Wings of death

Between my normal work duties and writing up mini-reviews of every single Mega Man game to date for a future project, I’ve had a little more hands-on time with Revenant Wings. This is actually more of an accomplishment than it sounds! I have been looking forward to the Final Fantasy XII sequel for quite some time, but no one warned me it would arrive while I was ensconced in the likes of Pokémon D/P and (dreamy sigh) Odin Sphere. I’ve written quite enough on the former and should have more on the latter posted soon.

But what of Revenant Wings? Not enough info, says I! Now is the time to make your story rectify this situation.

The more I play Revenant Wings, the more I like it. This is a marked contrast to, say, Yoshi’s Island DS, which after two stages at E3 looked pretty much like the greatest thing ever and after five worlds for review was revealed to be about as appealing as a plate of pus-filled lesions. The first chapter is insultingly easy, but once you get into the real game things step up and you have to make use of the rock-paper-scissors balance more carefully. The learning curve is just right — you move from one section of a stage in which all the mobs are neatly segregated by type (so it’s easy to pick them off with the proper batch of summons) into an area where they start mixing together, requiring actual caution. And then you start seeing NPC leaders (who have high resistance to all attacks, like your main party) in the thick of things, and it gets more complicated from there.

It’s definitely not a hardcore RTS, and thank goodness for that. I can’t think of a less appealing genre. Besides maybe the punches-your-mom-in-the-face genre. No one likes that one. Especially your mom.

The real draw, though, is that I finally unlocked the License Ring. Don’t be fooled by the name, because it’s actually just the FFX Sphere Grid… but instead of unlocking abilities or passive bonuses, you’re unlocking new monsters to summon. I do take issue with some of the rankings — a Goblin is more valuable than a Cactuar!? Since when! — but whatever; the ability to build custom “parties” made entirely of enemies familiar (Bombs, Tonberries, Giza Rabbits) and somewhat unfamiliar (Aquarius? A non-GF Quetzalcoatl?) is downright intoxicating. Or something.

The interface still feels a little lame; while it’s nice to have an entirely stylus-driven game, I wouldn’t mind seeing some bonus button functionality grafted in for the U.S. version. For instance, it would be great if you could hold down the shoulder buttons as a sort of shift-modifer ability that would let you tap multiple individual units to create a joint group. Or things to that effect. Also, a map rotation ability would be completely boss, especially in situations where background elements obstruct your view.

So yeah, on the whole: Pretty good! You should get it. You know, when it comes to the U.S.

17 thoughts on “Wings of death

  1. I don’t think I’d be off base to assume that the monster ranking is based on FFXII, where the Cactuars were among the first (and weakest) enemies you encountered and the Goblin analogs, the Baknamys, were hard-hitting bastards that could materialize from thin air and swarm your party like piranhas on cattle.

    As for the inability to rotate battlefields, I’m baffled. It was a noticeble shortcoming in Tactics Advance, so I thought the biggest advantage of the 3D environments in Revenant Wings and Heroes of Mana would be the feature’s return.

  2. “It’s definitely not a hardcore RTS, and thank goodness for that. I can’t think of a less appealing genre. Besides maybe the punches-your-mom-in-the-face genre. No one likes that one. Especially your mom.”

    Dude, for real. I had friends in junior high who were super into that type of shit, and I just never got it. I think I’d rather get kicked in the nuts than have to play an RTS all the way through. At least my nuts wouldn’t hurt for 60 hours.

  3. Actually, Heroes of Mana does have full rotation on its battlefields. Go figure.

  4. I got to the end of ShakeWell’s post assuming he was talking about PYMITF, rather than RTS.

  5. Whoa, dude. I don’t think I could be friends with people who liked to punch their/my/anyone’s mom in the face. Although, I guess I would rather get kicked in the nuts than have someone punch my mom in the face.

  6. The un-rotatable maps are especially ironic because they remind me of the old “fixed viewpoints make it feel like Final Fantasy” rationalization from the FF10 era, which was finally thrown out with… FFXII.

  7. Jeremy.
    Not VG related but, aren’t you watching Heroes like the rest of the world?
    It’s weird that you haven’t mentioned it (assuming you watch it) considering you once devoted a part of your life to LAGUNA BEACH.

    I would really like to read your take about Heroes on a blog some day.

  8. The backgrounds for Revenant Wings look really nice. I wish more DS games would use the opportunity to create really nice-looking scenery. The only others I can think of off the top of my head are, believe it or not, both Kirby games.

  9. I don’t really watch much TV. The few shows I do enjoy are completely ruined by commercials. I will check out Heroes once it hits DVD, though.

    But what the hell is Laguna Beach? Is it a TV show? A movie?

  10. I could swear to god you once mentioned a show called Laguna Beach or something Beach (on MTV I think) that you were watching.
    It was a post from last year in your 1up toastyfrog blog.

    All I know it’s one of those juvenile show (ala O.C.) where everyone has money and lives the good life.

  11. My girlfriend was obsessed with Alias for a while, and then Six Feet Under, but that’s pretty much the only TV exposure I’ve had for as long as I can remember. And neither of those quite fit the description.

  12. it was shane bettenhausen who watches laguna beach. and says so on his blog, not this one.

  13. Zomg, internet celebritee mix-up. Hilarity ensues.

    *cough* Sorry. Um, speaking of actually watchable TV shows that are already on DVD: House. It’s delightfully misanthropic. I normally wouldn’t give a medical procedural show a second glance, but it’s actually a lot of fun.

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