Plot Synopsis: 7/10
Fairly standard RPG material, here. The world is in danger. Someone needs saving. Small town boy has dreams of being a hero. Boy goes on mini-adventure, develops a taste for it, and decides to embark on a bigger adventure. Bigger adventure leads to him actually trying to save the world, while meeting up with new friends and companions, along the way.
Nothing original, here, as far as the basic outline of the story goes, but the story is relatively well-written, for the time period when the PS1 version of this game was released.
I'll give the plot a 7 out of 10. Nothing new, but they made it fun.
Game Play: 8/10
The basic set-up to the game play is fairly similar to the majority of RPGs out there. You wander around a given area. There are monsters also walking around who will occasionally rush you, if they see you. You can choose to fight the monster, or attempt to dodge it, as it runs at you (sometimes you can dodge it, sometimes you can't). Once brought into a battle, it's just your typical turn-based RPG battle arrangement. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Eventually, as the story progresses, you get the big boss battles. Added bonus: you can save your progress at any time, as long as you are not in the middle of a battle.
The controls are extremely easy and intuitive. TYou can use either the D-pad or the joystick to move. The X button interacts with things. The triangle button pulls up the menu screen. In battle, you use the D-pad to select your options, the X button to choose an option, and the circle button to go back a step. Über-easy.
Really, the game is essentially just walking then fighting, then more walking, then more fighting, over and over, until you finish the game. Nothing new. Really intuitive controls. Easy to figure out what to do. I'll give the game play an 8 out of 10. I'd score it higher, but it's hard to be innovative with the same handful of buttons, especially when remaking an older game.
The graphics are one area that has been noticeably updated, since the original PS1 version. There are smoother animations, during the battle sequences, and the character sprites are a couple of degrees better. The developers kept the original animé-style cutscenes, and so the graphics in the rest of the game aren't all super-realistic. But stylistically, they are consistent with everything else. They are simply an updated form of the cartoon-style graphics the game previously used.
Also, it is still easy to tell what everything is. Nothing is hard to make out or understand.
Thus, for updating the graphics for a newer, more powerful system, while maintaining the animé-style feel of the original game, AND keeping things easy to read, I will give the graphics a 9 out of 10.
The voice acting is actually pretty decent. Mildly over-acted, at times, but not unbearably so. The only actual voices that sound a little bizarre are the voices for monsters, but that's perfectly understandable.
The music is slightly better than average. It always portrays the appropriate mood for the moment. It is never overpowering. My only complaint is that there are never really any sequences, beyond the cinemas, that call for anything other than a loop that can repeat ad nauseum until the next scene starts. But, for the most part, the music is all perfectly adequate.
I'll give the audio, as a whole, an 8 out of 10. It's not perfect, but it could be a whole lot worse.
Overall Score: 8/10
There's a reason this game, after initially being released for the PS1, has been remade for the Game Boy Advance, and now updated again for the PSP. It is a well-written, well-produced game. It's fun, and engaging. It has very likable characters that the player can relate to about as well as anyone CAN relate to a character in a fictitious fantasy setting. Anyone who enjoys RPGs should enjoy this game.