Sadly this game isn’t much of a looker, with graphics that are circa 2000, this game looks like a late generation PS1/first generation PS2 title. The locales are very bland, save for a few that look very impressive on the PSP screen. The characters models are probably the best looking things in the game, monsters and NPCs have a good amount of detail to them, but the overall look of the game is very plain. Music is fairly basic as well, but I like it a lot better than the music of the last game I checked out; Valkyrie Profile. The other major thing about a good RPG, a story is also severely lacking. The characters all seem very shallow, and have little definition to them; they feel as though they are just along for the ride. The main antagonist the Dread Knight also just feels far too plain, and doesn’t instill much fear or hatred I could normally have for a great enemy. When story segments occur they go by very quickly and only serve to give you a weak reason to move from point A to point B.
One of the interesting little additions to this game is the use of a network mode. You and three others can team up in an ad-hoc game and play together. The online game takes place in special instance dungeons that yield items that can be brought back to the normal game. Weapons that normally break also don’t lose durability here, and treasure is determined by the party member you choose to use. In Network mode you can have a party of whomever you like, even multiple characters. The only downside to this is finding four people locally to play this game with. If this had an infrastructure mode I think it would have flown much better.
Blade Dancer wound up being a big disappointment to me, mainly because it’s a bunch of little things that make the experience more difficult than it really needed to be. Map icons would have been a massive leap towards fixing what has to be my biggest issue with the game. The story also hurts this game when it should have been its greatest strength. The battle system is enjoyable, and the crafting system is fun, even if a bit overwhelming at first. It’s not much to keep this game running on and you’ll be hard pressed to see this one through to the end. But if you’ve got an itch for an RPG that needs a scratching or if you really cannot find a better way to spend your time and money, then this may be right up your alley.
More On:Blade Dancer
NIS tried hard with this new game built specifically for the PSP, but design flaws and a weak story hold back what could have been a good game.
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