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My Life As a King-Lengthy Review

Here it is (since IGN isn't posting it for some reason),in its 1,400+ word glory!

Square-Enix has, among many things, created a considerably sizeable Wiiware game and the easiest way to review it is to go through what it offers and point out it's strengths and weaknesses along the way. There aren't any story spoilers, so don't you worry your little head about that. So without further ado, let's talk about my 133 days in Salestine (the name I gave my Town->City->Empire)

The first couple days are obviously tutorials and for once I was somewhat glad to find them. I didn't want to waste a second of my precious five minutes a day wondering what the hell I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it. Essentially, this game is about building a town out of nothing with magic powers given to the young king using a substance called elementite. Of course, that stuff isn't just lying around, so you'll have to go through all kinds of measures to obtain more. Actually, the only way to get it is to enlist the help of certain villagers who can become adventurers. So, for the first couple dozen days, you have a small number of low-level warriors with Lv.1 gear who fight some typical weakling Final Fantasy monsters.

The game's strength in the majority of the game is constantly giving you something new to obtain or upgrade before you get bored of the old stuff. When you are almost tired of the basic buildings, you gain access to larger buildings that can house many more villagers, giving you more tax money to play around with recklessly-I mean, improve the kingdom in a responsible manner. You will be able to build shops to give weapons, items, and armor to your adventurers and later upgrade what they offer by making contributions. About a third into the game, you will also slowly be given the ability to have your adventurers change class to black/white mage or thief. In general, I found a balanced party was good, with a few more warriors than the others.

The game offers a sizeable quest, between 15-20 hours, depending on how much you like to level your adventurers and shops up. Don't worry, you'll be (somewhat) rewarded for obsessing over those categories-more on that later. The only missions that I dreaded were the behests (fancy word for "commissions") that the shop owners give you. At some point, they won't let you upgrade some of their wares unless you find them a certain material which can only be found in a previous dungeon. Find it yourself, you lowly serfs! Your adventurers must defeat some difficult monsters in the process, and often fail, sometimes slowing the game down as you have several days with little to no progress.

My Life As King looks pretty good with some nice effects and some decent cutscenes (with no voice-overs, unfortunately, but it is a downloadable game.) It's right up there with the Gamecube and some Wii games. The music is what you expect from Square Enix, AKA hummable, memorable, and lovable. While the variety is slightly lacking, it was never an annoyance with me. Overall, the game is fun in the RPG elements it offers and in how you get to physically see the improvements in your realm. There is almost always something to do on each day.

While tedious after a while, talking to your lowly citizens will rake in more money through "morale boosts" which also give you Morale Spheres which can upgrade your kingdom's title, from Town to City and so forth. Some other weaknesses in the game are the real inability to know what your odds of success are and the lack of any kind of following with what happens outside the castle beside some quick headlines. I would have loved to see more progress or health bars to see the mission play out.

By the end of the game, you will probably be a little tired of the set-up of the game. After all you will have played over 100 sessions of it (each five minutes long). With the final boss (it's pretty obvious who it is) defeated, you'll be treated to a few last cutscenes and then you will be ranked. This was a pleasant surprise. You will be ranked on how many days you took (how long it took you to beat the game), your town (how many taxes you stole-I mean, obtained, from the peasants-er, commoners and how many morale boosts you received), and your adventurers (what level they were and how well leveled their gear was). I may have mixed some of the last two categories around. Anyway, your rank is given in the form of a letter (or two) with SS, S, and A being highest and then going down the alphabet and then you get an overall letter grade. I got a B in the first category, SS in the second, and S in the last for an overall A. For me, this adds a bit of competition with my fellow Kings and I applaud Square-Enix for this subtle detail. Finally, you are given an option to save in any file with your New Game+ data. What does that include? Hard and Very Hard Mode. Try them at your own risk-and loss of social life. Considering it took me 30-odd days to beat the final boss on Normal (again, a part that really slowed the game down for me that I didn't enjoy very much), I think I’ll wait a while before trying either.

So, the base game includes those 15-20 hours for $15. Is the downloadable content (DLC) worth the extra moolah? That depends on what you expect. If you want to extend the game a few extra dungeons and get access to a few more buildings and you enjoyed the base game, then feel free to pick up the Dungeon Pack (9 dungeons) or the other packages with dungeons (3 dungeons each with anew building afterwards) for $2-3. On the other hand, the fact that all 4 races of Crystal Chronicles are present in this game (after you build the inn, that is!) and you have to pay $8 for the Race Pack (for the other three races to be fully accessible) seems like a real rip-off. This is one of the only things I'd like to kick some Japanese game people for. The last available content category (as of writing) is two different alternate costumes (one for the King and one for the annoying but somewhat attractive Chime) for $1 each. If you have a few points burning a hole in your pocket, feel free to try some of this out. best of all, unlike the game, they only take a few blocks of Hard drive space!

A lot of emotions will go through you as you play FFCC:MLAAK (which is one of the games most deserving of a shorter title) from rage at your adventurers' inability to conquer a dungeon five levels under them (this happened to me) to contentness as you just look at your expanding empire, to pride as your off-on trust adventurers come back with their shields on their back, instead of on them. Do I recommend this game? I certainly do, unless you specifically hate City-builders with RPG elements. Oh wait, I can't think of any other game that falls in that category.

Rating Description
out of 10
9.0 Presentation-The menus and controls are clean and well organized so that your mind is on building your town, not wrestling the controller.
8.0 Graphics-For a downloadable game, it is right up there with some of the best on GCN and Wii with impressive models and decent effects but there is a slight lack of variety.
8.0 Sound-As good as you’d expect from the company, but only a few tracks. I wish the orchestral version of the main theme played more.
8.0 Gameplay-The game hands down new goodies at wise intervals but the there are a few points where the average gamer will grow a little bored with the repetition.
7.5 Lasting Appeal-The main quest will last 15-20 hours and there is some decent DLC to extend its life, but most gamers will take a long breather after beating it before going through it again.
8.5 OVERALL-(out of 10 / not an average)
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About shitakemushroomninjaone of us since 10:07 PM on 05.17.2008

I have a Atari 2600, N64, GCN, Wii, GBA, and DS. Of those, I play my Wii and DS the most. If you make a phallic joke about that, I will stab you through the computadora. What am I playing right now? Check my blogs, duh. Well, chow you later. Wait, what the hell does that mean?

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