|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Genki||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 18, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
You are able to have up to five Spectrobes equipped at a time, but you can only pull them out one at a time. When a Spectrobe is summoned, it will attack enemies all by itself. However, as a Spectrobe master you can direct their attacks toward a certain enemy or to engage a Spectrobe's special attack. Although it might be tempting to just let Spectrobes go off on an enemy all by themselves, knocking down enemies strategically will lead to more efficient battles and, more importantly, less of a need for preparatory grinding before a boss fight.
The battle system in Spectrobes: Origins also employs a fairly simplistic elemental system, which encourages you to keep different types of Spectrobes equipped while in certain areas. For instance, if you are on a water-based planet, you'll want to keep several fire-based Spectrobes on hand so that you will have an advantage over the natives.
Although the combat in Spectrobes is not all that complex, I found myself having a lot of fun with it. Instead of hard grinding or doing impossible quests for rare items, Spectrobes: Origins keeps the gameplay simple but avoids being stupid. As a hardcore gamer, I definitely found this game to be fun, even though it wasn't particularly challenging.
One aspect of Spectrobes that I was particularly impressed with was the control. I already mentioned the finer aspects of the control in the excavation mode, but the controls in battle are also put to good use. The game uses the Wii-Mote and Nunchuk combination, and there is a nice balance between motion and button-based control. This is best exemplified by the battle system. You can move around the battle field with the thumbstick on the Nunchuk, and you can slash your equipped weapon with the A button.
Although all of your character's actions are button-based, the motion controls come into play when you are using your Spectrobe. The game uses an automatic targeting system, and if you want your Spectrobe to attack an enemy that has already been highlighted, all you have to do is flick your Wii-mote forward. You can also auto-target an enemy by using the C button on the Nunchuk. If you want to use a special attack, you can engage it with the B button, and then perform a series of motion-sensitive gestures to charge it up. Although there are a lot of motion control aspects to the battle system, everything works very well. I never once struggled with a waggle or became frustrated with a flick, which definitely made the experience very pleasant indeed.
The visuals in Spectobes: Origins are also very good. The pre-rendered cinema scenes are of particularly good quality, and I was impressed by the smooth texture and level of detail in the game's many cutscenes. However, the visuals do take several hits when you are playing the game, and there was considerably less detail in the in-game environments than in the cutscene environments. Another visual issue in Spectrobes: Origins is occasional camera issues. Although the game's camera is fully mobile during regular battles and while exploring, it has a tendency to become fixed during boss battles, which can be very annoying.
Spectrobes: Origins is a very impressive game. Though it is not punishing in difficulty or complex in story, the gameplay is fun, and collecting all of the game's Spectrobes makes for some decent replay value. This game is an easy recommendation for new RPG gamers, or RPG fans who don't take themselves too seriously.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor