|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Square Enix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
January 02, 2009 - Although the Chocobo has been a fixture in the Final Fantasy series ever since its inception, it has also taken on a life of its own through several Final Fantasy spin-off titles that have been focused on the ultra-cute chicken-like creature. The Chocobo sub-series of games got off to a rocky start on the original PlayStation with the original Chocobos Dungeon and Chocobos Racers.
However, games based upon this little yellow bird have been steadily increasing in quality, much to the delight of Chocobo fans everywhere. Last years Chocobos Dungeon for the Wii was arguably the best Chocobo-inspired title to date, and now it is getting ported over to the DS. However, even if you have already experienced the game on the Wii, the DS version is going to be packed with new features and just may warrant a trip back in!
The story in Final Fantasy Fables: Cid and Chocobo's Dungeon is basically the same as the Wii version. Cid and Chocobo are magically transported to a city where all the residents have been progressively forgetting more about themselves. Cid and Chocobo arrive to find several citizens unaware of who or where they are, and it looks like some sort of evil magic is afoot.
Although the core plot elements are the same in this title, the game will have added scenes that focus on Cids personal adventures while visiting this town. While Cid was non-playable in the Wii version, players finally will be able to experience Cids adventures in the DS version (including a memorable battle that was non-playable in the Wii version), which will definitely add an exciting new dimension to the story.
In addition to the beefed-up story and new playable character, Final Fantasy Fables: Cid and Chocobo's Dungeon will also have an enhanced card tournament mode. The original Wii version of the game had a nice online-enabled card battle mode, but it felt a little bit sparse. Because it was only accessible in Mogs Arcade and was not part of the core gameplay, it was noticeably thin and did not feature the same depth as other Chocobo titles that have used the card-battle system.
However, in the new DS version, the card system has been enhanced and, at least in the Japanese version, is compatible with Chocobos Tales 2, which uses the card system as the primary battle mechanic. The card system will most likely again be confined to an auxiliary arcade format, but it is nice that the card system is getting more attention in this release.
As for the actual dungeon crawling aspect, much of it looks to remain the same for Final Fantasy Fables: Cid and Chocobo's Dungeon. You will be able to battle in specialty dungeons located all around the central town hub and will use a grid-based battle system reminiscent of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Shiren the Wanderer series. Your Chocobo will be able to use different leveled attacks using a job system that allows you to access different ability rosters depending on your chosen class and corresponding level. The battle system does a good job of blending Final Fantasy-style tactics with traditional dungeon crawling conventions, and is definitely one of the best features of the original game.
All of the big dungeons from the Wii version will be present in the DS version and will have the same randomly-generated format as well. However, there will be new classes available in this title, and some of the different class-based attack structures have been modified for the truncated format. For example, the Scholar class will have more attack-based abilities at lower levels that it did in the Wii version.
Chocobos Dungeon on the Wii was a great game for both Chocobo enthusiasts as well as dungeon crawling fans. Although the new DS port is not a direct sequel, it includes plenty of new content for those who have already played through the original. And if you happened to miss the first title altogether, Final Fantasy Fables: Cid and Chocobo's Dungeon looks like it will be the best version of the game to date. Although no firm release date has been announced for the US, the game has already released in Japan, so many are hoping for a mid-2009 release. I, for one, cant wait to get my hands on this one, and I am definitely excited to share another adventure with Cid and Chocobo!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor