|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: tri-Crescendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Xseed||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 19, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
January 12, 2009 - What do you get when you mix the eerie adventure style of the Silent Hill series with the storytelling sensibilities of your average JRPG? Fragile: a unique role-playing adventure for Wii, developed by tri-Crescendo (Eternal Sonata). As the game nears its Japanese release later this month, we take a closer look at one of the most promising new IPs to grace the system.
Though inevitable comparisons to Silent Hill have been made - due in large part both to the game's surreal settings and seamless-exploration approach - Fragile: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (the game's full title), we're told, is still very much an RPG in nature. Details, such as leveling up characters, stats and party arrangement, are still under wraps, but Fragile is not a survival-horror game.
Players will assume the role of main character Seto, a young boy in search of survivors in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of sorts. He eventually teams up with another lonely soul, Ren - a young girl with a talent for graffiti art. You'll follow these and other characters on a journey to discover what has happened to the human race and the world they once called home.
There are quite a few aspects of Fragile that, upon first sight, make it a compelling game on Wii. Let's start with the game's look and setting. Rather than throw players into a realm of cutesy monsters and random encounters, the world of Fragile is a lonely and desolate place. The environments are startlingly bleak one moment and vibrant and hopeful the next. Though no Fallout 3, Ruins of the Moon feels like a barren world, yet it echoes the hustle and bustle of the life that once inhabited it.
Underneath its austere exterior, however, the world of Fragile is alive with ghosts and other entities. The player will have to ward off these beings while exploring the game's shattered landscapes to unearth the mysteries therein.
We're still uncertain as to whether the player will solely control Seto, whilst other characters act as non-controllable A.I. to assist during combat and such (or if the game's other characters accompany Seto at all during gameplay). However, controlling Seto is handled using both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. You'll move the character with the Nunchuk's analog stick and attack with the A button on the Wii Remote.
Seto will carry a number of handy items with him, including a flashlight and metal detector, both controlled with real-time movement of the Wii Remote. Most of Seto's implements of offense are melee items, such as a crowbar and small axe. However, he'll also acquire a bow, and many of the items he'll come across will be used not only in combat, but also to solve puzzles within environments. The metal detector sounds like an especially cool feature, as it seems a very fitting task for the Wii-mote's motion capabilities.
Perhaps the other, most-compelling aspect of Fragile is its raw beauty. Though there is still so much to learn about the game's story and play, from what we've seen of the game so far, it's an obvious showpiece for Wii. The characters and environments exhibit an impressive level of detail for this system, and the game's setting greatly stands out from the glut of party games that have invaded Wii. Character models seem to have a cel-shaded style, yet the landscapes show off some seriously creepy and decayed architecture. It's a world you'll really want to explore, both because of its mysterious destruction and blossoming beauty; Fragile comes across as simultaneously serene and disturbing.
We were excited when Bandai-Namco first revealed Fragile back in November of 2007, and we're just as hyped for the game now as it nears its release overseas. Still no definite word on a U.S. version, though we remain hopeful.
Over two years in on the Wii's lifecycle and there still aren't many great RPGs to choose from on the system. Fragile isn't just a looker, it's a game that really seems to bring something new to the table - a definite departure from the typical JRPGs we're used to seeing. So, we'll definitely be keeping a close eye on the game (and fingers crossed), and keep you informed as any new developments arise.
CCC Freelance Writer