Many people bought the Nintendo 64 just to play this game.
It was highly rated by some magazines... achieving scores of
98%, 100%, 5 stars, 11 out of 10 (yes, it achieved this, it's
not a typing mistake). But is the game really good?
It is known to many that the game's magazines aren't good at
reviewing RPGs. A game of this kind needs several weeks to be
fully tested and these magazines play it only for a week (at
most). I've played the game for longer than that and this is
why I disagree from their opinions. OK, the game is good... but
it's not perfect.
The graphics are its best part, no doubt about that. Highly
detailed and smoothly animated, they show what the N64 can do.
There's just some clashes between the characters and the surrounding
area... mainly because sometimes the background isn't made out of
polygons. But that's not really important... Moving on, we have
the controls. They're a bit tricky and sometimes the game is
hard to play. The camera following the character doesn't help
much, because sometimes shows us angles that are just terrible
to play. But, with a lot of practice, one can master the game.
The sounds and musics are reasonable. They're not much repetitive,
even if their quality isn't high. This is the usual N64's problem.
By using cartridges, the games usually lose advantage over the
sound quality hold by the CDs.
And now, on to what counts the most in a RPG : the playablity.
The puzzles can sometimes be too easy to solve, although some of
them are totally diabolical! But this can be caused by the fact that
I've played this as a "double game". I've been playing it with another
person and we solve the puzzles together. We have been playing it without
many problems... when one of us is stuck, the other usually solves
the puzzle. What I like most on the puzzles is that sometimes we
have to use a non-linear (and somewhat ilogical) way of thinking.
Probably if you're playing it alone, you'll face some problems...
but if you do it like I'm doing, you'll not only have a more easy
challenge, but it'll also increase the fun of playing. As for the
map... well, it's big. I've seen bigger ones, but this also has
a lot to visit. The reduced number of cities is disappointing...
I've seen RPGs from inferior systems showing better results in
this department... it probably is the weak spot of this game.
The story could be better, but it's interesting. Sometimes it's
predicitible and childish, but it can absorb the player on some
ocasions. The animated sequences have a superb quality, although
they aren't FMV... they use the game's graphical engine. Either
way, the result is amazing (and it gives a good idea of what N64
is capable of). And the detail of the character's growth is quite
interesting. You'll have to master new weapons because the old ones
don't fit anymore. It's also interesting to see how the flow of
time affects the world.
Concluding, this game could have been better... but it's damn good!
Its action packed style, together with the huge amount of puzzles
to solve, will atract lots of players. And the superb graphics
will do the rest. This is a game that will not only be a good choice
for those who already play RPGs but also for those who are now
entering this world.