Pinch Me, Pinch Me…
Generally totally different generally is a good factor, and typically it’s a catastrophe. With the discharge of Rhapsody II on PlayStation, it felt just like the tales of Cornet and Kururu had lastly come to a detailed. Then NIS determined that extra tales wanted to be informed within the type of Rhapsody III: Recollections of Marl Kingdom, which together with its predecessor has lastly gotten an English launch by way of Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles. Sadly, this extra sport does little aside from to interrupt the attraction and pleasure the collection is thought for.
The sport is damaged up into six brief tales, every specializing in totally different characters all through the Marl Kingdom collection. The primary story is about Cornet’s early adventures, whereby she helps a younger mushroom woman search for her mom. The second story focuses on the Miss Marl Kingdom Competitors, the place Kururu should show to her father, King Ferdinand, that her love for Cello is true. By far the silliest story comes third and entails the Marjoly household and their lacking Nyankos. The fourth story is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, whereby Pekoyan, who works for the Akurjo household, is in love with Pokoyan, who is part of the Marjoly household. As star-crossed lovers, they need to discover a method to make their relationship work. Maybe the longest story is the fifth one, which is about a thousand years earlier than the unique Rhapsody, and focuses on Cherie (the mom of Cornet), her life from the final days of the Historic civilization up till her loss of life. The ultimate chapter is a boss rush, the place gamers can use any of the characters from the earlier chapters to tackle the Horrible Overlord.
A typical problem with brief story collections is that they’ll differ in high quality, and that’s undoubtedly the case with Rhapsody III. The primary story involving Cornet is without doubt one of the worst, as it’s a ineffective story that provides completely nothing to the unique Rhapsody, and it’s tormented by a number of the extra irritating characters, the mushroom individuals often known as the Elingers. It’s no marvel why this facet story wasn’t included within the authentic sport, however curiously was added to the DS model of Rhapsody. The opposite massive stinker comes within the type of the fourth story involving two Nyankos who’re in love, however merely entails nothing greater than backtracking and boring busywork. The boss rush chapter is an extra chapter for followers who need extra content material, however can also be not rewarding in any method.
The second story involving Kururu is best, as there’s nice humour in King Ferdinand specifically, however once more it’s only a foolish facet story that does give Kururu her pleased ending but additionally doesn’t really feel completely crucial. The third story involving the Marjoly household is the shortest, chock stuffed with the type of silly humour one would count on from these characters, however once more doesn’t give us something new concerning their tales. The fifth chapter, and longest story, is the one one that actually feels prefer it tells an necessary story concerning the Marl Kingdom solid, because it focuses on Cherie, Cornet’s mom, from the start of her life to the tip. Not solely is it the best-written story, however it’s one the place each second really feels prefer it issues, and we get to know a lot extra concerning the supporting characters and their humble beginnings.
Nearly all of the tales really feel very brief, have bizarre pacing, and don’t add something to the general Marl Kingdom universe. It’s a disgrace too as a result of whereas the tales usually are not superb, the localization tries its hardest to maintain the dialogue partaking and humorous. The hassle is notable and appreciated, however it will probably’t repair the sport’s precise choices. The minimal voice appearing that’s in Rhapsody III is implausible, with the English solid doing an excellent job of enjoying into how over-the-top all of the characters are. There additionally aren’t as many songs in Rhapsody III, which is gloomy, and the songs that do exist are sung in Japanese with English subtitles. What music that’s current, nevertheless, is great and whimsy, precisely what one would count on from the zaniness of the Rhapsody collection.
One other space the place Rhapsody III drops the ball is its fight system. That includes conventional turn-based fight, with a couple of twists, gamers have as much as twelve characters divided into 4 rows. Gamers solely have direct management over the leaders on the entrance of the road. All different characters are thought of companions, who carry out their actions robotically, although it’s random as as to whether they’ll assault or use magic. Assigning companions modifies the stats of row leaders and unlocks particular skills. The sport additionally makes use of a talent level (SP) system, as an alternative of Rhapsody II‘s methodology of utilizing foreign money, which is an unremarkable change.
Merely put, it’s not an excellent battle system. Twelve characters to regulate is just too many, and there’s no method to predict what the back-row characters will do. In numerous circumstances, the recruitable monsters are too underleveled, requiring grinding to be helpful. That is made all of the tougher as a result of the sport’s problem is very unbalanced. Some chapters, corresponding to Marjoly’s one, are method too straightforward, whereas others such because the Nyanko have a combination of bosses being each too straightforward and too exhausting. The battle system by no means fairly finds its rhythm, and it’s all of the extra miserable as a result of the fundamentals of it are so boring besides. Rhapsody III’s battle system is a boring slog, which might maybe be ignored if the sport had a constant problem. Sadly, that’s not the case.
Given Rhapsody III got here out on PlayStation 2 in 2000 and will have seemed good for its time, however the mix of 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds isn’t precisely interesting wanting in 2023. It will have been good to see the sprites being given an HD therapy, however even that doubtless wouldn’t repair how janky a number of the background areas look. Is it an unsightly sport? No. However as port given a contemporary 2023 launch, it’s not precisely pleasant-looking both. It additionally doesn’t assist that gamers might be visiting numerous these areas time and again, making for a really uninteresting dungeon-crawling expertise. A minimum of there’s the profit that it’s exhausting to overlook the place to go in areas one has already traversed.
I adored Rhapsody and Rhapsody II, however Rhapsody III seems like an pointless addition to this enjoyable collection. The sport seems like extra of a money seize, providing mediocre tales concerning the collection’ great solid of characters, and it’s accompanied by uninspired dungeons and query fight design. Rhapsody III was a rollercoaster I used to be begging to get off as a result of the fixed ups and downs felt like whiplash. Two out of six brief tales usually are not sufficient for me to suggest Rhapsody III, even for collection followers, however one might say its presence for a bundle helped lastly give Rhapsody II its welcome western launch.
Disclosure: This evaluation relies on a free copy of the sport offered by the writer.
MUSIC & SOUND
Music and voice appearing are stable
Quick story construction has no actual repay
Difficultly is unbalanced
Boring dungeon design and battle system