|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nippon Ichi Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept 23, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
Atlus has always shown a lot of love to the DS, bringing games such as Trauma Center, Luminous Arc, Etrian Odyssey, and many others to the dual screen. Their latest collaboration with developer Nippon Ichi Software brings us a port of a very niche, musical RPG from the original PlayStation. Rhapsody is part Sound of Music, part young girl falls in love with the handsome prince fairytale, and a fest of traditional RPG trappings.
The original Rhapsody released over eight years ago, and with no real update to the story, its definitely a throwback to past RPGs. That said, the story is as endearing as it ever was, and the dialogue is sure to give players a good chuckle from time to time. You play as a young girl named Cornet, and shell be accompanied throughout her adventure by a flying, talking-angel doll named Kururu. Cornet and every other girl in the kingdom are on a quest to win the heart of a young prince, but when hes turned to stone and kidnapped, its up to Cornet and friends to save her one true love. The story progresses like Alice in Wonderland, and though its often senseless and over the top, its a tale that can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages.
In many ways, Rhapsody comes off as a made-for-young-girls-RPG romp with loads of sugary sweet music and sentiment. However, upon closer inspection, its hard to overlook the games silver tongue, as it lampoons itself and games like it. The characters are witty and comical, and when you consider some of the risqué dialogue, as well as the fact that one of the characters wears a g-string, its a wonder the game garnered an E-rating.
But, its all in good fun, and appreciating the characters and dialogue is really where the value of Rhapsody lies. The gameplay is solid but its pretty breezy, and weve seen all its RPG conventions before. Battles are turn-based, and youre given the option of attacking, casting magic, or using items during each melee round. Additionally, you can set battles to auto, allowing your characters to do the fighting for you, and though the A.I. will only command your characters to attack, its a nice feature when you just want to zip through battles.
Its the typical, four-member-battle-party set-up, though youll have various characters to choose from, which you can switch in and out of your combat party at any time. Enemies vary from toads and jellies, to flames and skeletons. Cornet uses a cornet (horn) to attack, though she can also cast special spells such as Flan, Cake, and Pancake. Yup, theyre all food attacks. When you cast Flan, a giant, gelatinous dessert comes flopping down upon your enemies to cause massive damage. The game offers no explanation as to why youre fighting with food, or why youre even fighting at all in many cases, but the nature of the story really requires no explanation, and its easy to just kick back and enjoy this wacky RPG ride as is.
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the gameplay, however, is its pacing. Though its a completely linear experience, its patched together to produce a great little journey, without requiring the player to engage in the same repetitive activities. That is until about the games midway point. Youre eventually tasked with finding five elemental orbs, and gathering each one consists of five repetitive dungeon crawls (plus backtracking). But there are a lot of ultra-cute moments reminiscent of the Three Little Pigs or other such childrens tales, and its these elements of the game that really make the journey well worth while.