World Destruction Impressions
Destroying the world is tough when you can only try out two battles.
As promised, Sega brought out a playable build of World Destruction to one of the five thousand Sakurayas in Shinjuku over the weekend for an event it dubbed Sega RPG Fes.
There's reason to make lots of "Fes" about this new RPG, as I discovered after sampling the game. Instantly likable characters and charming old-school presentation are going to make this a must buy for me in a couple of weeks.
Sega had three save points set up for the demo, of which I was able to try one. This area appeared to be a sequence from the very beginning of the game. Main character Kirie is in prison, and heroine Morute comes to his rescue. Following a battle with prison guards, you lead the two through a couple of floors of the prison. A large gathering of guards chases you out, and Agan comes to your rescue, leading to a three-on-three battle.
While I presumably could've kept playing beyond this, the Sega rep handed me a neat little pouch and handed the DS off to the invisible person who was behind me.
Although Sega's event description page described the demo as "battle-focused," there was actually more event than battle in the save file that I played. I like what I saw from the events. All dialog in the demo was voiced, although the sound quality was unfortunately a bit on the low side. Sega appears to have given the characters lots of special sprite animation for the event scenes, and has spiced up the presentation with character portraits beside the dialogue boxes. It's the old-school presentation we used to see in 32-bit RPGs, down to the mix of sprites and 3/4 overhead 3D backdrops.
Aside from the low sound quality, the only annoying thing about the event scenes is that you can't skip through individual lines. Thankfully, for those who plan on replaying, the game does let you press start to skip right to the next gameplay segment.
I only got to fight two battles, but I also like what i saw here. The battle system puts your character in a horizontal face-off, with the enemies on the left side of the screen and the heroes on the right side, in classic Final Fantasy-style. When you select to attack, your characters jump in to slash at the enemies.
Your characters are mixed up on a timeline with the enemies. During each character's turn, you can select to use items via A or defend via B. X and Y are reserved for different attacks. You can also press the L button to toggle these to two other attacks. Depending on the attack, you can perform multiple moves in each turn.
The two battles in my demo were both of the game's standard variety battles, taking place on the bottom screen. The player next to me got to play one of those fantastic boss fights where the enemy takes up both screens.
Those two battles were also event-based, so I couldn't tell if the game has random encounters. I got to run around the prison area for a couple of minutes, but never got attacked.
Outside of combat, the game appears to offer much in the way of character customization. At the end of battle, you're given customization points which can be used to power up your moves. You also have all the usual slots for equipment, including a weapon, armor and what appeared to be two accessory slots. You can also build up your own weapons using a weapon synthesis system, if you're into that sort of thing (I have to admit that I'm not -- same goes for those games where you get to cook things).
The game also lets you collect and equip voice lines for your character. According to the [a href=http://wd.sega.jp/game/index.html]offensively wide World Destruction official site[/a], this "Word Equip System" allows you to set voice phrases into four slots. The phrases have a variety of effects, and while the official site doesn't clearly specify any of them, a couple of screenshots show an item dropping in price from 800 G to 400 G after Morte equips a phrase that says "Of course, it can be cheaper, right?" Unfortunately, I couldn't try this system out in the demo, as the characters had no voices to equip.
The only area I didn't like about the game in my short play time was the general the control over your character. It's all d-pad-based, which can make movement a bit difficult when in a 3D space. I've grown use to touch-pen controls for character movement in DS games, but the Sega rep showing off the game said that there's no stylus support for World Destruction.
Aside from that, the short play time I had with World Destruction left me anxious to try out the rest of the game come September 25.