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Archive for the ‘Nintendo Wii’ Category

FRAGILE DREAMS: FAREWELL RUINS OF THE MOON

Developer: Namco and tri-Crescendo

Release: March 2010

Genre: RPG

Format: Nintendo Wii

Did you ever play the surreal and wonderful Eternal Sonata: a game set inside the final thoughts of famous Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, who died of tuberculosis at the age of 39? It sounds bizarre, but according to videogame developer tri-Crescendo, Chopin dreamed up a world where Japanese anime chicks were solving musical puzzles and taking part in turn-based combat. As surreal as it is, the developer made a bold debut, and you should expect nothing less with their next RPG.

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon may seem highly unoriginal from the start; it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world with the human race on the brink of extinction and ruined civilisations being all that’s left. However, despite this conventional setting, Fragile Dreams moves away from conformity and predictability almost instantly. You play as Seto, a fifteen-year-old boy, who has lived in an observatory with an old man for most of his life. After his guardian passes away at the end of the summer, Seto grows very lonely and begins wandering the wastelands, searching for human companionship. It’s a very innocuous and romantic plot, and quite typical of Japanese stories. Within the first ten minutes of the game, Seto encounters a silver haired girl called Ren. Despite only having a brief encounter with her, Seto becomes a bit creepily – yet understandably – obsessed with finding her. That’s your sole objective: find the girl. There’s no high-pressured goal to save humanity here, just find the girl…and uncover this mysterious world’s secrets along the way. But be careful, the ghost and demons of tortured souls haunt the world and are out to hurt Seto. Though not strictly a survival horror, some of the enemies are genuinely scary; walking blindly through an ‘abandoned subway station’ and suddenly being jumped by a pack of ghostly dogs is not what you’d expect from a game like this.

Seto meets and host of characters along the way, some who will aid him in his quest, and others that will downright annoy you to the extreme, or both in some cases. For example, Crow is one of the game’s most interesting characters, yet chasing him down in order to obtain a required item will really try your patience. This mischievous little sod leads Seto around a fairground, and considering Seto’s top running speed – we’re talking snail pace here – it grows dull pretty quickly. A second, more tolerable, character is Personal Frame – PF to “her” friends – a backpack computer that aids Seto on his first steps. Giving advice about survival and defence, PF quickly becomes a valuable character, but her batteries run out way too soon. She can tell you when enemies are near and the probabilities of finding items when you put the Wii Mote to your ear.

The game’s merchant, an odd fellow who wears a gigantic chicken head, pops up at the game’s numerous save points, offering various goods that can help Seto in his quest. The world is scattered with mysterious objects, all of which can be found with Seto’s metal detector and torch. If found in the dark, these items can only be uncovered at campfires, the game’s save points, and they usually tell a sad tale of a former life. The controls are simplistic and not very revolutionary. The Wii Mote controls Seto’s torch; simply point in the direction you want to shine the light. The analog moves him in the direction you’re pointing, and the A button is interact/attack. Being simple to use and understand means that this game can be picked up by anyone who want a breather from Western videogames.

Where this game really shines is in its presentation. Not only does it feature some tremendous scenery, a gorgeous example being after Seto emerges from the subway to see the breaking of dawn; the vibrant reds mixed with the starlit night is breathtaking to say the least, but the game is a absolute treat for the ears as well. All of the voices have been affected to sound softer and more rhythmic, resonating the despair and loneliness each character feels, the music is melancholic and sentimental, and the sound effects sound rich and strong in the empty world they belong in.Fragile Dreams is far from perfect. Despite having easy controls, the camera is an absolute nightmare to direct; a standard analog controller would have sufficed. The real-time combat system is unimaginative, standard melee attack is the only type available, though the bigger the weapon the stronger the attack. The mini-quests you have to take part in to advance are quite tedious and similar, taking a lot of the fun out of the game.

If tri-Crescendo were to iron out these few kinks they would have a thoroughly enjoyable game. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is definitely one of the most evocative games on the Nintendo Wii, but we won’t go as far to say it’s a dream come true.

7/10


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