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  • 14Mar

    Guest Review: Nostalgia

    Nostalgia is a JRPG that hearkens back to the good ol’ days of yore when graphics and game play were of a simpler design. Nostalgia will appeal to a niche group of gamers who miss their Sega Dreamcasts and who still futilely argue that merits of a console that we can’t seem to recognize as dead and move on. This isn’t to say a gamer whose never indulged in the above can’t enjoy this game but it’s best you know what you’re getting yourself into.

    Rating: E
    Genre: RPG
    Players: 1
    Publisher: Ignition Studios
    Release Date: October 23, 2009

    RENT

    Nostalgia is a JRPG that hearkens back to the good ol’ days of yore when graphics and game play were of a simpler design. Nostalgia will appeal to a niche group of gamers who miss their Sega Dreamcasts and who still futilely argue that merits of a console that we can’t seem to recognize as dead and move on. This isn’t to say a gamer whose never indulged in the above can’t enjoy this game but it’s best you know what you’re getting yourself into.

    Nostalgia is set in an alternate world where at the end of the 19th century, airships were the primary mode of travel. We are first introduced to the legendary explorer Gilbert Brown, who while in the process of rescuing a young woman, mysteriously disappears himself after crossing paths with a sinister organization. Eddie Brown, his son, takes up the mantle of Explorer, left by his father and searches to find him. Eddie was taught the way of the sword and his chosen weapon is the blade. Along the way, in his travels, he meets three others that will eventually join his party. Pad, a cynical orphan, his chosen weapon is a gun. Melody, a stubborn, selfish wizard whose chosen weapon is a club. Fiona, the young woman who his father rescued and uses a mysterious power that creates miracles.

    Melody and Fiona are the primary female characters in this game and as such they have very flat two dimensional characters (in all fairness all the characters do) but they represent two polar opposites on the female spectrum. Melody is rather arrogant and brash, she has no problem speaking for herself and does, to the annoyance of her male companions. Fiona is the healer and is portrayed as both helpless and selfless. She seems to be incapable of actually doing anything for herself, rarely speaks for herself and readily accepts the kindness of strangers but at opportune moments she’s also capable of throwing herself or her magic in front of those very strangers to save them from harm.

    If your looking for solid character development and a meaty story, Nostalgia falls vastly short of the mark. Your characters bond instantly to each other and the story is more of an excuse for Eddie to get out of the house and start adventuring. It’s very bare bones and it’s obvious storyline and plot were not the reasons for creating this game.

    Graphics are rendered quite nicely in polygonal 3D and game play is really straightforward and easy to learn using your control pad and buttons only. The action takes place on the top screen and the bottom screen of your DS is where your maps are located. You are able to toggle back and forth from the map location you are currently in, to the much larger World Map, which shows in what part of the world your located. The main story line takes Eddie and his party members to various parts of the world in the search for his father. After landing and exploring the city, he’s usually directed by the townspeople to where the dungeon is located. Upon arriving at the dungeon, Eddie will fight his way to the top and will either encounter a boss to be defeated or a pseudo-boss who he’s not meant to beat (yet) and receives more information that advances the storyline.

    The dungeon itself is simple, there is on average about 6 floors, one of which usually involves a puzzle to be solved, traps to be avoided or both to figure out how to advance to the next level. The battle engine is turn based. The save point is usually situated before you get to the boss level. What’s nice is that by the time Eddie and Co. fight through the dungeons they have leveled up enough so that grinding is unnecessary. However, if grinding is your thing, you’re welcome to engage since all of the locations that you visit can be revisited at any time. Along with way, in various shops all over the world, you’re able to upgrade your weapons, armor, accessories, and abilities in addition to customizing your airship.

    Speaking of airships, in addition to doing battle in a traditional dungeon setting, you also battle while travelling in your airship. Any time you launch in your airship, you risk the possibility of an encounter and unfortunately the encounter rate is quite high. At the beginning of the game, your ship will only be able to travel in low altitude and the enemies that you face during this time is of a comparable level. Which brings me to my biggest gripe about this game; later on you are able to travel at higher altitudes and some of those encounters are with enemies that have levels much greater than your own and it’s completely random. The types of customizations that are offered for your airship don’t do much at all to make up for this disparity and so consequently, you’ll die. Frustration abounds. When you die, a GAME OVER screen emerges and you have to begin from your last save point. My advice is to make it a habit of saving your game and to save often and to keep in mind that saves while in dungeons aren’t available except at designated save points.

    In addition to the main storyline there are also Quests and trips to find World Treasure. Quests are a part of the duties that you have acquired as a member of the Adventurers Association. Completion of said quests nets you money and allows you to advance your rank within the organization. At first, you will only have one quest available to you, later on when you’ve advanced in rank, you will have more choices. You can only accept a quest that corresponds to your rank. World Treasure trips are conducted entirely from your airship when Evans (a museum curator) gives you clues to find a particular ruin on the map. After finding it, upon reporting back, you’re given a reward.

    Recording every detail of your game play is your trusty Adventurers Notebook. The Notebook records your Quests, World Treasure, Character, Monster and Item data, Maps and your Personal Diary. What’s nice about the notebook is that it records numerically, which means that as you progress through the game, you can tell by looking at your percentages what stage of the game you’re in and if your anywhere close to completion. Monster data is also very useful since it will tell you what their HP is and what their elemental weakness is. The Maps of the dungeons will also let you know if you’ve managed to explore it in its entirety by giving you a percentage. The Notebook is arranged as such, if you’re an OCD completionist (like me) you simply must have a 100% rate for all of your dungeons. With everything your required to do this game could very easily reach the 30 hour mark, especially since after you beat the game, you also unlock additional dungeons.

    Nostalgia is a throwback to the old RPG’s. There’s nothing particularly original about this game, no voices, no animation, no fancy combos during battle. It’s just a happy trip down memory lane that Ignition Studios has happily allowed us to indulge.

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3 comments
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Canas
Canas

I played and beat this game. It was alright, a generic JRPG. I still want to do the post-game stuff though.

Yukino
Yukino

The Dreamcast is not dead! It's coming back and bringing Shenmue 3 with it!! =)

In my dreams.

GamingAngel
GamingAngel

I agree with you that it's basically a look back at an older rpg. It's fun, but abit difficult to get through because the story moves so slow.

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