Revenant Wings – Portable roleplaying done right!

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I picked up Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings when it came out and man was I ever surprised by this game! I’ve come to expect pretty much everything with the Final Fantasy name attached to it to be an instant classic, but even so, I still felt some skepticism of a roleplaying game on a handheld. Good handheld RPGs just plain don’t exist–or so I thought until I plugged this little plastic cartridge full of win into my DS.

Now before you start attacking me for making the generalization that all handheld RPGs suck I’ll just say that there have been some pretty good handheld RPGs, but nothing that you could actually call a truly epic RPG, nor that you could call anything more than good. Minish Cap, for example, was fun, but it was by no means as awesome as Twilight Princess or Ocarina Of Time. RPGs just don’t tend to lend themselves to handheld gaming.

Revenant Wings sought to change that, and it succeeded tremendously. Most handheld RPGs are basically time-wasters with a storyline, while Revenant Wings is an epic adventure with a quick and modular gameplay system, so you don’t have to play through hours upon hours of grinding to walk across a single map to the next story segment. The first FFXII was an excellent game, albeit plagued with the never-ending grind gameplay of FFXI.

Revenant Wings basically structures the game into ‘mission’ segments reminiscent of Tactics with it’s victory conditions system. Each map usually starts with an intro event where the characters talk a bit about what is going on, then there is a bunch of enemies to fight against and after that, a victory event where they talk about what they are going to do next.

The dialog is cleverly written to remind you where you left off in the previous mission and providing some depth of what will happen in the current mission. It has a powerful and intriguing story while still maintaining the handheld gaming style of being able to pick up where you left off easily without losing track of what was going on.

The graphics were also very beautiful. the DS isn’t as technologically capable as other handhelds in the graphics department, but many games like this more than make up for it in graphical style. Everything looks so cool and unique in the game and the epic landscapes from the first game certainly were well represented in this one.

The music, as with any Final Fantasy game, was fantastic. But I found the soundtrack to this game had a slightly different and powerful allure to it. It wasn’t just another rehash of the same soundtrack that has been used in every FF since the dawn of time. Much of the music was more radically expanded upon than in the previous games, which was rather refreshing to listen to.

If you have a DS and are a fan of RPGs I very highly recommend giving this game a try. I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked it so much that I made that nice shiny wallpaper for at the top from some of the awesome concept art I found for it on the net.

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