I'll be perfectly frank with you—I did not expect to like this game.
Grinding for experience, going broke buying equipment that only increases a character's strength by two points, drawing a map by hand through floor after floor of twisting labyrinth, and being crushed by random encounters in the first round of battle are not things that I generally look for in my RPGs. In fact, I would generally say that these are all characteristics of outdated game design best left in the 16-bit era and forgotten.
Game Description: Journey to a floating castle in this dungeon RPG Sequel. In the Grand Duchy of High Lagaard, it is said that the Duke is descended from inhabitants of a castle in the sky. When an unforeseen crisis befalls the nation, it is decreed that the first explorer to retrieve the Grail of Kings from that mythical floating palace will be rewarded with wealth and fame beyond imagining. Enter the central city of Lagaard and begin your journey to the clouds! Etrian Odyssey II boasts an all-star development team, led by director Shigeo Komori. Composer Yuzo Koshiro returns as well, in addition to character designer Yuji Himukai and monster designer Shin Nagasawa, who both worked on the original Etrian Odyssey.
I’ve always thought that George Lucas’s archeology professor turned whip-smackin’ adventurer would be an excellent videogame hero. Unfortunately, most makers of movie-based games that I’ve played assume that I want to “relive” the movie in the most literal way. Running from one cut-scene to another—all of which I’ve seen already in the theater—doesn’t appeal to me, especially when all I’m doing is hacking monsters up and pushing boxes. What I want is to play Indiana Jones the man, not Indiana Jones the franchise. Thankfully, Lego Indiana Jones The Original Adventures lets me do just that.
Game Description: LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures takes the fun and creative construction of LEGO and combines it with the wits, daring and non-stop action from the original cinematic adventures that enthralled audiences everywhere (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). With a unique tongue-in-cheek take on the original adventures, LEGO Indiana Jones follows Dr. Jones escapades through the jungles of South America to the mountaintops of India. Fans can build, battle and brawl their way through their favorite cinematic moments, from Indy’s entanglements with snakes to his dashing boulder run.
Heroes of Mana feels like Dawn of Mana, take two. It's gorgeous and somewhat interesting, but undermined by basic flaws in its ability to let players see what's going on. Here's hoping there's no take three in the works.
Game Description: Developed exclusively for the Nintendo DS, Heroes of MANA breathes new life into the World of MANA by taking it into an entirely new dimension. For the first time in the history of the series, stylus-wielding generals must plan, plot and strategize their way to victory on the battlefield. Utilizing the Touch Screen to the fullest, you take full control of the battle as you gather resources, assemble armies and experience an all-new perspective on the ever-evolving battle for the world of MANA.
Dual Sympathy, Dark Shadow, Deadly Secret, Dual Strike, Deadly Silence, Double Shot, Dawn of Sorrow. What do all these titles have in common? They're all the result of the unbearably twee habit in the publishing industry of giving Nintendo DS games titles that can be acronymed down to DS. The worst naming offense doesn't involve acrostics, however.
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