Fan­tasy Life

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - by Sale­hud­din Husin

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.

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