stuck. Instead of having to rely on an item to escape a dungeon or fly to a town, you learn permanent skills to do so fairly early in the game. This was a really good decision since it can be annoying to have to be constantly buying items like this. It’s just a great quality of life update and a way for this game to stand out.

That means that navigating the world and going through the various areas is never painful and always goes over smoothly. Another good thing here is that it’s very easy to change your equipment and see how beneficial the next piece will be. The only thing that is misleading here is that the comparison sheet shows the best attribute so you may be tricked into picking something that will make your character faster at the expense of defense. Look at the small print carefully.

Another important gameplay aspect here is the class system. Each character can change their class at a specific town so you can go from being a warrior to a medic for example. While your skills don’t carry over, any character traits will. How this works is most of the time when you level up you are given skill points that you can put into an attribute. Each class has several attributes. Some are found in multiple classes while others are unique. You can choose to use these points or save them up and use a bunch in a different class. IF you pay some for a permanent upgrade like “Max Health +30” then this will transfer to all classes which is very handy.

It may sound complex but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. As mentioned before though, you will need to grind a whole lot in this game. It’s not an RPG I can picture anyone getting through without having to stop and power level at some point. The opponents are just way too powerful to beat otherwise. One thing to keep in mind though is that you can have a party of 4. The game never really mentions this so I was stuck on the first boss for a while as I was fighting him 1 on 1. What you have to do is go back to one of the first inns in the game and you can create 3 original characters to help you out. I recommend giving them all different classes and making sure at least one is a medic so you guys are fairly well balanced.

I know the medic came in handy for me on quite a few occasions. Without someone healing your party at all times you really end up being in quite the pickle. You should make sure you have a full party of 4 at all times because the game’s difficulty will jump straight up otherwise to the point of being nearly unplayable. Especially when the enemies gang rush you. Another thing to note is that the game has an anti grinding mechanic so if you bring in someone that is lower leveled than you out onto the field than he will get less EXP than your other fighters.

Personally I thought that was a bit of a low blow. I understand why a developer will do this but pretty much every other RPG I’ve played is cool with this so why would this game try and prevent this action? I think they should have just left it alone and that would have been great. Still, I’m a fan of the gameplay mechanics overall, it’s a large part of what makes the game great.

As I mentioned, the only weakness here is the story and characters. Well, you can take Terry out of the equation since by definition he has no character. He’s just the plot device you use to get through the game. You have the fairy who is always following you around. She’s not bad, there’s not a whole lot to her though beyond getting upset at everyone all the time. The conductor shows up near the end of the game and he seems like a nice guy but kind of out of nowhere.

The most interesting character is easily the final villain. There’s a bit of a twist about who he is, but the guy actually gets a good amount of screen time and even some development before the game ends. Now he felt like a true RPG villain and even had the crazy super form to boot. The story certainly does turn it up a bit by the end but if the game is around 25 hours in length, it felt like the actual story was only 3 hours or less. You could cut out every town in the middle and it wouldn’t affect the story which I do think is a bit of an issue.

Meanwhile the technical elements were definitely on point. The graphics are really impressive for a portable game. You’ve got full cutscenes here as well as a solid soundtrack. There are even fights within the cutscenes like the big dragon battle. It’s fitting that a dragon should get some of the cinematic moments here since the game is called Dragon Quest after all.

In terms of length the game is well over 20 hours so you’re getting a lot of value here. There is also a good amount of replay value between the post game content and leveling up your characters. You could easily be here for 40+ hours by the time you’re done with everything.

Overall, Dragon Quest IX is a great game. It’s known as one of the all time best RPG franchises and its easy to see why. The gameplay is very polished and there isn’t a lot to improve on that front. I imagine the story will be quite different in each of the games so we’ll see how that goes in the next adventure. As long as we continue getting those great cutscenes and big battles I’m sure there will be nothing to worry about. It may be a bit early to start comparing this to Final Fantasy or Tales Of but we’ll see how things go as the franchise continues.

Overall 8/10

The Legend of Kage 2 Review

This is a game I bought at Gamestop a long time ago but I hadn’t gotten around to playing the original so I just kept it on the backburner. Well, I finally got around to beating the original (Review coming soon) and the sequel does a good job of really improving upon the original in every way. We now have a real story and more streamlined gameplay.

The game starts with Kage being given a new mission. He is to protect the princess who turns out to be his childhood friend. It’s really not a bad gig but unfortunately he does not know the true dangers that are around him. A group of villains want to kidnap the princess because she has latent abilities that could allow them to conquer the world. Clearly the stakes have been raised but will Kage be able to raise his skill level to match?

Right away I liked the visual style of the game. It handles the energy effects well from how the blue and red blades look to how the whole game’s atmosphere is. Ultimately this game looks very good. The boss designs are on point as well and if the game ever got an anime, I’d want them to use the designs from this game rather than the original.

The gameplay is pretty simple and to the point. You can jump extremely high and swing away at enemies with your blade. A new addition to the series is that you actually have special abilities now. You can increase your attack, defense, or even shoot out projectiles. Personally I recommend sticking to the attack and defense options since those are really the best bets. The difference is actually noticeable here.

Now the main knock against the game is the length. It’s around 3 hours which is pretty bad. The original game was only about an hour or even less but it could get away with it more since this was the original title. For a big sequel that’s a little harder to overlook because you just expect a certain amount of length. Imagine buying this day 1? That would probably get pretty dicey and you would feel cheated out of your cash.

There is some replay value I suppose in that you can try to grab more collectibles in the level. If you grab everything then you’ll be really powerful but the main issue is that there would be nothing to do with it. There are no bonus levels or anything so you would just be flexing on minions. Certainly that’s cool and all if you are having a blast with the gameplay but it’s not enough for me to say the game truly has real replay value.

This is the kind of title you are really playing as a one and done experience. It is a fun experience at least for the reasons I stated above. The main rival makes for a really good antagonist. He’s quite skilled but also has an honor code. The fact that he fought to the end while remaining as a human as an impressive twist. It shows Kage that you can become truly strong even without becoming a monster. The other characters didn’t always seem to have such fortitude.

Hanzo was also very interesting. He spends the entire game getting beaten up left and right but then you see that he is actually a whole lot more skilled than we may expect. Personally I still think Kage and the blue rival are too powerful for him but maybe he would be third in the verse. A third game seems unlikely but I would definitely be really hyped to see that at some point.

My main gameplay tip here is to just experiment. When you die you can always continue again so see what went wrong the first time and adapt. There is no penalty for trying a lot as you get your health and magic meter restored to the sky’s really the limit. The only chance of failure is if you give up. Additionally, the bosses have very set movement patterns so once you memorize them then you really should not have any problems here.

I wouldn’t say the soundtrack is super memorable but the tunes aren’t bad. You have a pretty good idea of what is going on and it fits with the ninja theme. I’d love some more rock based music themes of course but it’s hard not to be satisfied with what we did get. The boss battles are also intense as you would expect.

Overall, Legend of Kage 2 was a lot of fun. The only thing keeping me from calling it a great game is how short it is. No matter how polished the gameplay or interesting the story, there is only so much you can do in 3 hours. Maybe the developers weren’t given enough time but still wanted to make a high quality game so instead of sacrificing that, they cut off the length. If they were forced to make such a choice then I definitely have to say that I agreed with the call. Better to have a short high quality title than a long one that’s not very good. Better luck next time for Kage but if you find this game for $5 like I did then it is definitely worth it.

Overall 7/10

Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Review

When I play a game like Lunar: Dragon Song I figure that the days of bad gameplay mechanics are behind me. Then I play Spirit Caller and I remember that there is no end to this. Here’s the problem with Spirit Caller right off the bat, you can’t duel the person you want to without RNG and a lot of luck. That’s a big issue but I’ll go more into that in a moment. Anytime RNG dominates your game like this without a specific purpose you know that things are about to go sour and it’s just a shame.

The basic plot is that you are a new transfer student to Slifer Academy. You joined up a few days after Jaden and pals so now you will be around for the events of the TV show. I believe this covers the first two seasons. You have a fairly small map world that is divided into about 6 areas. You can jump into each area and then wander around for duels. After fulfilling specific criteria that is not mentioned anywhere in the game, you can trigger story events. Good luck triggering them without a walkthrough by the way. Keep on going until you have defeated all of the enemies.

So here’s problem number 1, at first you will just have to click on each red circle and hope it’s the right duelist. NPCs give off the same frequency as duelists so you’ll have to waste time bumping into the same guy time and time again when looking for an opponent. Also, until you register an opponent in your PDA he is completely anonymous so you may end up fighting someone you’ve already beaten. How do you get them registered? Well, you have to beat the opponent a bunch of times but there is no exact number. So just keep on defeating these guys until their icon eventually shows up over an area so you know how to avoid them.

Also, there’s a day and night system here. You only have time to check out a few spots before it goes dark and it’s time for bed. This is definitely a shame since you may want to play more than that. The whole day and night system is always really bad if you ask me. Particularly as there seems to be no point to it here. The amount of days and nights are endless anyway and the only difference is that once a week or every other week you have to do a test that has no impact on the story or on your stats anyway.

Some story events also take a really long time to trigger. For example, one event was I needed to just keep going to sleep until Jaden randomly wakes me up for a duel. The problem is that it took several cycles before he did that and there’s no way to speed up the time except to keep on visiting areas over and over again. The quickest way is to pick an empty area and then another one across town. It’s all rather tedious though.

So those are my main issues with the game. I don’t like that you have to just wait for story events to come to you or that the day will run out so you are forced into bed. Also, just let me duel whoever I want instead of having to search the forest to fight a random opponent. It just doesn’t make any sense if you ask me. The World Championship games may not usually have a plot but at least you can jump in and duel whoever you want whenever you want. Now isn’t that a much more balanced system? I would certainly say it is.

The actual gameplay is good though. The duels go very smoothly with fast loading times and a lot of interesting decks. Some Yugioh games suffer from being a little slow but this isn’t one of them so that’s good. I think you can definitely have a good time with this if you focus on the duels. The problem is that there are other Yugioh games which can give you a similar experience with less hassle. Still, at least it’s an incentive to buy the game since the gameplay is at least good which is important..

It’s hard to say how long the game is, but at my current pace it would easily take around 30+ hours I would say. It’ll take you a long while to earn up enough money to buy all of the best cards as well and you will need that if you want to take on the future duelists who will appear. Also, EXP allows you to level up which includes more card packs and dueling opportunities so it’s important to keep battling as much as possible. There is definitely a lot of content here.

At least you can expect to have a true challenge here. The game starts you off with a truly terrible deck and since buying new cards comes down to luck you will definitely be held back for a while before you can get a really solid deck. Once you do though, then the sky’s the limit. Creating and managing your deck is one of the most enjoyable parts of Yugioh after all since you get the satisfaction of really getting to build from scratch and knowing that each card was carefully placed into the mix. That is definitely the way to go.

Overall, Spirit caller is one of those games that tried to get a little too fancy for its own good. As a Yugioh game all this title needed to do was supply the duels and give a fun plot/story to work off of. That’s really it. Just have a nice hub world to walk around or put it in an arcade mode kind of setting. The whole time system and constant RNG have no place here. Think about it, you’re already going to be using a lot of RNG for the actual duels so do we need it in the hub world as well? I would say definitely not personally.

Overall 6/10

Lunar: Dragon Song Review

What were they thinking with this one? Dragon Song easily has some of the worst video game mechanics I’ve ever seen. Another issue here is at least most titles stick to just having one awful gimmick that was thrown into the game. This has a bunch of them and we’re definitely going to have to talk about why they are an issue. There is a decent game buried in here somewhere but the game makes it as difficult as possible to try and find it. I can see why the franchise basically died with this one.

The story takes place many years before Lunar Legacy so now we can see why everyone looked up to the Dragon Master and why all of the dragons were in poor shape from the start of the first game. Well, Jian is just your average main character who looks up to the old legends of strong fighters. One day he and Lucia are on a usual delivery job from their guild when they wander into a town and fight some monsters. That’s when they find out that the town general is actually a mad man chasing power. He takes out the dragons and becomes the Dragonmaster. After that he kidnaps Lucia.

Jian has to get her back but the only one who can defeat a Dragonmaster is another Dragonmaster. Jian needs to take down all of the dragons and get some powerful friends by his side if he is to save her but it won’t be easy. Fortunately Jian is the kind of guy who learns really fast and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the enemies. In fact, he does have more character than the first game’s protagonist even if he is unreasonable a lot of the time. Get ready to hear Jian constantly talk about how he has to save Lucia and he will do whatever it takes. He says this a whole lot.

Dragon Song has a fairly weak character cast though. You won’t remember any of the heroes for very long which is a shame. Additionally, the main villain is so unremarkable that the game doesn’t even let you fight him. Yes, you have a main villain who actually goes out without a fight. If that’s not anticlimactic then I don’t know what is. It was such a bad way to go out too. Then for the heroes you have a revolving door here as your party members keep on changing. Maybe that’s part of what makes it hard to really sync up with them. They also don’t level up with you so be prepared for a level 1 guy to join you when you’re past level 10. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

While Jian’s determination to save Lucia is good, he does come across as unreasonable parts of the time. A big moment of this is when the world is at stake and he has deliveries to do but gets baited into joining a tournament to prove that humans are just as cool as the Beastmen. It wasn’t really a good time for that and he ended up being cursed for his efforts. The game has a theme about humans vs beast men similar to Arc the Lad, but it is not handled nearly as well to be honest.

Lets talk gameplay now though. On its surface this is a turn based combat game where you attack enemies and level up to victory. Here’s the first can’t choose who you attack. Yes, it is completely random by the system so get ready to always be attacking in the worst possible combinations. Enemies who you should defeat easily suddenly become an issue due to this. At least you’re earning EXP the whole time right?

Wrong! You only earn EXP if you switch to EXP mode but then you won’t earn any materials or items. Moreover, the enemies and bosses level up with you. The issue with this is that your efforts are largely wasted as the bosses get a whole lot of extra health for leveling up. Grinding up your levels just isn’t as satisfying as it usually is. Also, you don’t get money from minions no matter which route you choose so earning enough to buy the good equipment takes a long while. The best way is to just farm guild missions which is still quite slow and tedious.

It’s also worth noting that your weapons and equipment can break. Yeah, this has never been a good gimmicku and Lunar Dragon of all games was not going to be the exception here. Did I mention that you can run at your own peril? The game encourages you to walk because if you run then you will rapidly lose health points. If you get too low on health then you have to walk until you can find the nearest healing statue. It’s incredibly inconvenient when you’re at lower levels and don’t have a whole lot of health to speak of.

There is no quick travel system for each town. You can use ports to skip some areas but at the end of the day be prepared to do a lot of running. If you want to open the chests in an area you have to defeat a bunch of minions within an allotted time while in EXP mode. The game really wanted to make sure every aspect of the game was as painful as possible. Now you may be wondering, why isn’t the game a negative score then? Well, the answer is because the game still has enough interesting points where I would say it’s worth a playthrough. Even if just to see how bad these mechanics are.

The graphics are decent even if I would definitely not call them very good. I would have liked actual cutscenes or at least some illustrations instead of the hard to read text that is spammed at you. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable though so you won’t remember it for long. The game took me around 20 hours to complete which is really not all that bad. It definitely could have been a lot worse that’s for sure. There isn’t really any post game to speak of though so forget about having any replay value.

Overall, Lunar: Dragon Song is definitely what I would call a soulless RPG. A lot of the decisions are completely baffling as to why you would ever even want to add them in. They straight up take a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience. This game should have been an easy 7 and yet I couldn’t give it a positive score. The gameplay is just slowed down far too much. To run away you even have to blow into the microphone which is also horrible. There are probably even more mechanics I could mention but you get the general picture. Dragon Song was just never going to be all that good because the gameplay is a huge part of any RPG. Same with the story and that was just pretty bland.

Overall 5/10