On this holidays my Nintendo DS has been my night companion for when it was too hot (or too early) to sleep, and I've been playing three RPGs quite a few hours.
Final Fantasy III
I've talked previously about this game and how difficult it is, but I'm very persistant so I've progressed some in the game.
I'm not probably yet even halfway it, but it's really fine. The Jobs stuff is a bit hard at first (you have to level each job for each character if you don't like to stick to just one specific job per char), but after the first levels it pays off when having a good party.
I don't get stuck on what to do next (I just sometimes need to level up a bit before progressing), the story up to now is simple and typical, and the GFX and controls are nice and do their job perfectly.
I will keep playing it until the end probably...
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
This has been a small nice surprise. A mixture of realtime RTS with action-RPG, with 3D scenary and beautiful 2D pixel characters and creatures game...
It continues the story of FFXII and the adventures of Vaal, converting the espers to troops to command, invoke and use to fight enemies, conquer magic sources and destroy resurrection crystals.
The game is very tactical, highly dependant on the weaknesses and natures of each level enemies (you can be easily defeated if you don't take into account it, or easily win in just 5 minutes on some battles if you do so). It is like playing Magic The Gathering with a Final Fantasy theme.
I will write a full review for other of my blogs, but being more than halfway of the game I see one important problem: The formula that works marvels for the first time, great for the 10th, and ok for the 40th, starts to be too repetitive and boring nearing the 100th time...
All the battles tend to be very similar and I'm becoming tired of it, so I'll set it aside for a few days before finishing it (I'm on chapter 6).
Orcs & Elves
The same game I played more than one year ago on a mobile phone, this time on the Nintendo DS.
The game is pretty much the same as the J2ME Orcs & Elves 2 version, but with a heavy visual tweak and some polygons. The upper screen always shows the first-person view of the character, having the touch screen for inventory handling, automaps, shopping and options.
The game features a bunch of weapons, some enemies (with slightly different patterns, like "fire and hide", "keep distance", etcetera) and around 5 hours of gameplay for your first run on normal difficulty.
The engine itself is not bad. Not only combines 3D scenery with 2D sprites (with good amount of detail), but also implements a lot of the typical "Eye of the Beholder" era map tricks: hidden rooms, teleporters, triggers for events or enemies, special objects...
The downside is the short duration: 5 hours for non-random maps means you might give it a second run to become even stronger (you will already have the full range of weapons at the end), but not much more. Also, the story is a bit silly sometimes, but you can live with it.