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If you're looking for a deep and involving role-playing game (RPG) for the PSP then look no further. It has a great battle system, a complex crafting system and plenty of looting too.
Plot: Blade Dancer is set in the world of Lunadia, a place that was home to a fierce battle in the past between the evil demon lord and the guardian of light.
Fast forward to the present day and you play a young warrior called Lance who is closely entwined with the past. It's your job to find out why while meeting other party members along the way.
The plot summary may sound vague because in truth, it's like that when playing. It lacks depth as you're only told the basics and is overall quite childish. I'm not sure what the developers were thinking when they though the plot up as rather then feeling like a continuous story, it feels more like different members of the team coming up with ideas but yet not being able to find a way to fit them all together so just stuck them in and hoped for the best.
I know a story isn't everything in a game but for a RPG I usually find it one of the more important points. It does look like they've tried to make one but failed to hire a decent writer.
Graphics: The graphics are pretty good. Not the best I've seen the PSP produce but better then most. The game is like one large corridor with different exits but with the scenery they put around you when playing does a fairly decent job of helping you to forget.
Sound: The sound, hmm the sound. Well it's typical of a Japanese game. Annoying voices and random shouting does begin to grate after a while.
Gameplay: The battle system is done in real time with a clock ticking round after every move. When it reaches the top again you're allowed to cast another spell or attack which is done by selecting different spells from a menu. A fairly simple idea but I thought it was great. Considering you had to time your spells against the enemies attacks made it quite tactical at times and meaning all the difference from them being killed or you.
As far as crafting goes, you have to either buy ingredients or get certain ingredients from enemy drops. You then have to combine different ingredients to create anything from potions to weapons.
Different characters are better at crafting different items so if you want a better crafting rate, it's usually best to get the right person for the job. Take Lance for example, he's aligned with the fire element which is the element used to make swords so if you need one making, pick him.
Not only does the character matter, but different moons can affect your crafting too. There are different moons in the world of Lunadia (you can see where the name comes from now) and each can affect your craft rate as well as the option of giving you the chance to create something really rare.
There's always the chance of failing with each craft making you lose one of your ingredients. This can be easily resolved by saving before each craft but it does get pretty annoying when you have to keep restarting the game as an important rare ingredient is involved in the creation.
Lifespan: Blade Dancer took me just over 35 hours which included pretty much all the side quests and a lot of gear crafting.
Overall: I only gave Blade Dancer 3 stars due to the annoying story and the amount of running around involved in the game. It suits open world RPGs but when you have to go through loading scene after loading scene when running through the areas, it does begin to get quite annoying. If the battle system hadn't of been so much fun then it may have even got a 2.
If you're a big fan of Japanese RPGs (JRPGs) then you're probably going to still enjoy this but if not then there's nothing here that's going to make you change your mind.
Blade Dancer is a fantasy RPG featuring anime-style characters, animated movie sequences, full 3D visuals and network play. The game places you in the role of Shane, who as part of his training heads off to a island. There, he meets a strange girl, Ferris, who he must help in the midst of great troubles.