Review: Nostalgia (DS)

by Travis Woodside on

I find the cover art makes me nostalgic for Hitler's Third Reich actually.

t’s odd to feel nostalgic for something brand new, but this is what “Nostalgia” accomplishes. It’s a traditionally made JRPG for the DS with turn based random battles across an overworld with airships. It’s hard for it to get more traditional than this, but it does by focusing the story on adventure and exploration and away from overly dramatic androgynous protagonists. The initial plot here is simple; Eddie Brown must find his father, a famous adventurer, whom has gone missing. In the process; he will make new friends, do all sorts of side quests, and generally waste as much time as any old fashioned RPG character would when you’d wrongfully assume they’d be focused on the mission at hand. Even when plot developments expose new urgent dangers… “No, I’ve got to find this woman’s lost ring.”

“Nostalgia” certainly aims for my demographic. I’ve been a little annoyed with overly complex RPGs that move away from the more typical formula. This is not to say that new kinds of games aren’t good, but that doesn’t mean I want to leave old systems of play behind entirely either. And given that the only way to have a typical RPG adventure on the DS is by playing remakes, “Nostalgia” earns some major points for having a new story with new characters. I admit I might be in the minority but when a type of game is focused on the story and the experiences you have I just don’t care as much for new magic systems or demon collecting. For that matter, why do a lot of more recent RPGs not even have overworlds? Those things are great!

It's a pretty shot, which proves absolutely everything about my review. Soon all will come to listen to me.

espite all my praise for the game sticking to its focus of being nostalgic, my primary complaint is that they may not have taken it far enough. The game takes place on earth, for example. No, not some planet like earth. It’s earth. The game starts in 19 century London, and you’ll find yourself moving on through Egypt, India, Japan, and all sorts of real locations. There are also a few mythological earth locations thrown in, but I don’t really want to spoil them. It’s a sort of steampunk world, and while I appreciate its uniqueness, it clashes with what would have been far more nostalgic for me: a straight up fantasy adventure. Likewise, while the title gets rid of annoying melodrama I sometimes find it not dramatic enough. It’s almost too happy-go-lucky at times. While I can barely stand it when a game is as bleak as Final Fantasy VII tries to be, at least I felt like there was some major drive behind my actions. The characters in “Nostalgia” barely seem to acknowledge the dangers they face, so it can be a bit hard to get yourself into the world the game is trying to create. It has a very “Indiana Jones” serial vibe to it, but even Dr. Jones was clinically depressed for a while when he thought Marion was killed in Raiders. That is not to say that there’s no drama at all, but that the balance between happy-go-lucky adventure and serious threats from a villain are uneven.

And so Treebeard finally dies at my hand.

ltimately, there is nothing to hate here. “Nostalgia” is a fine RPG that is thankfully not a port of anything else but is well in keeping with traditional gameplay you already know you adore. It features full 3D graphics which might be a turn off to some of you (Garman), but they’re as fantastic and fluid as can be done on the handheld. And to top it all off, you “Skies of Arcadia” fans should be happy because Nostalgia also features full on airship battles. They’re not as intriguing as those in SoA as they function virtually the same way as ground battles do here, but you do get to customize the airship with new parts. It’s pretty cool.

“Nostalgia” is a well made tribute to an arguably bygone era. If you like JRPGs you have little excuse to avoid jaunting around 19th century cities to explore dungeons and find loot. It doesn’t break any new ground, but it will bring you new experiences.

[![]/mrface4.jpg "Mr. Face say this game GOOD. Mr. Face never wrong!")

*Mr. Face say this game GOOD.

Mr. Face never wrong!*