Friday, 25 September 2009

Chocobo Tales

Chocobo Tales is personally one of the few mini-games based games that I can stand (Even If I do secretly hate It), this is probably due to the fact that I'm an outrageously dense Final Fantasy fan boy and I'll buy into anything that's branded Square/SquareEnix (Except when you bang in a series of 12 year old scene kids and Disney characters).
Chocobo Tales is mini-game based series; With two games within the series, but I'll be reviewing only the first one, as clearly the first Chocobo Tales was not good enough to inspire me to buy the sequel.
The game stars you as a Chibi Chocobo living within a small village with a bunch of other Chocobos, a black Mage and a girl; Which really didn't make much sense to me, but considering the ideal demographic of this game was 10 year olds that enjoy Kingdom Hearts, I had to reconsider my standards and work out that the plot wasn't the main selling point for this game, instead the chibi graphics and touch screen gimmick mini-games were.




The actual plot for the game is rather confusing, but does some how have a little charm which comes from the actual mini-games and how they're implemented within the game, within the medium of Children's stories and nursery rhymes; These are within books placed around the map that you can travel around, all with their own Final Fantasy version of the stories, such as Cactuar and Adamantoise/Turtle and The Hare, The boy who cried Leviathan/The boy who cried Wolf, etc.
For me, this is where the charm of the game stopped; I personally found the idea of playing these Mini-games a chore first time round, let alone the three or four extra times that you may have to play through on harder difficulties to unlock the next mini-game.




The game also features Micro-games, which are basically mini-games that have no real effect on the story and simply give you bonus items or cards (We'll get to the card system soon), these Micro-games are usually the most frustrating experience you'll ever have as they're usually 30-60 second long challenges, such as stopping at Adamantoise before it falls off a cliff, solving mini-puzzles and other such ridiculous tasks that you won't enjoy, but you'll find yourself playing through them because you know that you're only wasting a short amount of your life in doing so, which for some strange reason justifies it.

Another feature of the game is the card battle system; Which I guess somewhat qualifies this game as an RPG, but very loosely. With the card battle feature you have to use the cards that you've gathered from playing Micro and Mini-games within the main game, these can only be acquired from completing the games with high enough scores to qualify you for a gold or silver medal (Because apparently Bronze = fuck all; In fact, Bronze is so inadequate, that Square didn't even include a Bronze medal, merely a "Failure"), depending on the level of your medal, the more or higher quality card you get.

The actual card battling is one of the most boring RPG systems that I've ever taken part in; Whilst it is simple, it's boring and really doesn't do the Final Fantasy series and justice - A series known for it's RPG talent - And whilst you may argue that Chocobo Tales is not a main part of the Final Fantasy series, it is still under the development of Square and should therefore; You know - Be atleast bearable to play.
It has you using cards that you've gathered against bosses that only appear a few times in the game, which to me destroys the entire point of an RPG, especially considering you spend 80% of the game gathering these cards to battle with and in the end only actually battle with them about ten times throughout the entire game.

As stated before, it's only defining feature are the way that mini-games are presented to you, which to me doesn't qualify the need to pay £40 for; I honestly struggle to accept this game as anything except a rather small collection of mini-games that doesn't quite know what it wants to be; Another mediocre RPG on the market, a small mini-game collection or a rather pitiful Trading card game - It was as if Square put together a rather poor quality RPG, answering only fan service by placing a Chocobo as the main character, then realised that the game lacked any depth and any depth that it did has was wasted on 10 year olds; So they threw in some basic mini-games and a card system and BAM~! Some more money into the big pot of Gil.

And as a Final Fantasy fan, I honestly felt this didn't answer my fan service needs; Which presumably was the entire point of this game series? Where were the other critters that we all love within the Final Fantasy series? Mogs/Moogles weren't there - And if there were any that I missed in my IN DEPTH play through of this mini-game collection with a pitiful story, then they weren't a large enough part..Or had really bad sprites?

As a round up of Chocobo Tales; I'd say buy it if you're REALLY into Final Fantasy - And I mean - REALLY, REALLY into Final Fantasy. Or of course If you enjoyed the other parts of the series or you're really into Mini-games; But be warned, If you're really into Mini-games, then perhaps it's best to pick up Mario Party or another mini-game series.

4/10

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