Sunday, May 18, 2008

Final Fantasy CCMLAAK First Impressions

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King Impressions
My first WiiWare game, and I must say that it has been a generally good start to the service.

The game costs 1,500 Wii Points($15), and takes up 287 blocks of your Wii's Internal Memory. The game features Download Center, which will unlock more buildings and dungeons for your game, but it will cost you anywhere between 100-900 Wii Points, and take up a few more blocks. The game is developed by Square Enix, the developers of such classics as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. As well as recent hits like The World Ends With You.
You will start off the game in a small kingdom, with a castle and a nice set of sturdy walls to protect you. You are the young king of this land, and you will be aided by Chime and Hugh Yurg. You and your partners find the kingdom completely empty at the start of the game, and after some cutscenes you will be given the power of Architek(building), Architek allows you to build houses(among a variety of other structures), Chime will give you a briefing on how Architek works and you will be allowed to build the first houses in your kingdom. Along with the houses come their inhabitants, often a father/mother figure and a young adventurer. After you have built 3 houses you will realize that your elementite has run out, and without elementite you cannot build anything. At this point the crystal will tell you that more elementite can be found in the dungeons and caverns surrounding your kingdom. You yourself want to go and get the elementite but Chime says that that is no job for a king(she's like your mom!) and that you should try to find some young civilian adventurers to go and fight for you.
A board just outside of your castle will show the adventurers that you hire the behests(quests) that they can complete on that day(chosen by you), you can then head down to the behest board and tell as many adventurers as you want to go out and try to complete that behest. The adventurers will then head out and attempt to complete their jobs, you can monotor their progress in the top right hand corner of the screen, but you cannot see any of their actions outside of town. If they complete their behests before the day is over you will be rewarded with whatever elementite they collected, along with a small portion of gold. The dungeons will start off easy, but eventually you will get some high level dungeons, and the loot will grow with the difficulty of the dungeon. You can hire 5 adventurers to help you complete the behests, and after a short time you will be allowed to build adventurer buildings(as I like to call them), these buildings will help equip your adventurers with all the things they need to complete their missions. And the best part is, the adventurers will spend money for equipment as they see fit, so you don't have to worry about who has what, the game will do it for you.
TIP: Build all of these buildings(Item Shop, Weapon Shop, Tavern, Guild Hall, Armor Shop, Black/White Mage Temples and Hugh Yurg's Training Area) NEAR your behest boards, if these buildings are spread out it will take your adventurers a while to get to them, and in doing so cut down on their time to complete behests(days are VERY short, they need to be quick at getting out of town).
Now your job in town is to use your ability to build the town up as big as you can, with the elementite that your adventurers bring back. Building your town can be a hassle at times, but once you have put it all together it is nice to sit back and watch your town blossom with activity. You can build Bakeries and Emporiums for your citizens, who will love the smells from the bakery, and the great deals the emporium offers. Also building these buildings will allow you to hold more morale balls(under the elementite and gold tallies in the upper left hand corner), and these can be a big help for improving your citizens friendships(and making the days last longer in the process). You will also be allowed to build spacious houses for your citizens, these houses will bring the standards(an adult and an adventurer) but they will also include 2-3 more citizens, making your population skyrocket(plus a cool blimp will show up the day after you build a spacious house, and drop off the new citizens). After Chapter 2 you will be allowed to dismantle and rebuild structures(you get the elementite back, so don't worry about wasting it) so feel free to experiment with town layouts.
A couple of small features I would like to point out. The more you use the morale balls the happier your citizens will be, and when they are happy they will keep their lights on longer, allowing the days to last longer, and while this takes some effort the reward is quite worth it. Another cool little feature is that the adventurers near a temple will get a small boost in stats, those professors teach things to everyone I guess. Also make sure that you use Chime, Pavlov, Hugh Yurg and the Moogle Brothers to their fullest potential, talk to them often!
Controls for this game are quite simple: (Control Pad)-will move the camera around for you. (A)- is for selecting citizens/options. (-/wave of the Wiimote)-will summon Chime. (+)-Allows you to move around the village from an aerial view, you can select citizens and get their names in this view. (1/2/B/C)-Nothing during general play. (Z)-Adjusts the camera 90 degrees. (Control Stick)-Movement around town.
The controls are quick and easy to master, when you stand on a patch of land shake the Wiimote to summon Chime and begin building there.
Download Center for this game is rather expensive, but the rewards are very good. The Download Center will cost you anywhere between 100-900 Wii Points, and these will unlock extra dungeons and bosses that your adventurers can go and defeat. Beating any of these special dungeons will get you a reward(depending on what you bought), these rewards can be anything from new races to Sacred Shrines for your adventurers. The real question is whether or not you think the DLC is worth it, if you don't then by all means do not get it. But if you want to unlock the games full potential then DLC will be needed.
Some of the little annoyances I have noticed in this game are: You cannot choose which board an adventurer goes to. The music can get dull. Some minor lag spots. And that the town, while large, also fills up quickly.
In the end, while this game can be a bit costly(on both blocks and Wii Points) the experience is generally a good one, with or without the download center. And yes while there are some glaring details the devlopers should have corrected the good outweighs the bad in just about every subject. The sheer length of the game, and the ability to always rework and tinker with your city(and the promise of more DLC items) should make this game atleast worth the $15 you spent on it, the game is an addictive experience that should keep you coming back for more, day's after you bought it.
Happy Building!

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