Release Date: October 12, 2010
What I liked:
16bit era gameplay
What I disliked:
Music is awful
Input Lag, Bad Framerate
When Chris told me we had a sweet action JRPG on the docket, I was pumped to give it a shot. When he told me it was a mini and a port from the iPhone… I thought about running away. Turns out, Zenonia’s gonna surprise you… If you stick around to let it.
The game starts out with a lengthy intro. Blah Blah Blah, your dad gets killed by a demon and you avenge him by going on fetch quests. I want to say the intro takes a good 5-10 minutes, which kind of drags on and on, but you can skip it… but who does that. Eventually you’re off controlling the protagonist, Regret. I rip on the story here a bit, but it’s a pretty deep one at that, and surprisingly its self aware. At one point an NPC asks you if you know the history of the 5 seals. Your character responds with “No I’ve only been playing this game for a few hours.” It is fun to catch dialogue like that every once in awhile.
Zenonia’s low-point is its music… if you would call it that. Most of it consists of 10 second loops. I found this the most difficult part of the game, aside from the framerate problems, as I tried my best to make sure the music didn’t drill itself into my head. Graphics on the other-hand are gorgeous, especially for a minis title. I played the majority of the game on my PS3, and while things looked blown up, it still looked great. On a PSP, its bright, cheery, and can’t help but remind you of the glory days of the 16-bit era.
Gameplay consists of grindfests and fetch quests. Kill X of that, or go deliver this note, or go find this guy. Some might not like this kind of gameplay, but I found it reminding me of Deathspank. Attacking is simple, and Regret will usually auto target whoever is closest to you (This gets a bit hairy when multiple enemies start introducing themselves all at once to you). As you progress during the game you learn new attacks which can be mapped to a quick select menu on the HUD. I found this to be very useful. While exploring, you constantly level up and find new gear. Like most rpgs, you’ll attack monsters a level or two above you so as to gain the most experience while not dying (very often that is). At times you will meet brick walls that force you to grind so as to advance. In one instance, one cave held monsters ranging from my current level to five levels above. For the most part, this meant I was going to need to jump 5 levels in order to progress through the area.
So, while it’s a grindfest, it also extends playtime, and for a portable game, I’m not sure if this is such a big strike against it. The game also has one helluva menu system. It took a bit to get used to, as they are something like 7 layers deep. You can select stats to update, spells to learn, (both in the active and passive variety), and equip ya boy Regret with the latest in gear. There are massive amounts of gear to obtain which is great for the gamer that needs to Coleen everything. The downside is that it has durability points. Your stuff loses durability points way too fast and I found that there was always something in my load-out ready to break, which gets to be a pain.
I had a great time with this title and I’m glad it got ported over to minis, but the framerate just a little slower on the PSP when compared with other versions of this game. I can clearly state that this isn’t the best version of the game. Adding in the fact that it costs more on the PSP and you get a worse product makes have to give this game a slightly lower score than what it deserves. If there is a patch in the future I will gladly come back and revise the rating. However, for the time being, be warned. Hopefully the sequel, if it gets ported over, will have this problem fixed.
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