March 18, 2012

Miracle Warriors - Ranking

Story & World

The small viewing window used while exploring the lands detracts much from the experience and it becomes easy to go from wandering into being lost.  The functionality of the terrains with their vastly different encounters is a welcome change from the norm.  The few dungeon areas are very small and require little to no mapping (perhaps only the final dungeon).  Towns are very similar to one another in terms of services available.  Only the layout of the town changes which just makes it harder to remember where the healer dude is (accounting for 98% of all town visits).

Poor grammar and bad spelling aside, NPCs still uncommonly provide useful information (sometimes it's outright false!).  Even the beneficial hints are usually related to something that the player would find out regardless.  Instead of just having NPCs located in towns and castles, more are found in the random encounters had while traveling.  These NPCs have different sayings depending on where the player is at in the game.  Bonus point for that lying scumbag NPC just because it's such a dick move.

All the quests revolve around finding some cave or monument, beating the bads (if any), and collecting the reward (equipment or companion).  The companion gathering quests were the most enjoyable though it's too bad they ended up functioning so similarly.  There's not a lot of help in game for most of the quests so any locations found while exploring have to be marked down to revisit later.  Occasionally someone might mention the general location of one of the pieces of legendary equipment but players are pretty much on their own.  The main quest is the standard foozle killing that is the staple of so many early RPGs.  7/20

Character Development

No options exist for character creation.  Stats consist of a basic Attack / Defense structure along with hit points and experience.  Interestingly, the experience and hit points of a character are displayed only in bar form; there are no numbers to be found for these stats.  The addition of companions adds little to diversity as they are all fighter types with the same basic stats.  Only differences in levels show any variation.

For non-legendary items, there are two choices for weapons (knife or sword), an armour, and a shield.  The next step up is the legendary items and it ends there.  Every character ends up with armaments statistically identical to each other (the pictures are different though).  A paltry selection gets this category a paltry score.  4/20

Combat & Monsters

Combat is limited to back and forth melee attacks.  Some tactical options begin to creep in as companions get added to the party but mostly results in just spreading around the damage taken.  Magic comes in the form of a few usable items but is limited to mostly straight damage attacks.  The real benefit of magic is that it doesn't count as a turn so all damage from items can be applied with no risk.

Almost all the creatures encountered are unique in both name and appearance.  The monster designs are very creative although in battle they all operate pretty much the same way.  A few creatures have special attacks that damage all party members or puts some to sleep for a few rounds.  The guardian and end boss fights were the toughest in the game and required the player to use all magic items available in order to succeed.  There is an option to talk with any foe but it's pretty obvious in which encounters it can be used successfully.  9/20

Graphics & Sound

Nothing too special in the graphics department.  A lot of monsters have a mix n' match look to them that, while unique, makes them appear silly instead of terrifying.  The music itself was quite standard but the sound quality was very good.  10/20

Gameplay

One of the strongest economic structures so far encountered in a RPG.  Money stays tight throughout the game, sometimes even running too low to pay for basic healing.  The game keeps the costs up during the middle of the game (when more $ is flowing in) by making the player repurchase all the magic items used in the guardian boss fights.  In the late game, cash flow is reduced (unless specifically grinding for it) since the toughness of monsters makes it necessary to flee most creatures.  The secondary fang monetary system is a nice addition.  The only downside is that there is not a lot of variety in the items available to be purchased.

The menus are laid out well and fast to navigate.  The only issue with the controls is the slow pickup time when attempting to move the party from rest.

Fairly nonlinear world requiring lots of backtracking to unlock previously locked caverns and whatnot.  A high amount of exploring is required as many critical locations have no clues to their whereabouts.  High degree of difficulty especially in the boss battles but the regular random encounters have their share of uber beasts as well.  Progression was pretty smooth throughout the game; the only grinding done was in short chunks getting funds to replenish items after major battles.  Game length was a bit short which could have been partially remedied by making the dungeons a bit bigger / more complex.  16/20

Final Ranking:  46/100