Customer Reviews: Nostalgia - Nintendo DS
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on November 8, 2009
A dual meaning, and one of those meanings is the reason it's getting blasted unfairly in game reviews across the Interweb. But I digress. If I had to summarize Nostalgia, I would say it would be what you'd end up with if you tried to put the prequel to Skies of Arcadia on the DS. Of course, very few people played the Dreamcast classic, so I'll try to be as detailed as possible.

Nostalgia takes place in an alternate, possibly near future, version of today's world. You will visit many famous cities, such as London and New York, and landmarks, such as Mt. Fuji and the Easter Islands. Your hero is Edward (Eddie) Brown, the son of Gilbert Brown, a famed adventurer. As the game begins you'll take brief control of Gilbert who is trying to save a young lady from someone. Peril befalls him and the girl is stranded aboard his airship, which later crash lands. Eddie sets out to become an adventurer, primarily to find out what happened to his father and bring him home.

The game being called "Nostalgia" could not be more appropriate. This is as old school as they come. The graphics are reminiscent of Final Fantasy IV on DS, using polygonal 3D drawings. There are no voices, no animated scenes, nothing. It's as barebones as they come. The battle engine is simplified turn-based - meaning there are no flashy combos to be had here. There are some co-op attacks that you get later, much later. Beyond that it's as I said...old school. If you don't like them to be this old school, skip the game, because it's the primary reason the reviewers on gaming sites are blasting the game - because it "sticks too closely to its roots". For some, that's a big positive, for some it's not. The story is very lighthearted, easy to understand what's going on, with not too many plot twists or loopholes. It's easy to tell that the story was not the focal point of creating this game; a lot of it seems thrown together and not really thought out. Characters develop bonds out of nowhere with no real background, and plot development was lacking.

Once you become an adventurer, you'll be asked to take on optional quests. These range from simple search-and-destroy missions to navigating a dungeon to find something else. As you defeat the missions you get experience and an explorer rank - neither of which are critical to beating the game, although the experience does help. In truth, the quests are a front to the true purpose of the game...which I won't reveal as it's a slight spoiler, but bottom line, the quests are not in any way required, none of them. As you defeat enemies you also get skill points, which can be used to build up your special attacks. There is a branching structure to this. For example, you might have one or two skills that have to be at a certain minimum level in order to unlock the next skill. So on and so forth, until you've locked all except your hidden attack, which is unlocked near the end of the game.

Outside of the basic team battles are ship battles. These take place aboard the airship you'll eventually encounter, and are an extremely simplified system where instead of your regular attacks from your team members, each uses a different component of the ship: hull blade, gatling guns, cannons, or orb shooter. If you're ever going to get wasted in this game, it'll likely be the ship battles. The ship doesn't have enough energy to sustain itself once you start getting into the game, and even near the end, some enemies do attacks that will blow away half of your energy with one shot. It's extremely frustrating, especially when you're forced to do ship battles at parts, considering you might have just waxed your way through enemies and bosses in the regular fights.

So with that, here's what's happening:

-=- What Nostalgia Does RIGHT -=-

* Easy to learn, easy to get into.
* Normal battle engine, makes efficient use of the DS's buttons.
* IT calls itself "Nostalgia" and that's what it is - a refreshing trip down memory lane of what RPGs used to be.
* A lot of attention to detail: sprite animations, mouths moving with text, wheelchair movements, etc.
* Using real landmarks was an interesting approach to things (although, see WRONG below).
* More bonus dungeons after you beat the game.

-=- What Nostalgia Does WRONG -=-
* Ship battles are quite annoying and not well done at all. Some won't even let you escape even though you have a path clear.
* The encounter rate is a bit steep. Not Albert Odyssey or Beyond the Beyond bad...but it can get annoying after a while.
* It would have been nice if more cities were represented even if they weren't central to the story.
* Characters develop bonds out of thin air. No build up or development whatsoever.
* The whole ship part should have been more fleshed out. Buy/build your own ship, more outfit options, etc.

In short, is it recommended? Not at its full retail price. I would wait until it's had at least one price drop because quite frankly, while you will get a lot of gameplay out of this one (well over 30 hours with questing and bonus dungeons), it doesn't offer enough compelling content to justify the full retail.
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on November 30, 2009
This game had been on my radar for a while, but I held off until a couple of my friends started raving about it. I'm very grateful I gave in though because this is one of the best experiences I've had with a handheld RPG in a long time!

Overall, the game does remind me of a spiritual successor/companion to Skies of Arcadia, a classic RPG released on the Dreamcast then rereleased on the Gamecube. Although the setting is loosely based on our world in the 19th century, typical RPG fantasy trappings have made their way into the mix.

I got the feeling that the whole POINT of the game was to embrace the RPG stereotypes we have come to know and love. The battle system is the simple turn-based system of the 80's & 90's, so yes, no flashy effects, cutscenes, etc here. The quests are familiar (let's hunt sewer rats!) but somehow, it manages to avoid feeling tired. Instead it feels like an old friend - comfortable, secure, and warm.

The game is fairly solid overall, and it's a collector's dream/nightmare in that everything you do is recorded in an adventurer's notebook. Of course, then there's a LOT to find and it will take a lot of time to get through it all. Completionists will be happy, everyone else will probably hate that aspect of it.

I don't mind it being by the book, as that's the reason I purchased it. However, there are a few nostalgic bits I could've done without. First, the encounter rate is .. well, only a few steps below insane. I don't mind grinding, but I do get sick of not being able to breathe before getting slammed again. At times, the air battles seem quite a bit more difficult than they need to be at times.

Also, there is a significant amount of backtracking, which can be frustrating because it feels like your progress is being retarded rather than advanced. The only thing that keeps me going in that respect is the quest rewards.

My final gripe is minor. As polished as this title is, what is up with the typos? The front of the Adventurers' Notebook makes me cringe, as does the "Caracter Data". I know it's unimportant as long as the game is fun, but it is something that bugs me.

Overall though, it's a solid RPG that makes me believe that the next title I'm looking forward to from Ignition, Arc Rise Fantasia, will be worth a launch-day purchase. Give it a chance and see if it's for you!
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on December 25, 2009
I love to play this game on my lunch breaks. It's a pretty easy game to get the hang of, and the story is very engaging. I loved the fact that you get to travel to all of these "real world" locations and explore old ruins, and once you get the hang of battling, it's not hard to really rack up points.

It's definately a good game to introduce kids or inexperienced gamers to the genre, or to amuse some of us older gamers who miss the good old days of dungeon-crawling RPGs.
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on April 14, 2010
This is a classic style RPG, but it should not be compared to other RPG's when rating it (the game was designed how it was on purpose and not to try to beat out other RPG's). Describing the story would be boring so I will just give a review based on the IGN rating system.

Presentation: 5/5
The case looks standard and does not give any false implications that the game is amazing without earning it. As the back of the case states, the game takes place in an alternate 19th century time period, and it mixes mythology into real and fake locations. ESRB rates the game at everyone 10+ so there is no blood or inappropriate language. The game manual has all necessary information and even tells what character stats mean (not mentioned in the game) and is in English and French. The in game menu features an "Adventuer's Notebook" which stores some random game data as well as completion percentages for aspects of the game. Also on the menu is the option to Save game on 2 slots or Quick save and quit.

Graphics: 5/5
It is made for the DS (so expect DS graphics...) and features "3D" graphics, there is nothing to complain about. There are no skips in FPS rates, no bugs I have found. Really if they spent all their time on graphics then the gameplay would be garbage like is done with most games.

Sound: 5/5
Once again it is a DS RPG so you can't expect what is found on other systems. The sound is fine and upbeat, and the only complaint that people might find is that the music does not change when revisiting areas, but that is common in a supermajority of games.

Gameplay: 5/5
The controls arent complicated at all. Grinding (leveling in one spot for a long time) is not necessary for most of the game but helps for some bosses and does not usually take very long. There is usually a save point right before the bosses so you have plenty of health and infinite do-overs. Save often though because some bosses are unexpected. Some people think that the ship battles are too hard but they are not. Most leveling in the game wont be done during air battles and at a certain point you can just instantly flee from the battles anyway. The story is awesome, fairly self-explanatory, and pretty original. It's hard to rate originality when games share a lot of the same characteristics, so don't expect it to blow your mind.

Lasting Appeal: 3.5/5
How long you stay with the game is dependant on a lot of factors but it has plenty of appeal. There are side quests to do, and optional bosses to fight even after the main game is over. The low score is because of lack of replay value, which doesn't matter to some people anyway on an RPG like this, simply get the most out of it that you can on the first playthrough.

Overall: 9.5-10/10
Just keep in mind that the game was made how it is intentionally. I'm not sure but I would say that the developers spent plenty of time on it and it shouldn't be missed just because it is not well known.
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on July 16, 2011
Note that I haven't beaten the game yet.

-The character designs are decent, and all of the characters have good personalities.
-The game is set in our world, circa 19th century but with magic.
-The skill trees allow you to upgrade special commands for each character.
-The automap that appears on the bottom screen is very helpful for town navigation.
-There is a save/full heal point before every boss.
-A character's HP and MP are fully restored upon levelling up.
-Effectively, you are free to spam your abilities in dungeons.

-You can't use the touch screen as an interface in battles or to move your characters throughout the world.
-Levelling up system
I hate the levelling up in this game. Firstly, there are, as far as I know no passive skills. Secondly, this game uses a system where every time you win a battle, you obtain skill points which you use to advance your tech trees. The problem lies in the fact that the entire party shares the same supply of skill points. In other words, you are frequently forced to choose which character's skills you want to improve. And once the black mage joins your party, this gets ridiculous because she learns an ability or two every time she levels up and you have to spend 100 skill points just so that she can use the command. Maybe you're supposed to unlock these abilities later when your enemies start dropping more skill points, but I don't know.
-Random Encounters
I don't have a problem with the random encounter rate in this game, per se. My problem is that battles take forever, even once you've learned that you are free to spam your abilites with the melee characters. If you try going all out on your enemies and concentrate all of your fire power on the same enemy, they go down quickly. Unfortunately, this doesn't work because the mage will burn through her MPs way too quickly. So combat becomes unnecesarilly annoying in this game.
-The zepellin is useless
And by useless, I mean that you aren't immune to random encounters. I should point out that not all RPGs use this mechanic, which is a bit of a cliche. For example, in Final Fantasy III (NDS), you can still be attacked in your airship. However, the random encounter rate is FAR lower than when walking on the ground. Now, in Nostalgia, it feels like I am fighting more random encounter battles that I faced in the dungeons filled with monsters. Unfortunately, the only way to go between two towns is to use the zepellin, making getting between two towns a chore. And the same problem with the basic enemies being able to take too many hits for the battles to end quickly apply here as well.
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on July 14, 2013
i love this game.
it has everything all the classics do..
its pure turn-based, cool places to go,
and the two different kinds of turn based battles makes it unique.

i love having to save up for airship parts,
i love saving up the SP points and distributing them to advance the skills,
i love the sheer amount of detail, and extra stuff to do.

recommended if you like dragon quest series,
old school final fantasy, shadow hearts series.

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on August 7, 2011
This game could have been PERFECT. It feels a lot of like the lovechild of Final Fantasy and Indiana Jones, especially in the beginning. As per usual FF, you essentially have your four main character classes (Knight, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage), but it's mixed into our own world with archaeologists and guns. This game is really fun IF you enjoy the style of earlier Final Fantasy games.

However, there is a huge but. Unlike FF where you get the airship after some significant time into the game, you get the airship immediately and upgrade it. Unfortunately, you get hassled by super strong monsters while in the air. I got wiped out more than once in an airship battle, but never lost a 'real' battle with all of my people. The airship part was what ruined it for me, especially since there's an after game and a fair amount of quests.
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on November 30, 2009
Nostalgia would be a nice throwback to old-school JRPGs...if there weren't already old-school JPRGs like Final Fantasy III and Dragon Quest V. Regardless, this game is by no means bad.

In case you didn't know already, Nostalgia takes place in an alternate 19th Century, where a boy named Eddie searches for his missing father and deals with a secret society searching for ancient tablets.

The biggest feature that appealed to me is that the world is actually based on Earth, so you can visit familiar sites like New York City, Cairo, and Tokyo, and visit some less-than-familiar places like Cape Town, Mt. Ararat, and Easter Island. It's teaching you geography, but without the watered-down experience of an edutainment game (though it isn't entirely accurate) Another feature is the airship battles, which function just like normal battles (albeit with different tactics). A third new feature is a Skill Point system, which you gain by fighting enemies, to level up whichever spells you want.

On the downside, the difficulty feels unbalanced. Since your airship doesn't level up, it can feel like you're hitting a roof when you run out of weapons and upgrades to buy. Also, again, this game tries to throw back to the old RPG days, so people will say the game "plays it safe", or it can even feel cliché. However, as someone who doesn't play many modern RPGs, I feel at home here.

So go ahead and pick this up if you're in for an RPG fix. And if it helps any, I've heard comparisons to Skies of Arcadia.
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on August 2, 2013
RPG games are our best friends-they keep us going! I played this game briefly,yet in the little time I did,it was great! Even my sister enjoyed it too! It's hard getting around to all these RPG games,because we have quite a number of them-they are quite an experience! We deeply appreciate your big time business,and making OUR experience with you all the best in shopping with you!! We love you all!
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on March 29, 2013
I did enjoy this game for a while, but it eventually began to drag on me. Not really anything amazing combat or gameplay-wise, but nothing really wrong with it either. Turn-based combat fans will probably enjoy it and stick with it more than I did.
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