One problem is that these quests seem a little too vague; rarely giving you all of the information you might need to complete that adventure. It would have been nice to have some sort of marker telling you where to go or the general area you can find the item, enemy, or whatever you're looking for. I ended up spending hours walking around aimlessly because I simply had no clue where I was going or what I was doing, it was easier to just find another mission and hope I got lucky and completed something.
Another problem is the map. You get a small map of your immediate location in the top right of the screen, but it's not nearly as helpful as you would like. It really does nothing more than tell you what is right next to you, giving you very little useful information. There is a larger map, but that involves you pushing the "select" button and manually switching to it. While this map is certainly better, it's not especially useful because you often don't know where you're going. Most of the time you just go where you think you haven't been and hope to find an item you're looking for.
It's during this aimless wondering that I started to hate the game's combat system. Like most games in the genre, you select the type of weapon you want and equip it. The problem here is that the swords never feel that effective and they are entirely too slow for this type of game. There's a full second pause between when you push the attack button and the sword actually swings, long enough for an enemy to attack you or, worse yet, move out of the way. Once you got your swing going you can follow it up with a couple more quick swipes, but none of this works like it should.
The good news is that you will be traveling to all kinds of different worlds, each with their own challenges and enemies. Usually this would be a good thing, but Neopets doesn't even try to be different. We get the fire level, we get the ice level, we get a desert level, and yes, we even get water level. We've been here before, in way too many better games to name. I wouldn't have a problem with the clichés if the action in each of these areas wasn't so dull.
When you see a name like Neopets you probably expect it to be easy, but this game is far from a pushover. There are plenty of enemies that you just won't be able to fight until you are much stronger and are making better weapons, heck, some enemies should probably be avoided all together. Every time I died I looked at the box to see if I was missing something, the graphics, characters and sound all say that this is geared towards the younger set, yet the difficulty certainly said otherwise. Perhaps I'm underestimating the newest generation of gamers, but when it takes only a few hits from certain enemies to kill you I had to wonder if it was just me having a rough time.
Thankfully you can level up your pet, but it's not from killing enemies in dungeons. Instead of collecting experience points you collect Neopoints, the game's currency, and trade them at the battledome. It's in the battledome where you pay to battle for an upgrade token (win the token and you can apply it to whatever you want). If that sounds overly complicated it's because it is, most of these battles are pretty easy and require you to use the same tactics you've used to get the Neopoints in the first place. Doing it this way also ends up feeling pretty tedious, because you'll end up paying into the same battle entirely too many times. This is a unique way of leveling up your characters stats, but part of me felt that it was a bit pointless to have to do it this way. Part of me yearned for the simpler experience points system that has worked so well in so many other role-playing games.
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