|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hitmaker||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: NIS||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Only 10 mana can be saved and brought into battle at one time. If the enemy is particularly strong, that can be precious little to kill them off. In fact, this restriction can get you and your party killed. Even if you manage to escape a battle, the monsters can hunt you down later. Although you can see how powerful the monsters are when you first encounter them, you can't tell what they are so you won't know what abilities to use. It's virtually impossible to avoid battles, and you can't take them by surprise, even though they have no trouble doing that to you.
You can replenish your mana in battle, but that leads to a lot of blocking and general avoidance which drags the battles out far too long. A mana boost attribute will allow two characters to increase their energy points from 50 to 300 with a special attack. As long as the other characters keep the energy meter high, you'll be able to survive. But you shouldn't have to be forced to using one main strategy for all the difficult battles. There should not be a limit on the mana so that we can just go in and kick some butt, especially if we've earned it. That would speed things up and make it a more interesting game.
In the Field category of skills, you'll appreciate the ability to speed things up by being able to run across the map. I can't even imagine how boring this game would be without this feature. The only map is the one in your party menu, and it's about as generic as can be. All of the menus look drab and generic. Even the game graphics don't have much in the way of excitement. The colors are subdued, and the monsters and environments take on the appearance of origami (folded paper) - except that origami actually has the appearance of three dimensions. You'll encounter the same monsters in different skins, sometimes nothing more than just a different shade of green. The anime-inspired characters don't look terrible, but they could be from any RPG released in the past decade. Elves, magicians, dwarfs, spirits, dragons, and the typical scantily clad chick with a personality disorder are all on tap. The voiceacting is weak, but I wouldn't expect anything more. Musically the game holds up better. There is a variety of themes from single instruments to fully orchestrated themes. But I don't buy an RPG for the soundtrack. And neither should you.
They say the show's not over until the fat lady sings, but Dragoneer's Aria should be the first song in the plump gal's repertoire. It's over before it begins.
CCC Senior Writer