Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch Remastered Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 30h 12m
PS4 Trophies 9/34
Oliver Level 59
Esther Level 59
Marcassin Level 56
Swaine Level 54
Tyke Myson Level 49
Rocko Level 31
Joules Level 50
Bosun Level 55
Gunther Level 50
Gogo Level 59
Shonky Level 54
Sid Level 58
Lemahl Level 54
Mitey Level 54
Spells Learned: 32

Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch Remastered Review

I was never all that familiar with the Ni No Kuni title. I had heard of it since Level 5 games always get a good amount of publicity but I can’t say I knew anything about the plot. Well, it was definitely a very satisfying RPG and a rather long one as it took me a full 30 hours. After playing it I can definitely say that this is a winner and a really solid title. It’s also unique enough where you can’t call it quite like any others. I would certainly like to see more games in this series.

The story introduces us to a kid named Oliver who decides to go out one night to try out his friend’s car. Unfortunately he ends up crashing and while Oliver’s mother is able to save him, she dies in the process. Now Oliver is broken inside as he blames himself for this happening. One day his stuffed animal Drippy becomes sentient and lets Oliver know that there is still a way to save his mother. See, there’s a parallel world where everyone has a double. If Oliver can save his mother’s double then he will also be able to save her. Oliver agrees to do this and stop the evil wizard Shadar. Along the way he meets several allies and friends who will help him out. If Oliver can spread joy to many, he can begin to save lives and souls wherever he goes.

I will say that from the start this does seem a bit suspect though. So as we play through the game you see that if one person is sad then their double in the other world is sad as well. Emotions and everything transfer. If you die in one world then you die in the other. Wait a minute……lets focus on that last part. So if Oliver’s mother died in the real world then she would have died in the other world too so there’s nobody left to save right? Oh nooooooooooo. I mean it’s impossible not to be thinking about that immediately. The question is just if Drippy is intentionally misleading Oliver or if there’s some reason why this would be an exception. Naturally you’ll have to wait until the end to see what is really going on here but I remember thinking about this right from the start. If both souls are linked throughout then that’s bad news for Oliver’s chances.

The gameplay is classic turn based although you are able to move while attacking. In that sense it’s the most similar to .Hack which also had turn based combat but you could move around to gather energy, items, and try to make the other player miss. It’s a good way to add some energy to the usual turn based combat although I tend to enjoy it either way. You can fight as Oliver or you can play as one of up to 3 creatures you control. You can switch in and out at any time though which is really good for strategy. Let me tell you now that you will want to be switching in and out a whole lot here. You can’t stick with any monster for too long anyway since there is a time limit. So I would usually go to my monster for the fighting and would switch back to Oliver when it was time to heal.

You can also capture monsters later on to add them to your team like in Pokemon. For about 80-90% of the game I didn’t use Oliver almost at all aside from healing but then towards the end you learn 2 spells that are extremely powerful. At that point I stopped using the monsters and would play as Oliver exclusively. Trust me when I say that the spells are that good. Use your two allies to draw enemy fire while you charge them up though as the spells take a while to work. Your allies will probably lose a lot though as they have a hard time blocking. You can tell them to go on defense mode by pressing square but they’ll ignore you half the time since they’re already in the middle of a spell.

Don’t worry about them so much but make sure you end up blocking the attack. It reduces the damage by around 90% and also causes the enemy to drop some health/mp bubbles and sometimes even a full recovery that gives you a final smash. You don’t want to miss out on that. There is a lot of strategic elements to keep in mind here but you’ll have all of the mechanics down before long. The game is rather difficult either way though so don’t expect to just breeze on by it. I had to grind out a lot of EXP throughout the game and even then the bosses were challenging. On the final boss I lost on the final phase when the health was in the red the first time which stung. You just have to keep going at the enemies though and get your guys into the mid 50s for level. If you go higher then even better but I wouldn’t really try if your guys are too low. Just hang back and train for a bit longer.

The graphics are really solid here. We have full anime cutscenes, cgi rendered cutscenes, and then classic text boxes with voice acting. The game is very well polished and it’s clear that a lot of budget went into this one. The world looks really good even when you’re not in a cutscene. I definitely had no issues with how the visuals looked at all. This is a winning title. The soundtrack is also good even if it’s not super memorable. It does the job of getting you through the game. I do have a bit of an obscure issue with the sound mixing though. There are 3 styles of cutscenes as I mentioned and each one has a different volume level. The problem with that is that it’s hard to have the volume set up since some cutscenes will be too low one way or too loud the other. It’s a rare issue that has only popped up in a handful of games but it’s worth mentioning. It’s not something that should really hurt your experience at all though, especially considering that all of the cutscenes are subbed.

After completing the game there is a good amount of post game content to challenge. More islands, enemies, missions, quests, etc. Additionally you also have the PS4 trophies to grab and those seem to be reasonably challenging. I expect you will certainly have to take a while to conquer those. Considering that the base game with no sub quests is 30 hours, this game will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

As with most RPGs, the story is also really good. The benefit of a story being long is that you really get to hang out with the characters for a while and get to like them all. Naturally as always I wouldn’t mind if Oliver was older but he does well by the end. His team did well in protecting the universe. It was fun to see everyone with british accents as well since you don’t see that so often. The main heroine Esther is good and always has solid banter with Swaine. Droopy has a lot of confidence and his manner of speaking always makes his sentences memorable.

For the villains, we had Shadar of course who is a tough threat. All of his dialogue is rather intense and the guy is not lacking in confidence. The battles with him are suitably tricky. The White Witch takes a while to actually take the stage but the wait is well worth it. I also liked her design. The game gives out a lot of plot twists before things are over and they all help to really change the experience. Each twist is a rather big deal and none of them felt pointless. While I would have handled the ending a bit differently, you’ll have a satisfying ride from start to finish.

Overall, Ni No Kuni is definitely a great game and I would recommend checking it out. It’s a difficult RPG that will require more grinding than in others but by the same token, the extra level of detail means that this could be the reverse for you. If you really master the mechanics and type advantages then perhaps you could beat this at a much lower level than I. Of course I’d like to see you try though as I would argue I did really well with the mechanics. It does mean that there are countless ways to approach each boss though so feel free to experiment. Always buy the latest equipment and you will be in a good spot here.

Overall 8/10

Alphadia Genesis Review

Kemco has returned and this is easily the best story they’ve churned out since the original Asdivine Heart games. We’re back to having a lot of twists, a grand end of the world story, and a colorful cast of characters. The game certainly gets rather serious and the heroes are put to their limits but at the end the day you know teamwork is what will be the decisive factor here. The game’s only main weakness is there are still less customizable game options than in the Asdivine games and there are quite a few dead spots. More on that later.

The game starts off right away by explaining that the two kingdoms of the world are getting ready to come up with an answer to the clones issue. Right now there is a debate on if all clones should be put in stasis since they are too dangerous or to continue to allow them free roam. Recently there have been instances of clones attacking and even murdering people. An investigative team is created using two people from each kingdom. Fray and Aurra from one with Walter and Corune making up the other group. They run into a clone named Enah and add her to the party as well. Is someone deliberately making clones look bad or is there a real security risk?

I can’t say I was expecting a game about clones, it is a much more futuristic world than I had expected. It’s a fun change of pace though and the Kemco games really are all quite unique. Naturally when it comes to this debate I’m immediately against the idea of putting everyone into stasis. It seems like an overreaction to me and you’d have a very hard time of ever convincing me that every clone should be taken down for the actions of a few. The dilemma here is interesting though as the clones are cybernetic meaning that they can be hacked. So the heroes need to find a way to prevent that from being possible but don’t even know if that’s the cause.

As mentioned, I enjoyed the cast here quite a bit. Fray is the main character and he’s your classic RPG hero. He can be oblivious a lot of the time but always tries to do the right thing. He’s not quite as intense as Zack from Asdivine but Fray has a lot of good moments and a solid character arc. He does go through a very rough patch during the second half of the game but that doesn’t last too long.

Aurra is Fray’s little sister and she’s a scientist but can still fight when needed. Without her the heroes would have definitely been in a bit of a jam on more than one occasion. She certainly enjoys trolling Fray a lot of the time. Enah is the clone who joined the group and as she literally woke up yesterday she doesn’t know a whole lot for most of the game and learns with the characters. I’d have liked her to have known more about the world but as it stands her character was executed well.

Grande is a tough gang leader or at least so it seems at the start but for the most part he seems like a good guy. The town likes the group and it seems like they’re a bunch of people who do good things but don’t want to take credit for it. Grande looks out for his men and makes for a good addition to the cast. Then you have Corune as the main heroine. With her title as the War Princess you can bet that she fights quite a lot. It’s always good to have another fighter on board and she does well.

Finally you have Walter who loses so many times in the game that it might be a record. His thing is that he likes Corune but she likes Fray so he is always jealous. He probably makes 50+ attempts to get her to notice him but this always fails. His streak of losing is so exaggerated that it becomes funny after a while. Naturally this is leading up to a character arc but don’t expect things to ever go very well for him.

From all of the Kemco games this one may have had the most romance. You have Aurra and one of the villains who shows up, the triangle with Fray, Corune, and Walter, then Fray and another girl who shows up near the end. I was glad the final one didn’t really go anywhere (As of the normal ending) though because that would have felt like a very big rebound. There are some circumstances that make this unique but I still don’t think it would have been a good idea. The main romance isn’t too bad I suppose, at least it’s given a whole lot of time to develop. It’s why Aurra’s romance with the villain isn’t nearly as good since it doesn’t have that kind of development.

Now when it comes to the gameplay you have the excellent turn based system that Kemco games are known for. It certainly does not disappoint here. The fights are fast and the attack animations are on point. You can’t turn them off this time around but you can still use auto battle which is good at least. The A.I. is a step down from other games though so you won’t want to rely on it too much. There isn’t a whole lot of grinding needed to complete the game this time around though so that’s not much of an issue. You will just need to use a lot of good tactics as you decide how to play each battle.

I found the status effect moves to be really helpful in this game. I would usually run a status combination for my first 4 turns. (Attack up, Defense up, Enemy attack down, Speed up) That would set me up really well for the next attack. As for the hub world, your characters move really quickly which is good. You can also set a speed formation which lets you run away from pretty much any battle because your character should always move first. Now that is what I’d call an extremely useful formation.

Now what did I mean about dead zones? Well, there are quite a few times in the game where a cutscene will end and you know a boss fight is coming up. The issue is that at this point in the game you cannot leave the castle to go train. So your only option is to fight the boss but if you aren’t strong enough to win then you will be stuck. Your only option is to start the game over from the beginning. That’s what a true dead zone is and this game has quite a few of them. I ended up having 3 files going on at the same time as backups just in case. On one occasion this saved me because there was no way I could have possibly beaten the boss without a lot of level ups.

A dead zone is really a design issue. I think it means this game could have used a little more playtesting. I definitely would have been dismayed if I had to restart the game after being near the end but fortunately that didn’t happen. Beyond that, one element that’s a bit weaker than the other games is that you can’t land your airship just anywhere here. You have to land in the water so you will often have to walk a bit more than would usually be necessary. Not a big deal or anything but it just feels like a really random change. I don’t see why the airship was changed from all of the other games.

As always the graphics are definitely on point here. The level designs are great and I like all of the different attack animations. The character designs are good too so I have no issues here. Naturally the soundtrack is also great with all of the usual catchy beats you find in these games. This one definitely doesn’t falter and you will really enjoy the boss theme.

As for replay value, well the game does have a post game story for the true ending. The main campaign took me almost 20 hours so I imagine the post game will probably be around 1-3 hours of bonus content. I’m sure it will be difficult as well so throw in some extra time for grinding and this is a game that should last you for quite a bit. A lot of story happens throughout so you should be satisfied. You can also go after the Platinum which doesn’t look all that difficult for this game. That would be a fun way to get some extra play time in.

Overall, Alphadia Genesis is definitely a great game. The story is engaging and really tackles some pretty intense themes. The story can be happy, dark, light, serious, etc. As an RPG it succeeds in really telling a complete story from start to finish. Throw in a likable group of characters and you have an adventure to remember. While the dead zones get tricky and parts of the gameplay aren’t quite up to Asdivine level, it’s close enough where it doesn’t hurt the title. Even if it’s not a 100% replica, Kemco games are so far ahead of the curve that this one is as well. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this game regardless of how the true ending plays out. Seeing the characters again would be fun.

Overall 8/10

Monster Viator Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 22h 44m
PS4 Trophies 21/27
Bestiary 78/81
Quests Completed 31/34

Character Levels

Terry 73
Aira 73
Gonya 73
Molmol 73
Ishiri 73
Levi 73
Brave 73
Alulu 65
Windie 73
Flaire 73
Yucklew 73
Boros 73
Khid 66
Girua 70
Ellen 66
Tetsu 70
Julius 63

Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling Review

Bug Fables is a fun story about a group of bugs that must ultimately band together to save the world. It’s fairly common knowledge that this was inspired by the Paper Mario series and the game does a really good job there. It does feel like the classic paper experience with no gimmicks to hold the title back. The story is definitely fun and there is quite a lot to do here so this is the kind of RPG that can really last you for quite a while.

The story starts with Kabbu and Vi both trying to convince the kingdom to let them become explorers. The thing is, both of them aren’t exactly qualified for this. Still, a concession is made and they can do this if they team up so they at least have a 2 man squad like everyone else. They reluctantly agree to this and head off to the first dungeon to prove themselves. That’s when they meet up with a guy named Leif who seems like he may have time travelled or something as his descriptions don’t match with the current reality. There is little time to think about this though as the Wasp Kingdom continues to make moves against the Ants. The only thing that can stop them is to find the Everlasting Sapling to give to the queen and we will need to find some relics to locate that. It is a race against time!

As you gather the relics in the game you gradually begin to learn more about the kingdoms and exactly what is going on here. Think of it like Dynasty Warriors where you have multiple warring countries and nobody gets along due to grudges passed on through generations. Vi is a bee, Leif’s some kind of cricket, then you have Kabbu the beetle. The kingdoms are run by a bunch of different insect tribes and none of them get along very well in part due to the current Ant Queen not being a great diplomat. As the game goes on all of the kingdoms start learning to work together against the wasps.

It’s a fun story and the main villain is solid as well. His fire abilities are impressive and he has some solid lines like when the heroes say “Think we’ll fall for that again?” to which he responds “Yes” as he one shots them with his fire abilities. As the characters are all insects you can imagine how useful a fire technique would be. Most fighters go down in a single hit to that kind of move and it’s what makes the main villain such an impressive threat. The cast is fairly memorable here and the adventure is long enough where everyone gets to have their moment.

There are even some rivals at the ready like a famous singer and her bodyguard who tries to keep up a tough image while he is in her presence. Ultimately he is always ready to put up a tough fight although it’s safe to say that the main characters are the strongest ones around. From the 3 I would say that Vi steals the show. Vi’s always talking tough and is the most aggressive of the 3. If anyone tries to talk the team down then Vi will set them straight. Kabbu is also solid and he’s the wise mentor of the group. He doesn’t jump into action as quickly as the others but has enough power to defend himself.

Then there’s Leif who is a lot more sarcastic compared to the other two and isn’t quite a people person. That said, you can certainly count on him in a pinch. Even the Ant Queen gets some solid development by the end of the game and isn’t just some figurehead that you don’t see until the end of the game. She does contribute in the game when needed instead of staying in the shadows the whole time.

The graphics are good and are certainly Paper Mario inspired just like the gameplay. The worlds are colorful and quite memorable. The towns can be a bit large though and there is no map so you really have to find everything out through trial and error. If there’s one thing the game lacked, it’s a better map system. Something to let you know where to go and what to grab. It took me a while to find one of the shops for example but at least once you find a place you are unlikely to forget where it is.

The soundtrack is also good. In particular there’s one danger track that I liked a lot and it shows up whenever a boss is approaching. The main campaign is also fairly long so you’re going to get the full RPG treatment here. On the whole I wouldn’t say the game is too hard but there will likely be one or two times where you may need to get an extra level up. As far as RPGs go I would consider this to be one of the ones on the lower rung in terms of grinding. You don’t need to worry about spending hours fighting minions or anything like that. If you’re really in a pickle, just buy some recovery items and you’ll be all set.

After each level up you can decide if you want to increase your health bar, magic meter, or badge space. Personally I recommend focusing on magic meter and badge space since those are crucial. You can use badges to increase health as well so that’s why I rarely went with Health. Maybe upgrade that 2 ties but the rest you can pour into the other attributes. There are only around 37 levels in the game so you want to choose where you allocate everything pretty carefully so you’re in a good position.

The gameplay is a turn based system where you use your reaction times to maximize the damage and how much you shield from their attacks. For example you may have to input commands as shown on the screen or tap one button repeatedly. The more you master each skill, the better you will do in a fight. When you’re not in combat there are some puzzles you will need to solve by using each character’s signature move. The puzzles here are well done though and you shouldn’t worry about them being unclear or cheesy. Each one can definitely be solved with the knowledge the game gives you.

Overall, Bug Fables is a solid RPG. It’s a good bit of fun throughout and the characters are likable. The story gradually raises the tension throughout to the climax so you get to end off with a bang. There’s a decent amount of replay value here as you take on the side missions. It seems like doing so will allow you to learn more about each of the characters as finishing up their stories is like a post game to each of them. It’ll be cool if the game gets a sequel, there’s definitely more you can do with this world for sure.

Overall 7/10

Monster Viator Review

Time for the next Kemco game. This one may not be in the Asdivine series but otherwise it looks like it could be in that franchise. As always Kemco delivers with a quality game here but the gameplay is a noticeable step down from the other titles. Mix that in with the game not really having a big villain this time around and it isn’t quite ready to be challenging the other titles. Still, you’ll have a fun time playing through this one.

You start off as a kid who has complete amnesia. He has no idea how he got here or even what the world is all about. Fortunately he ends up near a fairly nice village. In this world, some people can talk to monsters and if they have a strong enough bond, the monster will be your pal for life. Most don’t have a whole lot of skill in this arena though so it’s considered a really rare skill. Well, Terry (That’s what I called the kid) seems to be a natural and can talk to any monster with ease. Is it possible that he was the world’s greatest monster trainer back in the day? It’s hard to say but he will need to gather his skills to stop a rather spoiled prince from causing trouble for everyone.

The prince will end up being the main antagonist by the end but for most of the game you’re really just travelling a lot and meeting new monsters. You help people at every place you go to and uncover some memories little by little. By the end of the game you get the full picture of what happened here. You’ll understand why he is always getting a lot of de ja vu and it works well as a final twist. The ending of the game also delivers with a classic final boss that’s super over the top. In an RPG the final boss always has to be some kind of deity with immense power after all and that’s an aspect I’m glad that the genre has continued to use.

The cast here is fairly small. There’s not much to say about Terry since he doesn’t really talk. He’s a lot more expressive than most of the prior main characters though as this guy will jump in the air, grin, do a spin move, etc. He’s having a lot of fun on the journey which is a good thing. After all, you have to enjoy the journey or else what fun will the resolution be right? It would all be futile if the whole thing wasn’t fun.

The main heroine here is Aira and she’s fun enough. She doesn’t have as much skill as Terry yet but she is training hard. Her flute allows her to still train her own monsters up and she is very determined to get Terry into fighting shape which is good. He at least has one ally who won’t rest until he gets all of his memories back. Then you have the villain Biscute who is more of a petty villain. He really just likes to show off and wants to own the most powerful monsters out there.

You have to give him credit for being skilled though. He actually did capture quite a few powerful monsters with no real tricks or sneaky tactics. It was just pure skill and you feel kind of bad for him by the end of the game. Things didn’t quite go as expected that’s for sure. So the story may not have been mind blowing, but it was entertaining enough to get you through the adventure.

The gameplay is a turn based style where you take turns slamming away at each other’s health points. You win by getting the enemy down to 0. You can use physical attacks, magical attacks, or skills. There are some unity moves too but I never got the hang of it. The gameplay itself is good even if it is a bit long. There’s no way to speed up gameplay or turn off encounters here. In fact, a lot of the big quality of life features I praise Kemco’s games for have been removed in this one.

I have to assume it’s because they brought another company in they decided to use that as an opportunity to test new things. It’s not as natural though and makes the gameplay more like any other RPG rather than really standing out like the other ones did. This one is more interchangeable with a classic RPG because there are no extra features. The biggest flaw here though would have to be that there is an extensive amount of grinding needed to beat the game. This is one of those games where it isn’t properly balanced so you go from a group of enemies being a little strong to suddenly being ultra powerful. Well over half of my gameplay experience was pure grinding.

The actual story was very short, likely under 10 hours. It’s the grinding that really stretches this out as you have to spend hours beating up on the minions to be strong enough to take these guys on. That’s really my only issue with the game. It just felt really excessive and then it also feels a bit sneaky when you realize that they sold a DLC pack where you could get triple damage and triple EXP permanently for the rest of the game. Seems like they intentionally made the end of the game difficult so you could buy the pack eh? I mean, it doesn’t even sound conspiratorial because that makes a lot of sense. Why else would you be selling a pack specifically for the two things that would help reduce the grind and allow you to beat the game?

There’s also a trophy for dealing 100,000 damage in a single blow which is incredibly hard without the DLC pack. It’s like a variation of the pay to win tactic and usually Kemco doesn’t go with that. Their other games have had DLC packs as well but you never felt like you absolutely had to get it. If you don’t have a lot of time, this would be one game where it is very tempting to just hunker down and pay the fee. I’ve got time though and knocked it out, but it felt extremely excessive.

The graphics are solid as always though. The game has a very colorful feel to it that works really well. The monster designs are on point and I liked the level layouts. Once you are able to fly, navigating the world isn’t too bad either. The enemies don’t spawn a crazy amount either which is good. So the terrain and gameplay outside of battle are good too. The game is also good with directions for the most part. Through beating the game I was able to beat pretty much all of the EXP monsters around the globe and felt like I almost 100% beat most of the game. The Platinum looks like it would still be really difficult but at least most of the trophies are straight forward. There is naturally a lot of replay value to be found here as well so you definitely don’t have to worry about that.

Overall, I thought Monster Viator definitely could have improved in some aspects. It really should have kept in the gameplay features that made Asdivine so much fun like being able to fast forward or even skip fights against enemies that were super weak. The story also won’t grip you quite as much even if this one’s going for more of an emotional feel. That said, this game may live in Asdivine’s shadow but if you look past that and consider this game as a stand alone experience, then you will definitely be pleased. It’s still a fundamentally strong RPG.

Overall 7/10

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

Cris Tales Review

Cris Tales is an RPG I wasn’t super familiar with but happened to see the cover while I was at Gamestop. It looked cool and that was when I knew that I definitely needed to check this one out. It involves time travel which is always a win so I would definitely recommend this title. It’s a great game that has a pretty interesting plot and full voice acting which is always important.

The game starts by introducing us to Crisbell. She is a time mage who isn’t very powerful yet but serves the Mother Superior (Effectively the head priest of the church) and performs normal errands. One day a bunch of enemies storm the village and Cris only barely makes it out alive thanks to the help of a guy named Christopher. He’s a hero in training who wants to defeat the powerful spellcasters who are threatening the world. Another time mage named Willhelm shows up as well as a talking frog. Can these unsuspecting heroes actually band together to save the world or are they doomed?

The gameplay is a turn based combat style but with speed playing a big role similar to titles like Megaman X Command Mission. When it’s your turn you can attack or do another action and there are also techniques that will allow you to take extra turns. These are definitely very handy so I recommend using them whenever possible. This is probably the first game where I had a dedicated character just for status effects since usually I just power through everything. In this case powering through everything is rarely a viable strategy and will likely just end with you getting stomped.

There’s a good amount of depth to the gameplay too so get ready for a lot of strategy. Your equipment is definitely a big deal here and you can go for pure attack, defense, special abilities, or something else. Preventing the burn status is what I would lean towards since that effect deals a ton of damage in this game. It seems like it always deals a percentage of your health as opposed to a static number which is what really makes this one so dangerous. So if you get burned that’s pretty much it since you don’t want to waste a turn to heal yourself.

One of the main gimmicks in the game is time travel but surprisingly you will want to rarely use that ability. More often than not it won’t actually help you in a fight and just serves to waste a turn. For Cris just focus on healing your teammates or speeding them up. That should really be the only two things you’re using those turns for and that will go a long way towards helping you win levels. As soon as Zas joins the group then this is the perfect combo. Speed her up and Zas can crush almost any opponent with ease. Her normal attacks do massive amounts of damage and since this isn’t magic, nobody (aside from 1 boss) can block it.

For most of the game I ran a 3 man team of Cris, Christopher, and Willhelm. Once Zas came in though then my end game team was Cris, Zas, and Jkr721. You can really pick any variation of the group for your team though as they all have their own strengths. I’m absolutely a power type fighter though so I like going for the combos and just putting an end to these opponents as soon as possible. What better way than to overload them with full frontal attacks right?

The graphics are pretty solid. The art style’s fairly unique, it goes for a hand drawn look but also with an older fairy tail kind of vibe to it. There are even fully animated cutscenes at different points which is a lot of fun. It really makes this feel like more of a cinematic journey or a movie of sorts. With the voice acting throughout that just seals the deal. The length is also fairly good so this is an RPG that will last you around 20 hours or so as expected. The difficulty is manageable but you will probably need to train at a few different spots or you may find yourself falling to the bosses.

Where the game really shines is with the story. It involves time travel which is an automatic win but even beyond that I would say there is just a whole lot of depth to it. There are twists galore and you learn a whole lot about each character. The final act effectively introduces a whole villain group as well. I say “introduce” rather loosely but can’t go into much more detail than that. Needless to say, the game will keep you on the edge of your seat. It had a relatively slow beginning so I was glad to see it turn up. By the end it’s almost like a whole different game.

Cris also gets a lot of development. At the start of the game she isn’t very self confident and doesn’t know a lot about the world. By the end she is a very capable leader who makes the most of her team. The game also has two endings so you get to choose what you want to do at the end. It’s at the very end so not much about the game changes but I’m always up for giving you a choice like that. The ending is fairly resolute but I would be down with a sequel. Once time travel is involved you never really have to say goodbye to the idea of more games in the series.

Overall, Cris Tales is definitely a great game. One thing that’s always been a big positive for RPG titles is that you get to really enjoy the journey with the characters since you are with them for so long. This one is no exception and you’ll know the characters like the back of your hand by the end. For replay value you can also try to get all of the trophies as well. It seems like a very achievable Platinum as well so that’s something to think about. Whether you’re here for the story or for the gameplay you should have a good amount of fun.

Overall 8/10