Ever watch those Japanese Anime cartoons and the intro starts with a cheesy song in Japanese with free floating characters spinning around? Then you start watching the cartoon and notice the captivating story has nothing to do with the intro? This is exactly how Avalon Code starts. This is a classic RPG from the start. You chose one of two characters, one being female or male. Just as one of those talented animated films, taking this art to the gaming media is a natural and enticing fit.
The premise of Avalon Code is you discover a mysterious book or rather it is destined to you. Charged with this tome of empty pages a fire spirit appears and guides you through its use. The world is to be incinerated and this book is all that will survive. Thus your mission is to code or capture all information from this world to be taken to the next. Plants, animals, people and yes, even monsters. Then armed with knowledge of the fabric of life, you have the power to break items down and build them up. Pull iron from the blood of the beast and use it to enhance a sword.
With the heart of an explorer, you are not on this journey alone. As mentioned, spirits accompany the gamer through the country and townships while this world steps toward the precipice of annihilation. These spirits embody the power of the elements and are guides as well as handy companions when you get in a pinch.
Avalon Code is developed by Matrix Software and published by Marvelous Entertainment USA/XSEED Games. It is rated E-10 and up. As for game play on the Nintendo DS, I was impressed and totally immersed into the rich and unique story of Avalon Code. The frames were fluid across the screens and it kept me hooked exploring this world and recording everything it had to offer. The action portion of the game I feel fell a bit short. Monsters and combat engagements were easily dispatched by a few button mashes. The lower screen displayed the book and you used the stylus to interface with items and pages accordingly. All action was interfaced with on the upper screens and use of the D-pad for movement and assigned actions to the corresponding A, B, Y, and X buttons. They also used the L and R buttons for defensive rolls and such associated with combat.
Graphics and associated sounds were not as good as they could be. Some of the cut scenes were fluid like an animated film, but in game play many still images flashed the screen with rolling text. Often reading frame after frame of text annoys me, but the story line was interesting enough to burn through them. Sound and music was really cheesy and common to the RPG genre. The music reminded me of the “Legend of Zelda” series. So don’t expect orchestrated themes drawing you in to climatic points.
I rated this game a good 7 out of 10, mainly for its unique and captivating story line. I genuinely did have fun with it as well. Even though it lacked in the action department, that clearly is not the genre for this game. But as a classic RPG, it delivers. The cut scenes are fluid and animated with interfacing still images and conversation with characters within the story are about average. You get options to choose from in dialog so watch what you say, you never know where you might end up. Although this world is going to end, you hold the key to life everlasting into the next world and chapter as it unfolds. So if you are the type who likes classic RPG’s and something with a rich storyline, this is the game for you. But be mindful of its genre and audience, you’ll find no heavy action or first person views here and use of the stylus is minimal.
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