A LIFE YOU MIGHT WANT TO LIVE
The 3DS may just cement itself as the go to system for RPGs. With the Shin Megami Tensei games and other notable RPG series only available on the portable console, it’s slowly building up an RPG library worth playing, the latest being Fantasy Life.
Fantasy Life is your standard medieval fantasy RPG, but with a twist. It has more in common with MMOs than normal RPGs. While you do have a story to play through, the meat of the game is open ended.
In Fantasy Life, you choose a Life (essentially a class) and you’re off. These range from martial ones like a Paladin or Mercenary, to trade ones like Blacksmith or Carpenter. Each Life is varied enough that it is encouraged to try all of them, though some are more interesting than others. You can even use abilities earned in one to complement those from others. Here’s where the initially simple system grow more complex.
The hook of the game is its simplistic nature and a personal drive to level up all the classes. As your gear and weapons are visually distinct, it’s a major driving force to keep playing to see what new cool stuff you can unlock as you progress. Street Pass functionality encourages this; as other players can view your characters. Don’t you want everybody you meet to see what a unique snowflake you are?
Despite that, combat (both online and off) is a rather repetitive process. It has very little depth, no matter what class you’re using. Sure, you may need to time your button presses or be at a certain range to get the most out of your Life, but that’s the extent of it.
Likewise, the story too is lackluster and stereotypical. It’s linear, with the plot pretty much evident from the get go and twists you can see a mile away. While it does have some nice character designs (I’m partial to the Al Maajik) by Yoshitaka Amano (famous for his work on Final Fantasy), the rest of the game falls squarely into the stereotypical anime category.
In the barren months ahead, Fantasy Life might make a worthwhile diversion. But unless you’re totally invested in the grinding and leveling, expect to jump to the next big thing as soon as they go on sale.