Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blog: Rhapsody!

I've been playing the DS version of this again:

I bought it for my DS ages ago, but I only really play my DS when I'm travelling and I hadn't been doing much of that until recently. Now that I've relocated to Bangor for work, I find myself getting the train back to Manchester quite often, giving me ample time to play with my portable consoles!

The first thing I'd point out I'm really annoyed that they changed the battle-system for the DS remake, because the tactical battle-system was the main reason I liked the PS original. Fortunately, the turn-based battle system they replaced it with isn't completely terrible, though I have to admit that if it was an amateur game then I'd have gotten a little frustrated with how easy the battles are initially. I probably only stuck with it since I'd paid for it and since I have good memories of playing the original, and fortunately they do get more entertaining as the game goes on. I guess it's just that the pacing is a little too slow for someone whose played a lot of JRPG games over the years!
I couldn't find a decent screenshot of the English version T_T Anyway, the turn-based battle system is pretty intuitve, I just wish they'd stuck with the tactical battle-system used in the original!

What hasn't changed from the original is the storyline, which remains really funny, heart-warming and deeply entertaining, at least if you can bare the overly cute cutscenes :3 The characters are really vibrant and very easy to identify with, which is obviously a good thing, and this is most obvious in the early scenes involving Cornet and the Prince. I'm sure that anyone who ever had a crush as a youngster will immediately associate with how both of these characters deal with these early exchanges, and especially with the internal dialogue that both characters express, because I highly doubt that it was just me who was so paralysingly shy/awkward around crushes as a kid.

What I'm also really glad about is that, even on a vanilla DS screen (which isn't exactly the best screen in the world), the graphics remain really vivid. It does sometimes feel like they are trying to squeeze a little too much out of the small sprite-size they're forced to use on the DS, but it's never so bad that it becomes detrimental to the rest of the experience. The music is also really amazing, which you'd expect from a game that has "musical" in the title, although some of the sound effects during battles leave a little to be desired. I'd really recommend using earphones if you want to get the best out of the music, since the songs can sometimes sound a little tinny on the native DS speakers (although that might just be because my DS is getting very old!)

The graphics are really bright, vibrant, and ultra-cute. They really fit the mood that the game tries to generate.

Overall, I really recommend this game to anyone whose into JRPGs. Just make sure you don't give up on it too quickly, because it really does get better as it goes on!

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