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LONG BLOG

Wii REVIEWS: Fragile Dream: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

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For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 5o games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

39- Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon:
Year: 2010.
Genre: Action RPG, Survival.
Publisher: Xseed.
Developer: Namco Bandai, Tri-Crescendo. 

 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

When it comes to videogame narrative, I am usually skeptic. Usually, games that try to mimic other forms of media in their storytelling end up delivering an experience that would have been better as a film. Which is why I always approach games renowned for their emotional power like Fragile Memories with a degree of caution.

Turns out, Fragile Dreams manages to tell a gripping story while trying to involve gameplay into the narrative. Unfortunately, while the game succeeds in establishing a wonderful story, its gameplay leaves much to be desired.

"I just want someone to be with"

Company is a powerful thing, we take it so much for granted that once we miss it, and we feel sad, we sometimes do not recognize where our sadness comes from. In a post-apocalyptic world, where more than 99% of population disappeared, the rest of humanity survived in very small groups, and sometimes only as individual loners. Seto is such a survivor, left in the world by himself after his "grandfather" dies.

While there is an overarching story in Fragile Dreams, it only shows itself at the end. Most of the tale is of Seto's attempt to find anyone to be with. In the beggening of the game he sees Ren, a mysterious (since she is only the second human he saw) silver-haired girl. This acts as proof that he is not alone, and therefore Seto tries to find her again.

Through Seto's journey to find Ren, he learns more about himself and his own need for company. This is not a protagonist who is on top of things, but a vulnerable 15 year old boy. From the onset of the tale, we learn the meaning of living in a dying world, and Seto's emotions are mostly subtly conveyed.

Strong Story: +5
Strong Characterization: +4

Beauty in top of ruin

"At that moment, I was truly alone in the world"

Central to the emotional impact of the story is all the background information, the memories of the departed, which Fragile Dreams attempts to emphasize. Much of the game's gameplay consists of walking from place to place, occasionally picking up objects on the ground. These objects contain the memories of people that already left the earth.

Such memories vary from those of parents mourning their sons, to messages of regret, proclamations of hope, and even the sad pathetic thoughts of pet. When collecting these objects, Seto "reads" the memories included whenever he rests at a checkpoint bonfire.

Regularly, these memories painted a powerful image of the world as it approached its doom. In many cases, the consistent theme of companionship and loneliness is touched upon, and we feel as Seto probably feels, alternately hopeful and depressed.

The best of these tales are ones that are divided into several parts that tell a "complete" stories" Usually, I would be frustrated if I was asked to find several objects to get one full story. However, here the memories are not numbered and each doesn't betray the existence of another part. As such, when a story grabs my attention, I find myself wishing for a better conclusion that I got.

For instance, in one particularly great story, it is divided among scraps of a torn picture. Every time, I wish there is another scrap for me to find. Even by an end which I am still unsure is the end, I am hoping there is another scrap that I didn't find; a scrap that had a happier end.

Great Micro-Stories: +5

The most surprising of things can keep you copmany...WILSOOON

"Whatever happens in the future, I will always have this moment"

So far, I have only covered the narrative elements of the game, which is normal for a videogame that doesn;t inspire much through its actual gameplay. In a few words, Fragile Dreams gameplay is simply busy work. As proof by its own amorphous genre definition, this is not game that is easily classified. However, that is not because it does so much from very different genres, but because it does so little.

In order to reach his objective, Seto must walk, walk, and walk some more. Generally, most of the game involves a lot of walking, which is occasionally interrupted by bland combat. Seto might be lonely, but he has a lot of ghost company to deal with. Adding to the busy work is weapons that break and inventory management.

None of this is particularly offensive, but the fact that all of it is basically designed to keep you busy as you progress the story feels like a placeholder for something that should have been better. True, the long walks establish a sense of scale and loneliness that truly works for the story, but then why the pitiful combat.

Combat is basically an excuse to "level up" which gives you more HP and ATK, and an excuse to break your weapons and the manage your inventory. Its a dull, brain-dead system that is neither annoying nor rewarding. While some found that weapon breakage to be annoying, I thought it as a non-issue, especially since you can simply run away from all conflicts. In fact, you shouldn't feel compelled to kill every ghost you see, simply move along.

While there are boss battles that must be fought, stacking up on healing items and stronger weapons does the trick. Especially since weapons only break after the fight. Just a note, ranged weapons are much preferred in the final boss fights.

Busy Work Gameplay: -10

You can't say that they are not well-designed enemies though

"The world is over, but it might wake up again"

When games try ton convey the desolation of the post-apocalypse, they usually go with cold color palettes and images of ruin. In that regard, Fragile Dreams is not different, but it is different by its own character art style, and that imposing beautiful moon.

Despite being an anime fan, I didn't care much about the specific style used in the game. Seto and friends are all uniquely designed, but I found that they were distracting more so than compelling. For instance, nothing would compelling any sane character to dress as Ren does, it is simply a poor excuse for a dress.

Outside of the characters, the environment doesn't break any new ground in presentation. Yet, it shows a really gorgeous skyline, especially when the moon is visible. It also showcases a variety of distraught locations, from a theme park to a hotel. Unfortunately, the latter stages of the game take place in industrial tunnels and buildings. It lacks the beauty and variety of the earlier sections.

Complementing the post-apocalyptic theme is a minimalist soundtrack that attempts at invoking loneliness and desperation. While Riei Saito's work is, as the graphics are, not groundbreaking, it manages to be a little more memorable. Especially the battle music which makes combat a little more bearable than it is.

Of special not regarding minimalistic soundtracks is the excellent use of natural sounds. Usually, games that intentionally limit their musical input in a minimalistic effort tend to rely on unrealistic silence. In the contrary, Fragile Dreams use nature's sounds as a better substitute of silence.

Good Graphics: +3
Good Sound Design: +3

At its best, the graphics can be truely stunning

In Conclusion:

Fragile Dreams is a game that you simply cannot play again. Its a one-time experience. While this experience might be hampered by some sub-par gameplay, I don't think its annoying enough to subtract from an otherwise great story.

This is exactly the sort of title which I feel greater care in its gameplay elements could have elevated into another level. As it stand, Fragile Dreams is still worth experiencing, even if it involves a lot of busy work.

Oh, and there is a merchant wearing a chicken head who you will end up sympathizing with. Not many games can say that.

Final: 35/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

Here we have a review by Jim Sterling, who revied the game back in 03.21.2010 and gave it a 6. This would suggest that Jim didn't like it much, however his review was very conflicting as summed up by him: "How do you review a game that has simultaneously brought you endless frustration and endless wonder? A game that has made you want to throw the controller and keep your eyes glued to the screen with a dropped jaw all at once? Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is a conundrum. A deep, dark, desolate and thoroughly beautiful experience married to an aggravating, repetitive and lacking game."

Generally, I found the comment's section to be more optimistic about the prospects of enjoying the game.

A 6 is not so bad in Dtoid, says GoldenGamerXero:

"If the terrible parts come up that often and yet the game is still above average I'm willing to give this a try.

This is why I love Destructoid. A 6 or Above Average rating genuinely means something."

Current Dtoid employer Kyle MacGregor hoped the gameplay wasn't so crap:

"I've been looking forward to this title for ages. The art direction made me fall in love at first sight. It makes me so sad that the game aspect of it is so crap."

What's funny is a consistent theme laughing at FFXIII for getting a lower score than Fragile Dreams, as aptly said by janoDX:

"Agreed, but a 7 is more a fair score... Well, this is better than Final Fantasy XIII"

Which actually makes sense, becase FD is the better game.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

I don't think anyone would think this game would do well. Its an emotional game about a 15 year old effiminate boy with very limited gameplay. Its also a game asociated with the "weebo" culture, and the sort of game Japanes companies like Sega are afraid of localizing.

Turns out that's mostly right. FD only managed to sell about 360K units, which is actually not good for a project with such production values. However, it sold 280K units in the use compared to 60K in Japan, which suggests that the common idea of the overly Japanese games not selling well in the west to be ludicrous. In fact, the Japanese market is sometimes more cutthroat on those titles than the west.

"Tips"

1- Have an additional weapon in case yours break.
2- Use bonfires frequently to save and read memories, as well as store stuff.
3- In the final bosses, a ranged weapon is a much better choice.
4- You can always ignore enemies to speed things up.

"Next Game"

Few game narratives worked on me, but the story of Fragile Dreams, as well as all the micro-stories were presented very well and in more ways the regular cut-scenes. It was a worth-it narrative experience.

The next series of games are also narrative focused. Atlus's Trauma Center series focuses on the lives of doctors, and the player is put in the role of surgeons. Only the third game in the series, Trauma Team is on the list at #37. However, for better context, I will play the other two first. So my next game will be Trauma Center: Second Opinion.

Stay Tuned

For Previous Wii game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

No screenshots at mobygames

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Thanks to the excellent work of community member Dango, now I have a cool infographic of my top 20 games. This list is not my final one, but what I thought off at the moment. If you notice, they are presented in chronological order:





Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
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