Brave Story: New Traveler Jun 6, 2011 20:40:45 GMT -5
Post by Bytor on Jun 6, 2011 20:40:45 GMT -5
This definitely, and yes I know I say this a lot but this time I REALLY mean it, lol, deserves two separate scores. The character renditions are for the most part really, really well done (only small complaints are changes in weapons/armor/etc do not really change the way the characters appear, except for Tatsuya's sword that is, and the facial expressions are rather vacant so the emotions being conveyed don't really come across well nor match the mood and circumstances of what is actually happening in the story. The enemies are also extremely well done, and actually they are by far the high point of the game visually speaking. I simply never got tired of viewing the enemies and their various attacks/defenses, this was simply awesome rendering! Now for the bad part. The cities/villages are done decently, nothing big but nothing big to complain about either. The background environments are, however, not done so nicely. To say they are bland and nondescript is somewhat of a huge understatement. They are bland and generic in every sense of the word to be honest. Now, having said that I understand they don't really need to be that awe inspiring as they are absolutely not important in a traditional turn based battle, but, it would have at least been more aesthetically pleasing if the backgrounds looked at least decent, this aspect is somewhat disappointing in any otherwise really nice looking game.
I am actually a tad disappointed by the lack of a more sweeping and inspiring soundtrack. While it's nothing really bad, although like many other soundtracks it is somewhat generic and awfully repetitious, and I mean seriously repetitious. You will find the theme stuck in your head for hours after playing the game, and I don't mean that in a good way. Now don't mistake me, it's not that it's really that bad, it's simply really not that good. And while some music can be subtle and still help define a game this music is simply there, not good or bad, just there.
The game plays as a typical turn based RPG with a few nice little twists. Each ally has a set amount of HP per normal and they have what is called BP which stands for Brave Points. These correspond to what you would think of as skill/magic points and they are used to utilize your Bravura skills. These skills are learned as your character progresses through experience gained. One thing I liked was that these points regenerated based on how effective the attack was, so running out of BP's was seldom an issue in battles except in some of the boss battles where the healer would typically start to run low as the battle progressed (I also liked the POW's KABAMs and CLUNKS as attacks landed, lol). One unique twist on this system was Unity (combo) attacks, which were learned attacks based on how much experience different allies had in battle together, a very neat little system. Everyone gained experience whether used in battle or not (you can use yourself and two allies) but allies landing blows gained more experience. Items are purchased in towns but honestly you will really seldom need to buy anything and money is actually rewarded as bounties from killing enemies as well as being found in chests, and I ended the game with a veritable fortune. Exploration takes place on a world map and with random battles and once areas are entered they may then be explored and different areas discovered (dungeon crawling can get a tad tedious to be honest BUT the vast majority of these areas are not overly difficult to traverse). Plenty of side quests to do for NPC's will keep you occupied and although the battles can be somewhat repetitious I enjoyed the enemies and system so much that very rarely did I get tired of the sudden attacks. Overall relatively simple, and yet enjoyable game mechanics provide for some fun battles and (small) puzzle explorations.
You play as Tatsuya, a young man who, while playing his PSP, lol, sees his girlfriend stricken with a mysterious illness. A voice informs him he must enter the "mythical/magical" world of Vision in order to fulfill various tasks in order to cure her. While in Vision he befriends/is befriended by a colorful group of characters representing the various races of Vision. The story is nothing remarkable although it's solid enough. The issue I have with the story is more of a character development issue. More specifically it's more of a lack of character development. You simply don't develop much of a rapport with any of your allies. For instance it is blatantly obvious that their is, at least on her part, a "love interest" in Yuno's feelings towards Tatsuya, but it is really never fleshed out even to the point that you find yourself really even caring. Likewise for the other allies feelings, you simply never see or feel their emotions enough to develop any kind of rapport, and thus the story suffers as the game simply feels more like a quest game where it's more important to get from point A to point B than a truly in depth RPG. It's really a shame, as I felt the characters were individual and unique enough that if more effort had been put into their development it could have been a really enjoyable ensemble cast, unfortunately only Ropple really has much of a personality, and he cannot carry the story on his own.
I call this a "fluff" RPG. It's fun, not too terribly hard and certainly doesn't tell a socio-political story with underlying religious undertones. What it is is a fun romp that while it won't necessarily make you think will keep you occupied and having fun without causing you tons of stress or make you want to break the PSP. It has some good elements such as solid gameplay and some really good graphics but it also has, I wouldn't say definitive weaknesses as much as I'd say simply too much mediocrity in the story and sound, but that;s not always a bad thing. Overall a very enjoyable game, just not a great game.