Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ragnarok DS | Review

Synopsis: The folks over at XSEED wanted to make sure I was nice and busy over the weekend; luckily the title they sent us to review was Ragnarok DS, so I was able to take it with me. Ragnarok DS is based on the MMO title Ragnarok Online and boasts the same gameplay and customization to those who need their fix on the go. You take on the role of Ales, who is looking to make name for himself as an adventurer and eventually starting his own guild. On this path, you encounter dungeons, monsters, heroines in distress, and other party members who help your young adventurer on his unpredictable path. Ragnarok DS introduces a Flexible Character Development System, which allows the player to earn both status and skill points with each level increase to customize character attributes along with skills acquired through the numerous job classes. Weapons and armor are fully customizable and upgradeable by a blacksmith and or effect cards acquired from fallen enemies. Wireless multiplayer is also available via DS Wireless Play or Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, allowing you to team up with two other players to take on the 50 floors of the Tower of Mirages.

Praise: Ragnarok has all the features that you would see in what seems to be a saturated RPG genre for the Nintendo DS. So what sets it apart? Well, there are a number of things through the ten plus hours put in so far, that made me feel that this game was less about constant grinding but more about making your character the baddest in the land. First off, the characters have a lot of personality and aren’t the generic NPC’s seen in similar titles and you are able to adjust their passive actions as needed throughout gameplay. Leveling and grinding is not too tedious as leveling up happens at a good steady rate, without having to grind for hours just to go up a level. Various job classes allow you to make your own unique character, focusing on the skills that suit your play style without the difficulty of trying to figure out new skills and compatible equipment. As far as story goes, it is not the best I have encountered but is solid enough to proceed through and see the ultimate fate of your party. While the story is pretty linear, there are a number of side quests to take on should you want to help those in need and level up without the tedious grinding, this also provides you with effect cards to customize weapons which you WILL spend quite a bit of time doing trying to optimize your party’s full potential.

Gripes: Like most RPG titles or any other game for that matter, there are things that take away from the gameplay and this is no exception. The opening dialogue/tutorial for Ragnarok DS is long and slow, taking about an hour to completely get through, but once you get past the first hour, your patience will be rewarded with all the RPG goodness you originally purchased this title for. The actions are controlled strictly by the stylus, with slashing, circling, and taping enemies to attack and unleash spells. Some may prefer this type of gameplay, but it would start to get uncomfortable holding the DS after extended amounts of play time. Lastly, trying to find where I needed to go to complete missions, and trying to go off of the descriptions, such as head west, really wasn’t helpful, but I would eventually find my destination.

Overall, Ragnarok DS is a deep action RPG which does provide a lot of missions, side missions, and character customization to any fan of the genre. I have not played Ragnarok Online for the PC, so unfortunately I cannot compare it to the original, but after playing this version of Ragnarok, it is easy to see how it has over three million users in the United States alone.

Mashbuttons.com gives Ragnarok DS 7.5 out of 10.

Ragnarok DS is available now for the Nintendo DS.

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