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Nostalgia Review

See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 11/21/2009 at 04:11 PM by Chessa DiMola

Monotonous battling brings down this title filled with gorgeous locales and interesting characters.

Fans of old school RPGs will be quite satisfied with this title, while those who have grown to expect more than grinding may be disappointed.

During the era of 8-bit games, RPGs were a revolution, offering a unique and lengthy gameplay experience that mixed combat, exploration, and strategy. Things not offered in typical titles of the time that required no more than hand-eye coordination to achieve victory. As time has progressed, RPGs have strayed away from the simpler, classic formula, adding new elements to the gameplay and breaking the mold for the genre altogether. However the recently released title Nostalgia lives up to its name, providing an old-school play experience with a number of the amenities that come with modern games.

Players control Eddie, a young boy growing up in England whose father, a famous explorer, has been exploring the mystery of a lost civilization. One day his father’s air ship returns home, without his father on board. Eddie receives the news he has gone missing, and in a moment of desperation Eddie vows to embark on a quest in order to find his father and bring him safely home.

At the start of the game, players will undoubtedly notice a connection between Nostalgia and Indiana Jones. The epic introduction featuring a man in a leather hat (Eddie’s father), rescuing a damsel in distress (Feona) only to nearly escape and sacrifice himself for her welfare, was all too reminiscent of one of my favorite movie series of all time. Players will continue to notice this connection throughout the rest of the game. There is overdramatic dialogue, epic battles, and a distinct and unforgettable setting.

Aside from the Hollywood-esque feel, players will undoubtedly be awe struck by the overall presentation. The locations are, to say the least, simply beautiful. The developers truly went to painstaking effort to create such wonderfully designed locales within the limitations of the DS. At the beginning of the game, players find themselves in London. I spent several minutes simply walking around, utterly impressed by the attention to detail; an intricate and beautiful fountain, characters in detailed Victorian era garb, as well as little touches that make players feel immersed in the environment.

Before long, Eddie embarks on his first adventure, one that is free from interruption. The game avoids excessive cutscenes and tutorials leaving players to enjoy the gameplay. Similar to many older RPGs Nostalgia features a battle system that offers only a few commands - physical attacks, special attacks, item use, and run. As players battle, they will accumulate points which can be used to level up a particular skill. Points are added to a large pool, not specific to individual characters, thus players must carefully consider which team member to upgrade as well as particular skills for that member.

Eddie's party consists of four characters in total, including himself. Each character has a particular strength: Eddie is a melee-only character, Pad fancies guns, Melody is a witch who uses magical attacks, and Feona is a mysterious young woman with the power to heal.

Battle is turn-based occurring both on-ground and in the air. During each battle a list on the left side of the touch screen details which enemy or party member will attack next, allowing players to form a strategy. At the end of a battle, the party is given a rank based on how well the team performed. This rank determines a bonus for money, experience points, and points used to level up the party’s special abilities.

The Maverick, Eddie's father’s ship, will carry the characters throughout their journey. The top DS screen is always utilized as a map, whether in a town, dungeon, or the air, with new locations becoming visible as the characters enter them. The Maverick is not only needed to carry Eddie and his friends across the world, but also to battle any potential enemies in the sky. While in the air, Eddie and the other characters utilize this ship as a weapon, and each of the four characters can perform different attacks with the ship that mirror their on-ground attack abilities. For example, Eddie who uses a sword can lunge with the sharp bayonet attached to the front of the ship, whereas his partner Pad, who uses a gun, can use the zeppelin's turrets. These in-air battles are an incredibly fun change of pace, although they are fairly infrequent.

Players will travel through several world locations, including Egypt, New York, South America, etc. At each location players will begin in a town, where they will most often find better armor and weapons to purchase. After suiting up players will scour the town looking for leads on Eddie's father or the legend of the lost civilization. Following the suggestion of the locals, players will be lead to the next dungeon. It is within these dungeons that the characters will find clues to the disappearance of Eddie's father, as well as artifacts that will help solve the mystery of the lost civilization.

After the first few minutes of the game, I was blown away by the presentation, both within the world and at the conclusion of each battle. However, this quickly wore off as I pushed further into the first dungeon. The mindless grinding seemed excusable as it was the first dungeon and a tutorial zone for newcomers. Unfortunately, this monotony carried over into the second dungeon as well, and it wasn't until around 4 hours into the game that Nostalgia truly started to take off. Were it not for the fact that this was a review copy, the slow start would have deterred me enough to never pick the game up again.

The good news is that Nostalgia does become better as time goes on. While battle is a constant focus, one that only RPG fans will appreciate, there is plenty to keep everyone happy. My particular favorites were the side quests, which, unlike many other games, served a purpose other than collecting rare objects. Instead, if players choose to take on particular side quests, the back stories of party members are revealed as they uncover hidden cities and dungeons, as well as find some of the best weapons in the game.

Nostalgia is a great title full of entertainment, beauty, and an epic movie-like story unlike anything seen on the DS to date. However, it’s unfortunate that Nostalgia is a very grind-heavy experience; it definitely takes away from everything great that the game manages to do otherwise.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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