As of Wednesday we finally have some rpgs for the PSP. Much to my chagrin when I returned home from work that afternoon, David had already gone to the store without me and purchased a copy of The Legend of Heroes
, but it was easy to convince him to go back to Gamestop with me. I ended up buying Kingdom of Paradise
, a Chinese-style fantasy action rpg. It falls into the wuxia
without the aerial acrobatics genre (similar to Jade Empire
), which, while cool in its own right, is a bit of a disappointment after having had Weapons of the Gods
so heavily on the brain for the last month, but I don't think I'm far enough into it to say for sure. Based on about 45 minutes of play, I can say the following things fer'it and agin'it:
Negatives:* You can't jump.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: All action games, regardless of their secondary genre (RPG, Puzzler, Platformer, etc.) should include the ability to jump, even if it is completely cosmetic and has no effect on game play whatsoever. This applies triple to any game with kung fu.* The camera angles can't be adjusted.
In a standard old-school rpg view the camera is at a fixed point and you maneuver in a standard cardinal direction setup. KoP
, however, has a dynamic camera that moves and shifts in different directions depending on where you're standing and how you're moving. The problem is that it is completely computer-controlled and cannot be adjusted or rotated in any way by the player, making it rather disorienting. Again, this is a feature that should be standard in all action games by now.* Limited controls.
This actually is a feature I have mixed feelings about (see "Easy but customizable combat system" under positives for the other side). While I never want action rpgs to reach the same level of complexity in controls as, say, your typical fighting game, it seems to me that if you're going to be controlling your actions in real-time, there should be a certain level of variety to what you're doing, rather than simply tapping the O button over and over as fast as you can. While there were things I disliked about it, I think that Kingdom Hearts
really set the high standard for what an action rpg should be like in this respect. Defense of any kind is especially hard in KoP
, as blocking seems to be completely ineffectual, and there are no other defensive maneuvers (jumps, rolls, etc.) that you can perform other than just using your normal running back-and-forth controls.
Positives:* Great graphics.
They're nearly on par with some PS2 games I've seen, like Star Ocean III, and they capture the setting well.* Easy but customizable combat system.
This is the flipside of the "Limited Controls" issue above. The parts of the combat system that do work are actually pretty neat. You collect kenpu and bugei scrolls. Kenpu are individual attack maneuvers and bugei are combinations of maneuvers. You assign kenpu to slots within each bugei (so far, the exact kenpu and their order is determined by the Bugei, but supposedly there are "freestyle" bugei you can acquire which allow you to arrange them as you please), and then you choose which bugei to use during combat. You can easily switch between bugei in the middle of a fight, and all you have to do to use them is continue hitting the attack button. Each time you initiate a new attack, it will begin to perform the kenpu you have in your bugei in the order they have been assigned. Thus, as the game progresses, you should in theory acquire an increasing variety and combination of attacks that you can arrange and customize for combat use without having to memorize long sequences of button combinations. Very cool.
It's too early to make a call in regards to the story, but so far, so good.