Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dragon Fantasy Book I is Pretty Neat

With the whole late PS Store Update snafu, it's pretty easy to sort of write off the whole thing with a dismissive hand-wave until next week, but this week offers two very compelling reasons -not- to do that:  Dragon Fantasy Book I and the Soul Sacrifice demo.  Obviously, tonight is for talking about the former (and not just because it was the only one I could download, coming in at a very nice 90 MB) because I purchased it literally right when it was available and managed to play a little bit of it before the toll of today's work forced me to partake in a little napping.  Which I must stress was entirely due to work and not at all indicative of Dragon Fantasy's quality as nothing short of extreme and lasting pain would have kept me awake this afternoon.

Dragon Fantasy Book I is very much a game that reminds me of Dragon Warrior and I'm sure that is intended.  It is also delightful for me especially as, like I mentioned sometime previously, I spent a good chunk of my childhood time with my NES playing Dragon Warrior when I wasn't playing Crystalis.  The actual style and build of the games are similar in more than a few ways, from the window placement to the battle screen that just comes up offering a perspective on the enemy (perhaps multiple enemies later on?, maybe not, I don't think Dragon Warrior did), to the overall look and feel of it.  It's very much an homage, which is nice, and offers that little bit of nostalgia on top of doing its own thing, putting its own spin on the same type of mechanics and style.

Though I already mentioned it in a previous post about Dragon Fantasy, I really should bring up the whole graphics overhaul thing now that I have actually experienced it.  Contrary to what I thought, the 'Classic' graphics and music are tied together where the Redone things are similarly bundled, but that's not a bad thing by any means.  The way you handle it is going into the settings (Setup?) and finding the "Enhanced Mode" toggle.  It's instantaneous, the switch, without requiring a reboot of the game or anything like that.  So, if you were so inclined, you could just stop anywhere and toggle it just to see what it looked like and what it looks like now, which gives you a real understanding of the work that went into it.  But there really isn't anyway to quantify what the change is without actually showing it off, so I'll go ahead and do that.



That is literally the same area, same screen and everything since all I did was go into the menu, toggle it, take a screenshot, toggle it back and screenshot it again.  The only difference, of course, being that I waited long enough for the Status reminder window to pop up for the Enhanced version screenshot, but it's a little enough thing and the shots manage to show off everything well enough, I would say.  Some of the changes are subtle like Ogden (our main character for the first Chapter) and the town/village sprite, but they're definitely changed up and smoothed out to fit in with everything else that is most definitely a bit more dramatically different.  I'm playing it through on the Enhanced mode for now, only switching every now and then, but I might actually do a go in Original mode, depending on how long or short the game is and how much time that I have what with Soul Sacrifice hitting next week and the demo being out.  (Which I can hopefully download overnight)

I will say that I also called a definite integration of humor into the game based on the trailer that we got, however.  As you might be able to tell from the first screenshot I posted, the script has a definite level of snark and humor running through it that has been pretty refreshing and enjoyable so far.  They even managed to incorporate a Legend of Zelda reference (Literally the "It's dangerous to go alone!  Take this!") rather seamlessly into part of the opening bit of the first chapter.  On top of that, some of the monsters have a little humor injected into their own battles, such as whenever you fight a Mr. or Mrs. Rock Monster.  Their attack animations read in a way that suggests an interplay between the two, obviously, and is quite entertaining really.  Mrs. Rock Monster is played as the angry, nagging wife to Mr. Rock Monster who is either really unlucky, or is just really not happy in his relationship.  It's a little thing, but it's....honestly not something I've seen before, really, so it's worth a mention.

My time with Dragon Fantasy Book I has been brief, but I'm sure you can tell it's already left something of an impression on me, and I'm only more than happy to hop back into it.  It'll be a little rough juggling this and the Soul Sacrifice demo (and Disgaea 3 now that I've opened that door again because Dinah must become level 9999) but it'll be a worthy venture.  I'm curious to see how the multiple chapter/multiple character aspect of it plays out as well, since that's a throwback to another series of RPGs altogether.  If only there was more time in a day.

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