Friday, April 14, 2006

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana mini-review


If you are a fan of RPG games like Final Fantasy or Disgaea: Hour of Darkness then you should consider this. Hell it is already proving a much better game than the last RPG game I played: the good but enjoyableness Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Like Nippon Ichi's own Disgaea (Atelier Iris is published by Nippon Ichi and Koei in Europe, but is actually developed by Japanese outfit Gust - this is their first game released outside Japan), Eternal Mana is hilariously funny. Which is a nice change of pace compared to other serious RPG games like Final Fantasy X.

Characters are made of typical RPG clich├ęd anime style and the plot not providing much substance but at least it provided me with much laughter. The graphics is a throwback to sprite based games from the SNES era but in higher resolution. Exploration for example occurs on a 3D isometric plane similar to Dragon Quest VII and Tactics where as during combat the camera zooms in slightly over a pseudo 3D landscape. Three characters can participate in a battle at any one time, certainly a much reduced number compared to say the six in Final Fantasy VI (III in US). Items can be synthesized in the shops to forge new gears.

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is a good game, hampered only by the lack of engrossing storyline. It isn't a game for anybody as the amount of hours put in will demand serious investment, but if you are an old school RPG fan with a penchant for unusual character design, this first available Gust game outside of Japan should be considered over the usual affair of standard RPG outings by mainstream developers like Square Enix or Atlus.

7/10

Buy now from Play-Asia or Amazon UK

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