Sunday, June 23, 2013

Capcom takes me back to the arcade, with D&D: Chronicles of Mystara

It is great to be back from E3, mainly so I can get caught up on sleep and the other reason is because I can go back to playing Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. I started to play this classic game on the Playstation Network the week before the show and have to had to wait a week before getting a chance to play it again. Chronicles of Mystara includes not one but two old arcade updates, Tower of Doom from 1993 and Shadow over Mystara from 1996. Two decades later and now we have the same coop arcade gameplay but now online with updated graphics. Let’s see how the years have been to this classic.
For starters, the gameplay is a blast much like the original, playing like Golden Axe, but with deep RPG elements and the ability to choose your story path from start to finish. The controls are smooth and held up surprisingly well, albeit slightly clunky at times when in an online multiplayer match, but still being easy to lose yourself to a couple hours of gameplay. There is also massive amounts of replay value with numerous character classes and unique skills based on your play style. However, in those couple hours of gameplay, much like playing in the arcade when your parents left you with a roll of quarters, you will play with a lot of different people and it is difficult to find party members thatplay for longer than a couple minutes. Also, I must clarify that most of the enjoyment came from Shadow of Mystara as it held up the best, looked a lot better than Tower of Doom, and have more people to share the experience online. Tower of Doom did not feel like the years have treated her well as the looks are not improved by the HD update and the gameplay is slower, but it did set the groundwork for a great sequel.
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara is a great package for retro gamers, D&D, and online platformer fans alike. Those that focus on graphics will be pretty let down as it was made to look and feel like the original with a fresh coat of paint, just not with the same coat that other Capcom HD reboots have received. That said, being a fan of just about all of Capcom’s arcade title’s this provides a huge sense of nostalgia and does a superb job on providing the experience that most of us had the privilege of experiencing, the neighborhood arcade. Chronicles of Mystara is one of those games that make you think how far ahead of their time a lot of classics were, that or gaming has just evolved visually.