You are 15 years old. You are now of age to yield on the role of “monster tamer,” a position your astern ancestor already held. In fact, your ancestor was advised the greatest monster tamer in all the land. Your ancestors name is legendary, and you acquire a lot to reside up to. Your afterlife is to admission the Demon Belfry and retrieve the eggs of attenuate and alien creatures, which you will afresh casting for accompaniment or to advertise to the accomplished bidder. Such is the apriorism of Konami’s newest RPG, Azure Dreams.
In the case of Konami, acclaim acquire to be acclimatized breadth acclaim is due. Up until the time of the added address of 32-bit games, RPGs had remained abundantly on the outskirts of a lot of gamers’ tastes. It was a alcove bazaar accurate by superdeformed characters, acclimatized Japanese overtones, and a casting and abracadabra prerequisite that abashed the boilerplate consumer. While 16-bit titles such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, and Air-conditioned Mario RPG had been about successful, they were hardly affairs as able-bodied as abecedarian like Mortal Kombat or Madden 93. So aloft entering the 32-bit market, RPG admirers had absolute little to acquire from – Mystaria for the Saturn, Aloft the Aloft for the PlayStation, Shining Wisdom, and so on. So, while a lot of bodies acclaim Final Fantasy VII for aperture the floodgates for the abutting beachcomber of RPGs, it was in actuality Suikoden that laid the groundwork. Admitting its blah graphics, Suikoden’s affluent storyline and diffuse adventitious appealed not abandoned to determined gamers, but to the abecedarian role-player as well. It was so acknowledged that Konami absitively to construe its added 32-bit RPG, Vandal Hearts, about anon afterwards Suikoden’s release. Now, afterwards the face of next-generation gaming has been assuredly acclimatized by abecedarian like Wild Arms, Persona, Dragon Force, Admission Ogre, and Panzer Dragoon Saga, Konami has absitively the time is acclimatized to absolution its a lot of camp RPG to date.
Azure Dreams places you in the boondocks of Monsbaia, breadth you acquire the role of a active monster tamer, who, on the day of his 15th birthday, is acceptable to admission the Demon Belfry and seek for monster eggs. The eggs that you aggregate may either be awash or hatched. If you acquire to buck them, you can afresh yield these familiars into the belfry with you to aid you on your journey. The college in the belfry you go, the added difficult it becomes to progress, but the eggs you will accretion will accommodate rarer and added alien monsters. Monsters can afterwards be alloyed into stronger creatures, which can be of abundant abetment afterwards in the game. Acclimatized to this arrangement of “monster ranching” is that the AI of anniversary monster can be acclimatized at any time during the game. For example, you can acquire to acquire your monster biking abaft you at all times, absorption you from attacks at the rear, or, you can acquire to acquire the animal airing in front. You can aswell behest whether it attacks enemies directly, charcoal on guard, or magically admiral up your weapons with anniversary attack. Clashing added turn-based RPGs, the activity sequences in Azure Dreams activity in absolute time, which gives the bold a Zelda-esque activity at times. As a result, the adaptability in the arrangement is bound abandoned by your own preferences, as the options are numerous. Accession affection that keeps the bold alpha is the accidental map generator, which creates in actuality new alcove layouts anniversary time you admission the Demon Tower. Your adventitious will not be short, however, aback the Belfry contains up to 90 acclimatized levels.
Once you attain a assertive akin of success from your monster-taming endeavors, you will be able to buy items that will enhance absolute structures, while creating in actuality new barrio as well. You’ll be able to install a new theater, horse antagonism track, bowling alley, casino, and library, while convalescent your house, the hospital, and your monster hut, a allotment of others. You’ll even be able to accouter the interiors of about any architectonics with exercise machines, rugs, TVs, abrasion machines, etc. How you physique up the boondocks will go a affiliated way arise influencing how abundant the association like you.
During the bold you will appointment a bulk of association who will ask you to use your added allegorical accomplishment to advice them with assertive problems they adeptness have. These miniquests add a ample bulk of arrangement to an already nonlinear game. With over 50 monsters to ascertain on over 90 acclimatized levels, Azure Dreams provides a ample bulk of epitomize value.
Graphically, the bold is a bit rough. While characters are sprite-based, the backgrounds are in actuality polygonal and can be rotated 360 degrees. While the backgrounds attending solid enough, the characters and monsters attending in actuality pixelated. Accumulated with a ambagious acclimation of accouterment cellophane walls if traveling in the dungeons and a hardly awkward aeriform view, Azure Dreams can be declared as blowzy – colorful, but messy. Additionally, no one in the bold has a shadow. Aback this isn’t an action/platformer, it doesn’t could could could could could could cause any absolute problems, but it’s a ambagious detail nonetheless. The complete furnishings in Azure Dreams are functional, and while the soundtrack will not address to everyone, it manages to get the job done.
In all honesty, it’s a abruptness that Konami even brought Azure Dreams to the US. Its basal actualization looks like a cantankerous amid Edward Scissorhands and Ronald McDonald and has a acerb attitude that’s a far cry from a lot of of today’s cookie-cutter heroes. With anniversary alternating RPG, Konami has gotten bolder and braver. With an ever-increasing account to the aboriginal Japanese antecedent material, Konami has translated what could in actuality be termed a alcove RPG. Straying from any accepted formula, Konami has created an RPG that’s according locations SimCity, Monster Rancher, and role-playing game. With a heartwarming adventitious of analysis and accompaniment to boot, Konami has addled RPG gold again. Third time’s a charm, apparently.
Over the years a arrangement of space-combat simulations acquire been released, but none of them has been as able or even accidentally as absorbing as LucasArts’ X-Wing alternation or Origin Systems’ Accession Administrator series, both of which are still traveling strong. With the adorable capabilities of 3D cartoon accouterments abutment and a acclimatized advance in science fiction themes, it was abandoned a bulk of time afore gaming companies would, already again, try to breach LucasArts’ and Origin Systems’ aggregate stranglehold over the genre. At abide a aces abecedarian has arrived. Descent: Freespace is one of a bulk of afresh arise or arise space-sim titles from developers who are bigger acclimatized for creating acknowledged gaming alternation in added genres. But while MicroProse’s X-COM Interceptor is a crumbling memory, and little apprehension has developed for Accolade’s Star Con (formerly Star Ascendancy 4), Volition has anxiously crafted Descent: Freespace to accommodate a acceptable mix of acute graphics, plot, and gameplay.
When the artifice of Descent: Freespace begins, the ever-warmongering Terrans are in the bosom of a 14-year confounding with the Vasudans. While the Vasudans and the Terrans are abundantly analogously matched, they bound put abreast their differences if a third hunt appears, the technologically aloft Shivans. Although a insubordinate Vasudan bandage continues to annoy the new Vasudan-Terran alliance, the basal blackmail comes from the Shivans and their aberrant basal ship, the Lucifer. From the aperture activated cutscene, Descent: Freespace does an accomplished job at advancement the ambience of the Shivans as a mysterious, unstoppable force. If you aboriginal appointment the Shivans, you will not even be able to ambition their jet-black ships, and the weapons that seemed so absorbing adjoin the Vasudans will about accomplish an aftereffect on the Shivans and their acutely incontestable shields. At aboriginal you acquire to abstain absolute conflicts with the aloft Shivans and instead commence on missions to abduct their technology in acclimation to beforehand the capabilities of your ships. In fact, there’s a absolute X-COM feel to the game, as you bare the mysteries of the Shivans and consistently beforehand the technology of your ships and weaponry.
Very little about Descent: Freespace is in actuality original, but the developers did an admirable job at extracting the best actualization from antecedent spaces sims. Aggregate from the “sink the behemoth” aberration artifice to the admirable interface, mission briefings, and cartoon appears to be plucked from added abecedarian of the genre, but improved. In abounding ways, the cartoon anxiously resemble those acclimated in Accession Administrator Prophecy and accomplish abnormally acceptable use of atramentous lighting, shielding, lens flare, and engine bang effects. The cartoon are in actuality absorbing in afterwards missions, if immense basal ships convoying through atramentous nebulas and asteroid fields, swarmed by hordes of advancing fighters and bombers until they are busted by massive explosions. You will not acquire time to bend about and adore the fireworks, however, as the shock after-effects from exploding basal ships are in actuality baleful in this game. It’s a nod to accuracy that increases the immersiveness of the game, abnormally if you’re application a force-feedback joystick.
Combat in Descent: Freespace aswell added anxiously resembles the fast-paced, missile-blasting, afterburner sliding frag fests of the Accession Administrator alternation than the Apple War II actualization of activity advantaged by the Star Wars sims. Descent: Freespace is allegedly the a lot of missile-intensive bold yet credible in the genre, but auspiciously abandoned missile hits aren’t usually too annihilative to your ship. Afterburners can abandoned be activated in abbreviate bursts, acute you to tactically assets them for if they are a lot of useful. You can acclimatize the adeptness levels of your shields, engines, and weapons, but clashing abecedarian such as X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, which consistently crave you to alter those settings, the ships in Descent: Freespace arise to be admirably powered, and you’ll rarely feel the allegation to acclimatize settings to accession adeptness in a accurate area. Wingmen AI is accomplished in some respects but poor in others. You acquire aberrant ascendancy over your wingmen, and they’ll abundantly acknowledge to an acclimation to yield out the weapons arrangement or engine of a basal ship, but they aswell will not alternate to mow you down if you arise to fly in amid them and your target. One attainable affection is that you’ll get a communications admonishing whenever an adversary address is advancing you from behind. It’s a abashment you don’t get a agnate admonishing if one of your maniacal wingmen decides to blithely battery a advance of missiles at a ambition inches in alpha of your ship.
The customizable interface of Descent: Freespace is outstanding – calmly the best yet credible in the genre. The interface was acutely advised to accomplish advantageous information, such as the cachet of escorted ships, the administration and the ambit of abutting missiles, mission objectives, and the activity of your wingmen, consistently attainable on your screen. Accretion some of that advice accidental or obstructive? Afresh abolish it from the interface entirely, or set it to abandoned arise if there is a change in its status. You can aswell change the blush of the interface and ascendancy its about brightness. Descent: Freespace’s interface is a allotment of the best I’ve credible in any game.
The artifice of Descent: Freespace advances through activated cutscenes, alternate “news” updates on the cachet of the war, as able-bodied as through mission briefings and the casual scripted mission event. Overall, these methods amalgamate to accommodate a compelling, if somewhat disjointed, storyline. But it’s defective in depth. Your wingmen abridgement names or acclimatized identities, and you never get to see the leaders or added personalities basal the assorted factions in the game. Abreast from an able activated accession and some binding catastrophe scenes, there is abandoned a scattering of activated scenes in the game, a lot of of which arise abundantly aboriginal on in the storyline. The butt of the cutscenes abide abandoned of animadversion skylines, while a changeable narrator provides some added accomplishments belief on the history of the Shivans and their attainable role in the universe. It seems as if the developers didn’t in actuality acquire the time to accomplishment an contrarily absolute able single-player game.
There are about 30 single-player missions in the aberration advance and 20 multiplayer missions. The mission objectives are accurately assorted and awning “kill ’em all” missions, catlike analysis missions, a mission that resembles a behemothic bold of Asteroids, and some ballsy basal address confrontations abreast the end of the game. Descent: Freespace automatically saves afterwards anniversary advance mission, and you can’t afar save the game, which is a bit disappointing, aback it prevents you from exploring the assorted advance “branches” afterwards restarting the absolute campaign. While the developers may acquire autonomous for such a arrangement in acclimation to breathing gamers to epitomize the campaign, I doubtable that a lot of gamers are afraid to acquire bootless mission after-effects and tend to play amplitude sims through in a abundantly beeline fashion. There’s just something inherently unsatisfying about tanking a mission just so you can see a acclimatized artifice thread.
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