|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Studio Archcraft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Graffiti Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
For the most part, battles are uneventful and time consuming, and it doesnt help that they make up the bulk of the experience. To the games credit, everything from the combat, to the exploration is quite competent. Theres nothing broken about Black Sigil, and though the story can feel a bit trite at times, it moves in a sensible fashion thats admirable. The main issue we have with the game is simply that weve done it all before years and years ago.
As with any other RPG, youll level up your characters, acquire new weapons and armor, and learn new spells. New personalities will take their cue to enter the stage, and if you can muster the wherewithal to trudge through the games plodding pace, youll often be rewarded with interesting story developments. Black Sigil doesnt really tread any new ground in that respect either, though, and there probably isnt anything compelling enough about its prose to keep players rapt til the end.
As a game that got its start as a GBA title, Black Sigil looks reminiscent of SNES games of the distant past. Youll occasionally catch glimpses of 3D textures while roaming the overworld, but the rest of the game is set in a 2D world with sprites that look conspicuously out of place as they animate on DS. That said, folks who had no problem with the recent rebirth of Chrono Trigger should equally appreciate the visuals of Black Sigil. Theres plenty of environmental variety, and the 2D artwork during cutscenes is really quite beautiful.
Like almost every other element of this game, Black Sigils music and sound effects are something of a relic from the past. Themes arent quite as crusty as the games of the 16-bit era, but they definitely are generic in the extreme. Sound effects are often fitting, though battles come off as underwhelming due in large part to a general lack of umph when attacking and casting spells.
For all the time Black Sigil spent in development, its disappointing to see such a ho-hum experience unveiled. Make no mistake its not broken. The combat works, for the most part, and theres a story worth experiencing, if you dont mind unearthing it out from under a seemingly endless stream of random battles. However, the game just feels so out of date and out of touch with, not only the trends of todays RPGs, but also the general entertainment values weve become accustomed to seeing on DS. With so much variety to choose from now on the system, Black Sigils yesteryear approach is a hard sell.
CCC Freelance Writer