Wednesday, January 18, 2006

VG REVIEW: PoPoLoCrois

Very busy week, which is why there were no new posts yesterday. Today, however, let there be reviews!

"POPOLOCROIS"
Agetec
for the PlayStation Porta­ble
rated E for Everyone (fantasy violence), $39.99

Up to this point, there haven’t been any notable role-playing games for the Sony PlayStation Portable. With the arrival of "PoPoLoCrois," there still aren’t any.

Despite it’s rather flavorful name, "PoPoLoCrois" is a decidedly dull rpg; competent, but more than happy to follow in the paths formed by similar games without offering anything to distinguish itself.

The story involves a young (and I mean young — this kid isn’t out of grade school yet) prince who sets out to free his mother’s soul and defeat a demon threatening his kingdom. Naturally, along the way he encounters a number of colorful characters, fantastic lands and fearsome villains.

Combat is turn-based, with the characters fighting battles on grid reminiscent of most strategy games. Little strategy is required for the bulk of these battles, however. Most enemies can be beaten without working up a sweat, making the random battles that pop up every few seconds a real annoyance.

The one thing going for the game is that it looks lovely. Adopting a children’s book aesthetic, "PoPoLoCrois" is a colorful and highly detailed game with some amusing animation and anime cut scenes that flesh out the story.

But getting to those cut scenes can be irksome. The game is frequently interrupted by long loading times, which drag things down considerably. What’s more, the frames become jittery when your characters run across the landscape, resulting in eyestrain and more than a little nausea on my part.

"PoPoLoCrois" could be a fine rpg for kids. If you’re about as young as the game’s protagonist, you’ll probably get a kick out of it. Older gamers, especially those who’ve played more than one rpg before, will find the title too shallow and simple to be worth their time.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2006

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