I just started this DS game called Avalon Code; it’s about the end of the world and the boy who has to go around recording everything so it can be ported to the next world. This includes people, plants and other relevant items. I normally shy away from action RPGs, but this one had Yoshifumi Hashimoto’s prints all over it, and being the huge Harvest Moon/Rune Factory fan I am, I decided to give it a try.
…About 5 hours in so far, I’m bored as hell. First off, the premise that the world’s going to be destroyed anyway is a great one. So great, in fact, that this should’ve been a story-based RPG. Start with the story, stick with the story, focus on the story, develop the story, why, when, how, who. I’m sure the game will get around to all that eventually, but so far all I’ve done is run around a few fields, record a few people and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT random monsters ad nauseam. They’re wasting a perfectly good story.
Secondly, and probably a bigger problem for me, is that working with Codes is too fiddly and fussy. Your job is to record people’s, animals’ and plants’ codes in your little book. Think of a ‘code’ like DNA, only you can readily manipulate it. But flipping through the book is hell. For example, let’s say you want to modify a particular spider’s DNA. You have to go through the content page -> monsters -> type of monster -> particular page before you can find the spider (or hunt it down and re-scan it). If you want to put another code on it, you have to flip through the book to find a person/monster with the code you want, strip it from them, go back to the spider and rearrange its code to fit the new one in there. It takes forever and completely destroys the rhythm of the game.
Thirdly, I already complained about too much fighting, but even that would be okay if the fights were interesting. Instead it’s all slash-slash-slash-slash, charge up big move and use, or use the so-called Judgment Link to whack the monster into the air for points — rinse, repeat. And it gets worse because the enemies on a particular map respawn repeatedly, forcing you to fight at least 3 or 4 waves of pesky monsters that only need 5 or 6 lucky hits to take you out for good.
I’m not enjoying this. I’m not enjoying this at all. I’m giving it another 3 or 4 hours to pick up or I move on.