I’ve realized after finishing this game that I don’t think it’s anything fantastic, nor does it do anything different or amazing from JRPGs from its time. The two things it does well, combat and pace, kept me going back to the game and propelled me to finish it. Regardless of my opinions on the following categories, I loved my time with this game.
As far as I know, I completed all the side-quests in the game which for me qualifies as completing the entirety of a game. No, I didn’t have all of the weapons or armor nor did I level all characters. I did see the entire story content, whether main plot or otherwise, in its completion.
TL,DR at the bottom.
Time to complete: 48 Hours.
Honestly, the story is fairly bland and unexciting. I would even say its a bit convoluted and doesn’t resolve itself in any meaningful way. The resolution at the end is unsatisfactory and left me wanting. People just disappear and then come back for no reason and I was often left wondering why.
The translation is pretty bad as well. Sometimes letters were missing and sometimes one of the characters didn’t even say what he was supposed to. I’m not sure if Albert understands the difference between a flower or a blossom. How did that get through? I’ve also never heard of a “Vally” before. The game clearly means to say “Valley” but it was only correct a few times.
Besides the tropes of the game, I enjoy the story for its simplicity. The main character is an orphan who goes on an adventure to save the world, it’s nothing new. I appreciate the characters more than the story itself.
Although I dislike Albert, his story and his reasons for joining the party are intriguing. Which I can say for most characters in the game. Besides Miranda, who didn’t really do anything. She just kind of got swept up in the story and the other people. She didn’t have much personality, whereas the rest of the cast differed and provided some interesting moments.
Story generic, characters fun.
The combat is fairly standard turn-based JRPG affair, except for the rhythm or quick time with normal attacks. I want to say the attacks are rhythm because each attack with each character has a different feel and requires some sort of attention. You could probably face roll the controller and beat the game eventually, but the powering up of abilities leads to more fun.
And then you can become a freaking dragon/human hybrid. Who doesn’t love dragons? Which is essentially magic from other games with some physical damage thrown in. The combat is one of my favorite things from this game and made it enjoyable to play. It forced me to pay attention and appreciate each character differently than if I just mashed the X button continuously, which I tend to do with turn-based JRPGs.
I think the minor change in the combat from the norm made me feel more involved in the game and didn’t allow me to stray away from the moment to moment action of the game. I tend to check out with games and watch Netflix while games play themselves, which isn’t possible here.
The game looks bad. It came out in 1999 and looks like it. Some of the in-game cinematics are really awesome and a pleasure to watch. But, for the most part, the pixelated 3D graphics were a bit of an eye-sore.
Enemies weren’t really memorable, even if they varied from place to place. I do appreciate the variety of bosses and how they looked. The characters all look different except for each one of them had a palette to match their dragoon form. So mostly I think of each character as a color. Dart equals red, which is the majority of his character model. It’s the same for each of the playable characters.
I’m not sure what else needs to be said besides it looks like a game that came out in 1999 when 3D graphics were the new hotness.
While I think the overall storytelling created some great worldbuilding, for the most part the world is the worst part of this game. You travel from place to place across a flat map and then have some small areas with odd 3D backgrounds that the game normally functions within.
I think each location had a different feel and looked varied, but the overall world map was atrocious.
I don’t have strong opinions about the sound. The combat sound feedback is great to have and the music changes with locations in the game. The music in the movies felt tuned with the mood of the game and instance which did help with the great atmosphere.
The combat timing feedback made it more difficult for me to focus on the timing and I often found myself missing the timing if I was listening and watching. I had to turn off the sound in order to complete a lot of the additions for the different characters, which could just be a me problem.
However, for the most part, I had the sound off and had something else going on in the background while I leveled the different additions.
I adore this game, even if it doesn’t sound like it. I can look past much of the issues and appreciate the pace of the story and the combat. Those two things kept me hooked for my entire 48-hour playthrough.