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When you find a game with the brand Final Fantasy slapped to it you kind of have a slight expectation of it to be decent, but does Square-Enix deliver? The short answer? No. In the case with the Wii exclusive downloadable Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, the only relevance this game has to the Crystal Chronicle's story is that it is set in the same universe.
You are the king of your kingdom, a young boy who has been charged to rebuild his kingdom to fight this dark evil entity by reviving your kingdoms crystal. In doing so you build houses, taverns, mage schools and the like to strengthen your kingdom as well as give places for residents to live. With these residents you can now recruit young warriors to work for you and go on quests for you. Being different to the Final Fantasy norm where you normally do all the questing, you yourself never leave the comfort of your kingdoms walls.
What you do as a king is very simple, and repetitive. You wake up each morning, run around your kingdom talking to as many residents as you can. Also you have the freedom to issue out quests to your adventurer's that you hire. You can train them in jobs to which you have the buildings for, such as warrior, thief, mage, white mage, etc. You can issue quests such as exploring caves and areas outside of your kingdoms walls. There are a few various quests you can issue such as basic exploration, training, killing bosses and finding specific items.
While your adventurers make their way, they fight monsters which depending on their equipment and stats is how easy they'll defeat them. By doing so they gain crystal shards which is this games form of currency to allow you to construct more buildings and upgrade them. Your adventurers will also level up the more monsters they encounter on their quests, along with gain payment as they are rather like hired mercenaries.
Now this may sound rather interesting, and yes it is. But this is literally it. The initial novelty may let you get through so many in game days, but after a while you'll realize there is absolutely nothing else to this game except for this bland repetitive mess. Your kingdom doesn't even start to feel busy as residents are few in number and walk rather aimlessly, as well as predictable each new day. You have to rush and do all of your actions before the sun sets too before your female subordinate forces you to sleep and start a new day.
The game itself doesn't cost that much, only 1,000 Wii points (around £7.50) but you really don't get much for your money, and with it just repeating itself on and on like a broken record you will get bored fast. There is a ton of downloadable content you can get for the game, that is overpriced and useless to the core game itself, only allowing you to throw your money away for superficial things.
All in all, if you are expecting any standard of quality that comes with the Final Fantasy branding, you won't find it here. With it's bare content, repetitive nature and not even feeling like your kingdom is expanding at all, let alone it being a living and bustling kingdom, it just comes out weak. With a decent concept, Square-Enix really could of spent more time fleshing out of the simple instead of just giving you the basics.
Have you ever just wanted to roll a massive ball that can flatten and suck up everything in your path until you become big enough to suck up the entire universe? Me neither but this very intriguing game from Namco-Bandai brings just that in this wacky Japanese game. The basic premise of the game is that you are the little green Prince and want to appease the King of all Cosmo's by appealing to the requests of citizens and rolling up certain types of objects each level. These can range from expensive things, candy and low calorie foods.
The game itself is you rolling around a Katamari which is a ball that can suck up any object that is smaller then it to make itself bigger - which in turn allow you to suck up bigger objects. You push the Katamari around to pick up objects you find around the level, like to start off with you're in a bedroom sucking up all kinds of different objects. Each thing you suck up will grow your ball in size, allowing you to suck up bigger objects and access new areas.
The goals of the main levels are to get to a specific size within a set time limit. However for those that really want to get into it more importantly you are to avoid certain objects and only pick up what the citizen has requested. At the end of each level you offer it to the King who then eats it and shoots it out of his stomach with a score. The higher the score the better, which is dictated by how high the ratio of the request type of object you sucked up. In doing this you'll get more candy, which allows you to buy fashionable items to pimp out the King, along with unlocking new forms to play levels.
There are also challenge levels, where you have to do specifically what it says. Such as one is to pick up as many items you can with a calorie limit. So you have to choose carefully which items you want to suck up, based on their calorie intake and their size. It is rather fun to add a bit of strategy to the normal game but no-where near as satisfying as just sucking up everything in your path so you can get so big you can suck up entire cities by just rolling over it! The Playstation Vita doesn't just go traditional controls which you use the analog sticks awkwardly to move your Katamari around. It also has Touch screen functions, where you touch the screen to move your Katamari around, or the rear touch pad to flatten your Katamari or make it vertical so you can access different areas easier. This is very poorly integrated however as your fingers then block the screen so you can't see where you are going very well or what you are picking up. So it is very much best to stick with your traditional twin analog stick controls.
The graphics look very nice, it looks like you're in a comic book world, with many vibrant colours filling your screen as you slowly suck it all up into one massive Katamari. The soundtrack is filled with Japanese pop songs which may not be to some tastes but if very suiting to the game. There is one major problem to the game however, which is a killer at it's current price. The game is very lacking in content. There is only a handful of levels, handful of challenges and nothing really else to do once you have completed it within a few hours. It's good to come back and play your favourite level now and then but it gets boring very fast after that. You're better getting off one of the older Katamari games with much more content and the exact same gameplay.
Overall it is a fun wacky Japanese game that you'll never experience in any other series, but it is ruined by hardly any content to play through. There are some free DLC challenges you can get off of the Playstation Network, but it really doesn't add much at all. Only get if you are a massive fan of the series, but even there I'd think twice about it.
Have you ever wanted to hack and slice up hundreds of generic soldiers with the tap of a few buttons while you were waiting for the train? Tecmo-KOEI have answered your prayers with their first instalment of the Legendary repetitive hack n slash series Dynasty Warriors on the Playstation Vita. With it's usual offering of many characters to decimate hundreds upon thousands of peons as stylish and easy as possible. Now to some, that could sound like a massive turn off. Sure it does come off as very repetitive and very much button mashing from start to finish, and yes that'd be true. But that is by far not a bad thing.
For those of you who are unaware of the Dynasty Warriors series, it is your hack n slash fighting game set in Ancient China during the Three Kingdoms period. You select from dozens of playable characters to destroy everything you see on the battlefield by a multitude of Square and Triangle button combinations. The story itself is portrayed with still images, chat windows that are all voiced and narration of the progression of history. The game tries hard to stay true to the Three Kingdoms novel, but being a game it has many fictional plot holes also to spice up the fun factor. That is pretty much the series in a nutshell.
Dynasty Warriors NEXT tries to stir the pot by adding more strategic elements to the gameplay. To begin with in the Campaign, you will get the main story of the game where you'll branch through episodes depicting various historical events and their characters involvement. You will then be thrown into a strategy screen, where you see a map of China, different coloured areas showing you which force owns what areas. You get to choose stratagems which are pretty much cards that allow special abilities to occur within battles such as attack increase, speed increase, etc. There are also non battle cards that may increase your gold count which will allow you to pay for more stratagems. Once you have done this, you will then have a choice of territories to invade, most cases you won't have much freedom which ones as it is very linear to the story. You choose where to invade then you go to battle, which allows you on the pre-menu to choose a version of your weapon - which they all have different stats - equip items, and such. You can also find information related to the battle on this menu also, but most of it is needless as the objective is always the same.
Now you finally get to enter battle, where you can unleash your characters skill and might upon the unfortunate peons that swarm the landscape. Your goal most of the time is to either capture the enemy main camp, or take out the leader of the opposition. You can do this by just storming straight to the enemy main camp, or you can work your way there by taking various bases scattered around the battlefield which will strengthen your forces as well as weaken the enemies. You'll find bases such as Supply Camps which decrease the amount of peons you have to kill to capture other bases, or dispatch bases that allow you to bring in reinforcements.
Within battles you will also come across features specifically made for the Playstation Vita and it's special controls such as the touch screen and rear touch pad. These are known as sudden encounters, which could be from a dual with an enemy officer, where you have to swipe the screen in specific ways to defeat your foe, or tapping madly on your screen to defeating a few charging enemies. These are fun to start off with but they get dull and very repetitive quickly, and it is also unfortunate that you can't turn off these encounters all together. Then pretty much rinse and repeat. If none of this sounds appealing to you then you really shouldn't bother with Dynasty Warriors series at all
For those that are, you'll find this a good way to just pick up and play with yourself, or others over ad-hoc in small bouts for some mindless action. The graphics are slick and clean, the frame-rate stays strong throughout too, even when there are 100's of soldiers on the screen at once. The soundtrack is mainly cheesy guitar which will get boring rather fast. It is strangely satisfying when you're bored, tired or stressed to just mindless chop through tons of enemies. There is an almost limitless replay value as you can play Conquest Mode, which offers very much the same game as Campaign mode, but you have complete freedom of who to invade, build up territory levels to take down your enemy and overall just have random fun each time you play.
All in all, the game is very repetitive, but it's that repetitiveness and mindlessness that is great to relieve stress after a hard days work or hard day at school. Can be played in both long and short sessions too. It may not be for everyone as it can get dull fast as it is very basic in the form of gameplay, and just mashing the same few buttons can get tiresome quick, but if you can get past that there is a very solid game with tons and tons of game to enjoy.