Sands of Destruction Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by GameSoul, Jan 24, 2010.

Jan 24, 2010

Sands of Destruction Review by GameSoul at 9:15 PM (3,724 Views / 0 Likes) 13 replies

  1. GameSoul
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    Member GameSoul youtube.com/variantdevil

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    [​IMG]

    This is a really popular RPG that was just released to the States, and I wanted to give it a try, seeing how my DS is collecting dust. Playing as the 'villians' in an RPG isn't something you get to do often, so I had to go for it. Some people were having problems with the game, from puzzles to just trying to get it to work, but the Game Help section on GBATemp, and the release thread offers valuable info on how to clear difficult dungeons, explanations on the battle system, and other things you may need. Oh, and don't forget Google. [​IMG] On with the review.


    Storyline

    'The world, run by a dominant race known as Ferals (beastlords), has binded Humans to slavery and discrimination. The world is viewed as unrepairable, and a small group of Humans called the World Annihilation Front wish to end it. The leader of this force seeks the power capable of completing the task.'

    The character development in this game is very minimal in the beginning. Everyone seems to just 'go with the flow' like stated in the game. As many characters get dragged into Morte's problems, they just fall into the group for World Destruction. Things are cleared up after the game explains each character's memories, so it more than makes up for it.

    There have been reports that the story was changed for US release to be more appropriate for kids. I dunno, I just get a Kingdom Hearts vibe sometimes in this game. The plot is new to me and I find it very interesting.

    9/10


    Gameplay

    As you travel around, there are many enemies to fight, many side-quests, and some really difficult puzzles and mazes. Each region in the game has different monsters and new challenges. Often, I find moving around in towns very annoying. All towns are in isometric view only, and you must walk diagonally 90% of the time to get around. This can be very straining on the thumbs while doing certain puzzles. Only dungeons allow the camera angle to be changed. The top left corner of the touch screen shows a small blue icon that tells you if the camera is allowed. This is good for dungeons, when looking for switches or treasure chests. It can also be confusing, because many areas look alike and when the camera changes on you in the middle of a map it is very easy to get lost or go the wrong way if you aren't paying attention.

    I never have to worry about gold in this game. There is loads of it, thanks to the hundreds of random encounters I run into when I'm lost or wandering around. Please save up and don't waste it, because the game hits you out of the blue with expensive weapons towards the end and trust me, you will need them.

    Each character has their own set of clothing and weaponry, and two accessories that can be equipped in the Party menu. Weapons, clothes, and accessories can be bought from merchants, shops, or found in spoils after defeating enemies. A few quests even give items as a reward. For those who are looking to customize weapons, you are in luck. Certain weapons can be taken to a Smithy to be imbued with gems and power-ups, or they can be extracted from to use on another weapon.

    Along with all these things, there are also quotes your characters acquire as you advance in the story. These are called Quips and they are very useful in battles, from increasing attack and defense to lowering the wait time in between turns.


    [​IMG]

    The battle system is very simple, but if you don't know what you are doing, you most likely won't get far in this game. I had to look around the internet for hints and tips since I didn't have any type of strategy guide or the instruction booklet you get with buying the game at retail stores. There are many elements to it that can make the game a breeze or send you to your doom. In battle, you can choose from physical attacks, special skills, items, or defending. If in a hurry or in danger of losing a random encounter battle, you can flee by using the L and R buttons. When taking turns, the game uses a sort of multi-attack system. Each enemy and ally has BP, which stand for Battle Points and is the number of actions you can do in one turn. Equipping certain items or Quips can raise or lower your morale, which affects how BP you have. Combos are so fun to do, it's awesome. It's my favorite thing about this game. Mindless beatings flung at opponents is the heart of this game.

    Oh man, the difficulty in this game is all over the place. One minute, you are owning everything that you cross paths with, the next you get slaughtered pitifully. Bosses tend to use skills to get a whole day worth of BP. I could run a few laps around the block, get a bite to eat, do my homework, and the damn thing is still attacking me. For the weaker bosses, one or two levels is all it takes to be able to pull off that win.

    Tons of skills are available to level up via CP or Customization Points. There is a level cap that gradually rises as your characters level up. When applying CP, the effectiveness of the skill can change. This is for balancing the skill so it isn't overpowered. For instance, if you apply all your CP to accuracy, the strength turns to mulch and vice versa. There are a few secrets to the skills that become obvious as you play the game and mess around with skills more.

    Once you get a skill to level 7, you will be asked to Fortify the skill (increases the skill's ability or if used on Flurry skills, may link them together to be used in a chain during combat), or add 2 Custom Gauge points, which I really haven't found a use for yet. At level 10, you can add 2 more custom slots, or increase the CP level cap by 5. When doing this for flurry 1 and 2, get Fortify. You just can't go wrong with it. This makes the game much less stressful, because chains get you more BP, plus lots of chances to attack, and if the target is still breathing it opens an opportunity to rape the enemy with a Special Attack if your BP is maxed. Chains only consume one BP too so make sure you do this. Mixing in a few Blow attacks with Flurries can rack up huge combos.

    Overall, the battle system is great in this game once you understand it. However, you'd think when you fight huge stone statues that it will take ages to win, but they go down in about 5 minutes. Regardless, it works and that's all I can say about it.

    8.5/10




    Graphics

    [​IMG]

    Video cutscenes are great. They can be grainy at times, but it is watchable. Towns, dungeons, and shrines have much detail, yet look a bit blurry because of the scaling. I had no idea Naja wore glasses until I used his special attack. There is some nice animation in the background though, which is a plus. The game's framerate is very stable, not a single slowdown that I've seen. It does seem like individual attacks take forever to do, but that is probably lag between commands or the developers left it how it was.

    7.5/10



    Audio

    the soundtrack is very well put together and I believe had some influence from Mitsuda. Despite having a good soundtrack, the voice acting is deemed horrible by many. There are even pauses between sentences. The actors were pretty mediocre. I found it bearable because it's English and I only prefer Japanese audio when the English is not available. I cannot be bothered to undub anything.

    The SFX are kinda plain, a bit too plain when it comes to explosions. The voice overs are understandable and do not hurt my ears so no complaints there. I will say however, that music in dungeons with high random encounters just starts to get on my nerves after a long time. If you dislike any type of sound, the voices, or music, you can just turn them off in the settings.

    7/10


    Final Thoughts

    I think they could have made very simple improvements in this game, like:

    - having an Easy, Normal, or Hard mode.
    - Wireless item trading with other players
    - A New Game+ and more side quests
    - Item and Weapon fusions
    - combo breakers

    Overall

    The battle system is good for mindless fun, but a bit disappointing for those who wish for epic boss battles. The difficulty isn't very stable at all. I did enjoy the storyline for what it was though. If you played this game looking for character development, a deep interesting story and all of that, this might be for you. Great music, random battles, powerful combos and God hunting is what this game is about. I say if you are bored, love turn-based RPGs, and in need of a reason to pick your DS up again, try out this game.

    7.9/10
     
  2. Overlord Nadrian

    Banned Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    Good review, but I'd give the game a 6.5/10. It's WAAAY too slow, and the ridiculous pauses beween sentences are incredibly annoying. It's also a bit on the easy side. I have to give it some credit for the good story and the nice graphics though.
     
  3. GameSoul
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    Member GameSoul youtube.com/variantdevil

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    Are you talking about the pauses in between transition to the next character, or they way they talked?
     
  4. Ishidori

    Member Ishidori GBAtemp Regular

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    I'm dissapointed with that of get the final weapons, in fact after Lyse i never upgrade my equipments and was too swift, i would like if the enemy were able to do some combo-breakers or something. Bosses only get mad without reason just to give you a fake feeling of dificulty because trough all the battle they just cause hilarious damage. I'm pretty dissapointed with the last part of the story -well i'm not going to say any spoiler-

    Though i enjoyed the game. As Hoverlord said 6.5 /10
     
  5. GameSoul
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    Haha, combo breakers. I think everyone in the game should have it. It is ridiculous when bosses just attack you endlessly and you can't do anything about it. I got a bit generous with the score since I don't play RPGs on the DS very often. Also, I heard there were supposed to be hidden weapons throughout the game.
     
  6. Uncle FEFL

    Member Uncle FEFL OBJECTION!

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    Exact reason why I can't beat Rajiv in the Sky Gaol right now. Everyone except Kyrie enters the battle with low morale, so I only get about four or five hits in before my team is completely destroyed. The sad thing is I changed their equipment around for that morale reason, but there has been no changes at all.

    I figure I should just play the game over again and haxx all of their flurry attacks.
     
  7. Mr.Mysterio

    Member Mr.Mysterio GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Yeah, a Difficulty mode and a New Game+ with more sidequests would have made this game a better one. The difficulty is really unbalanced. I had trouble with Serpens Rex even though I was overleveled but the last boss was damn easy even though was under-leveled. I didnt even have everyones ultimates.
     
  8. thedevastator

    Newcomer thedevastator Newbie

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    i agree with everything, great review, i was just waitin for mention about all the damn mazes. I just got to the Light Temple and there is a damn maze to get into the stupid temple, taking a break to play Glory of Heracles now
     
  9. Ishidori

    Member Ishidori GBAtemp Regular

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    In depths memories sell some good weapons, but after see how i was kicking every single butt i didn't see the meaning. But i love the music of this game, is in my personal list of the Mitsuda work (Chrono Cross, Xenogears, SoD, Soma Bringer,Chrono Trigger).
     
  10. noammax

    Member noammax GBAtemp Regular

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    Good job with the review!!
     
  11. Overlord Nadrian

    Banned Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    The pauses in between transition to the next character.

    Also, to that guy calling me Hoverlord: call me Nathan [​IMG]
     
  12. Leo Cantus

    Member Leo Cantus So zeta slow!

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    Great review! Loved the way you summed it up. I am bored and need a new DS game since I completed Spirit Tracks
     
  13. GameSoul
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone!
     
  14. I am r4ymond

    Member I am r4ymond PFE

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    Good review. I was very disappointed with this game because it didn't have a Multiplayer mode. If they had a Multiplayer Mode, I would've been playing this game for a month, probably. Overall, the game was good. The English dub wasn't really that bad. I found the Storyline a bit exciting and funny at times.
     

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