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Friday, November 14, 2014

Fantasy Life 3DS Review - 8.5/10

Everyone once in a while I pick up a game and it changes what I think of to be as my worst game ever. A while ago, the newest contender for that title was on this very same system. Its strange when I can have the opposite feeling. A game I never heard of despite it being at full price and I just so happen to be lucky enough to pick it up while browsing the shelves at Best Buy.

The Good:
This game is an RPG. I love RPGs. This game has a crafting system. I'm not too fond of crafting systems, yet this gets me. First off, there are 12 classes in total. What may surprise you is that only four of these classes are for combat, which means 8 are for crafting only. You have a Paladin (sword/shield), Mercenary (greatsword), Hunter (bow) and of course the wizard (magic). What's really novel about this is the fact you never have to kill a monster... kind of. See if you just want to be a crafter, ya you can do that. Of course, some ingredients and other things only come from monsters but these things can be easily bought in one of the shops. I remember a lot of times my mom asking me, "Why are all your video games violent?" Its sort of weird to see a game that can let me play without ever having to take a life. Sure, you can become a hunter or a trader in Skyrim, but ultimately that proves fruitless considering that you will eventually need to go and kill more things and sell their stuff. Can you also make money as a fisherman? A carpenter? A cook or even a tailor in Skyrim? My point is, this game has what so many other RPGs lack: possibility. Of course I'm not going to be just this one thing, I'm going to try everything. But its nice to see that I can try to be something out of the norm. Is it on the same depth as Skyrim? Obviously not. But still, you have to admit you can't remember the last time where killing in an RPG wasn't the main mechanic. Its like Recettear if the main game was more focused on the shop, but you could also go kill monsters if you wanted to. Basically, its nice to see that the nonviolent route is a possible route.
I don't know why but I like this game's art style. Its nothing to write home about but it serves its purpose. Making it look different from other games so it stands out and has a fair amount of options so I'm not just having to choose between only a few options for a character.
Classes all feel different. Of course they have their own gear and everything, but what's really cool is mixing. Unlike most games, you can be every class at once... kind of. The game 'unlocks' certain skills. So now my Alchemist that I started out with now can mine, tailor and chop wood, while I have my choice of what weapons I want to use. I can switch out any weapon at a time by this point which is really nice. Even my favorite game, Dragon's Dogma, didn't even let me do that. On top of it, if I ever want to use a certain skill from another class I can and there's not really any penalty. Of course, each class is better at certain things because each gets a boost when you are that class, so I don't have to feel bad leveling up my intelligence to a high level while being a paladin because that skill adds to my potion making or dexterity for daggers because that also goes into tailoring. So I'm not beating myself over the fact that I chose to raise a certain skill because they all add to one skill or another.

The Meh:
The combat is... serviceable. Its nothing super amazing or even great, it just works. Its like eating a rice cracker when you're hungry. Not anything special, but it fills the place.
I'm not super loving how crafting works. Each time you want to craft something, you play a little minigame... and that's fine, its just not my thing. Its simple and distracting so its not bad and at least I can see and know I've done bad if I fail at this simplistic minigame rather than hoping that it just comes out good.
The story is... passable. I'm not that far through it but I can see when two annoying characters are going to stick around or if the story is going to make any impact. Bravely Default was sort of the same way. I kept clicking through the dialogue just to get back to the game. I really don't care what these magical stones are that fell out of the sky or who keeps talking during these white out screens, just let me get back to crafting.

Perfect? No. Great? Close. Good? Definitely. An interesting game I don't hate myself for picking up which is a good thing. Maybe not at its current price, but if you see it you should definitely give it a go. I'm pleasantly surprised and currently playing it right now. If you'll excuse me, I think I'll become a cook now, or maybe a fisherman.

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