Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is the latest SquareEnix-published remake on DS. Sitting alongside the likes of Dragon Quest V and Chrono Trigger, this jaunty tale of love and puppets tries to stand slightly to one side of the regular crowd. But a note for those who like their RPGs to be epic hundred-hour tales of grandeur; Rhapsody is not the game for you. In fact, it’s hard to be sure just who the game is aimed at, as its schizophrenic design flips between charming fairytale and time-consuming grindfest without a single ounce of actual challenge, either for the serious RPG fan or the beginner roleplayer. Oh, and did we mention that by ‘musical’ adventure it means exactly that, with the characters frequently getting on down and crooning their hearts out? This is all before heroine Cornet gains the ability to summon pancakes and pieces of sponge cake to attack enemies. Or before you recruit an army of puppets, all of whom want to get to heaven.
It’s hard not to get taken in by the weird and wonderful yarn as it begins to unfold. The dialogue is snappy and well-written, the characters of Cornet and Kururu instantly likeable, and the visuals – whilst clearly dated – are pleasant enough. The problems start to unfold once Cornet and co. reach the first dungeon and the adventuring part of the game begins.
Unlike its PS1 namesake, Rhapsody uses a traditional turn-based battle system; Fight and Evade, Attack, Magic and Item commands all make their usual appearance. It only takes a few battles, however, for Cornet and friends to become considerably overpowered – in most cases being able to annihilate groups of enemies (and at times even bosses) in a single turn. As you level up so do the enemies, but the level progression is so rapid that within a few encounters even the remotest threat of danger is removed.
The random battles come thick and fast too, which means that unless you frequently utilise the ‘escape’ command, you’ll spend much of the game being ridiculously overpowered. Rhapsody includes an ‘Auto’ battle command, which hands control of battles over to the game. No matter how fancy lightning strikes or pancake attacks might be, the least tedious way of playing the game is to select ‘Auto’ for every fight, only taking over on boss fights. That way you can sit back and take in the delightful story, which is where the game really shines.
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