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Capsule DS game reviews

July 2, 2007


Last week I finished 3 DS games almost within days of each other (I’ve obviously been putting off finishing a lot of games), and I thought I’d share my thoughts on them real quick like.

Advance Wars:Dual Strike

I have a fondness for strategy games, and certainly enjoyed playing (while not finishing) the first two Advance Wars games on the GBA.  Dual Strike comes off as a rather half baked sequel, with the graphics almost directly ported over from teh GBA version and looking slightly janky when viewed from an angle.  That said, everything that made the first two games good is back, with a few new concepts like that tag team action introduced to make things a little more interesting.

The story runs the typical young boy saves the world from the forces of evil schtick, but there are enough plot twists (I thought I was on the last stage twice before finally reaching what turned out to be the last boss battle) to make things interesting and while the dialogie’s not brilliant it’s amusing in its own way.  I give Advance Wars 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Final Fantasy III

This game set the tone for remakes, and it was nice to see Square Enix finally get off their collective asses and actually “remake” a game instead of repackaging an old game and inserting some CG sequences to take advantage of the faboys’ final fantasy lust.  The graphics look amazing, and are what you’d expect from a company with a history of stretching the graphical limits of a console/handheld.

This is still a really old game however, despite the new coat of paint.  The job system is a little out of whack (there seems no point to some jobs) and for the most part what your character’s current job is at any moment is dictated by what armor is available to you during that part of the quest.  Later in the game there also seems no point in using magic because character attacks, especially when they use dual weapons, are even stronger.  The story’s also rather generic, but just enough to keep you going on to the next cave or town or castle.  Final Fantasy III gets 3 stars out of 5, and I can’t wait for FF IV, since that was the game that got me hooked to RPGs in the first place.

Puzzle Quest DS

The game which has probably earned me the most derision in Intendo, Puzzle Quest mixes two genres that you never thought would work out: Puzzle games and RPGs.  I really loved this game.  It was casual enough in the Puzzle Quest sense that I could pick it up and get my fifteen minute gaming fix, but the RPG elements like creating items and finishing side quests extend that 15 minutes to thirty or even an hour or more as I get obsessed with having “just one more battle”.

The graphics could have used a bit more polish though, as well as the sound which became kind of annoying after a few hours playing the game.  It’s also a bit annoying that no matter what city you go to they have exactly the same items for sale, and more powerful items don’t appear the further you get in the game.  THe “building an empire” compoment of a game also seems ill placed, as there isn’t much of a point in laying siege to a city other than having a homebase closer to where you are specifically on the map.  Still, any RPG fan looking for a more casual fix should give Puzzle Quest, which gets 4 out of 5 stars.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2007 8:30 am

    Nice short reviews. I’m almost finished with Puzzle Quest myself. My primary complaint is also how annoying the music is, and also that by the late game, every character gets into a certain pattern of spells and somewhat repetitive. But I still love it. I also love the final fantasy games, and have been wanting to pick up III for a while. Maybe soon.

  2. July 3, 2007 9:21 am

    I got FF III when it went on sale for $20 at Target a few months ago… I loved the new graphics too, but it didn’t hold my attention for too long. Not like Etrian Odyssey, with its tough-as-nails and more focused RPG gameplay.

    Puzzle Quest looks like a game I would enjoy, but I really want to finish EO before I jump into any other handheld RPG.

  3. July 3, 2007 9:40 pm

    Korey i know what you mean. I totally had a list of repetitive spells which could kill an opponent in a few turns if i had the right amount of mana. It made games a little less exciting but it sure helped me get through the game rather quickly after the initial hump.

    I-man wait for FFIV. I’m almost positive it’ll hold your attention more than III did with its blah storyline.

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