- Dew Prism -
-= Overview =-
Dew Prism is the latest game released by Square in Japan. While it isn't being hyped as much as their other games of late, it has merits that set it apart from the mediocre games Square been churning out while they concentrate on their more important financial successes. Dew Prism is labeled the unofficial sequel to Brave Fencer Musashi but it significantly improves over its mediocre predecessor in every way. It exists in a beautiful 3-d world with two distinctly different main characters that each have their own brilliant game play elements. The game play is what makes this game rise above all others in its Action/RPG genre. It is so fun to play and it has so many thoughtful innovations that if this game were strictly action it would hold its own, as it blends in colorful characters and other RPG elements it becomes a brilliant success.
-= Story =-
: Rating :
The characters actions make the story easy to understand for even someone with no knowledge of Japanese. The story may be a bit too simplistic but that can be excused as this game uses the story to frame its amazing game play, in contrast to many recent games that have been neglecting game play for story. The story is viewed from two totally different perspectives. As Rue you need to find this special item to fight the beast that killed your wife. As Mint you want the item to take back your castle from your bratty sister. The story is less than inspired but it sets a proper frame for the game.
-= Gameplay =-
: Rating :
When you begin playing you are given the choice of two main characters, Mint and Rue. Each has their own back story and although they travel the same lands during the game they have drastically different game play elements. Rue is the male character and he can morph into the 5 most recent enemies he has killed. He can perform the special abilities of the enemies by using part of your abundant supply of MP, however it costs nothing to change into the enemies, and you will find yourself changing form constantly because you will need to assume the forms of your most recent kills to progress through the game. It provides a great variety of game play because you need to master the control of many different characters, rarely will you be successful fighting in your human form. The transition between characters is instantaneous without loading and it is extremely fun. It is a much better system than acquiring and then quickly losing abilities in BFM. Mint relies much more on MP than her counterpart. She gains the ability to cast spells when she destroys different monsters. She can cast different elemental types of spells and she can select the type of spell she wants to cast and match it up with the element she wants giving her a wide range of talent. Although the game is fun using Mint, I find it more enjoyable to morph into a completely different creature than casting a spell. Mint has a more difficult game do to her heavy reliance on MP, and I certainly enjoy Rue more, but I have enjoyed playing as both characters.
The control in the game is tight and it uses analog control so you always have total control of your characters movements. The camera is almost always overhead and at a distance so you can never blame controls or the camera on your death. It uses Dual Shock vibration and it is implemented well. I do not believe there is a leveling up system, I believe you gain HP and MP by collecting things left behind by enemies, but I am unsure of the process. I do know that your HP and MP are always at adequate levels throughout the game providing enough challenge without frustration. The game is broken up into sections where you will go through a period of action stages and then you will rest and find out exactly what to do next in town. There are quite a few puzzles scattered about the game some that require timing and others that require thought, they are balanced well and the top notch control will make it hard to blame that misguided jump on the controller. The game play is the draw of this game, it does not have the most complex story or character development but it is near flawless in executing the most important aspect of an Action/RPG.
-= Music & Sound Effects =-
: Rating :
Sometimes pleasant, sometimes painful.
The music is adequate though some of the synthesized instruments can be annoying and many tracks seem extremely similar. The boss music is especially bad. The quality is good although it doesn't touch the beauty of Legend of Mana's synth or composition. The music does not add or detract from the gaming experience. The sound effects however are crisp and clear and they add to the game with growls from enemies and the sound of metal being sheathed. Still, Square should have done better with the music.
-= Graphics =-
: Rating :
Polygons are Pretty
Supporting the brilliant game play are some of the best 3-d graphics on the Playstation. The fully 3-d world has characters that have expressive faces and fluid movements. Each action area has its own distinct graphical style from the pastel colors of a mystical land, to the lush green forests with complex trees and moss, to the dark ice cavern with shimmering walls, this game is as expressive in 3-d as Chrono Trigger was in 2-d in its day. The sharp environments are easy to navigate. There is no polygonal breakup, all the characters look solid, and there is little fog in the game.
-= Fun =-
: Rating :
Overall I have had more genuine fun playing Dew Prism than I have had playing a game in a while. That’s what the game is, it is fun to play. It has great replay value and it is of reasonable length. After dealing with serious stories and boring combat in recent games this game is a refreshing change of pace and it is the best game of its kind. It would be a wonderful game to import if you can find the time in the midst of the onslaught of games we are being hit with all at once here. It was my first imported game and it was easy to get accustomed to and fun to play.
Keep in mind it is two parts action one part RPG, the story compliments the game. You do not explore wide stages, you go through *action* stages which are limited in dimension and at times you will be locked into a 2-d side scrolling position. If you only are into traditional RPG’s you should give this game a chance, and you may find you love it. If you enjoy platform games or side scrollers, colorful graphics, and ingenious game play, buy this game. The game is a wonderful one to import as it can be played through easily with understanding, you would not even need to look to the walkthroughs on the Internet.
-= Last Word =-
Strong points- Great game play, easy to understand, perfect control
Weaknesses- Average music, simplistic semi-childish story
Total Score: 80/100
(not an average)