Ragnarok DS - NDS - Review
There comes a time when the narrative of a video game begs for more explanation or elaboration. Whether through cut scenes or dialogue, it doesn’t matter – players deserve reasoning to their character’s reaction to any plot device. In regards to Ragnarok DS, GungHo Online Entertainment failed to give players any desire to gain a better understanding of the storyline or characters – it’s a bitter ride from the get-go.
Telling the story of a character that players can name to their own discretion, Ragnarok DS doesn’t start out with a bang, rather it throws people into a 15-20 minute dialogue driven introduction that will drive players to sleep. Stumbling across an amnesiac woman – how convenient! – the main character is off to adventure and solve all the problems in the world. Any way you slice it, Ragnarok DS is a cookie-cutter RPG with not much a soul to it.
Aside from the droning story, Ragnarok DS employs numerous amounts of character classes to select such as: Thief, Archer, Martial Artist, Merchant, Swordsman, Magician and a few others. The further along players play through Ragnarok DS, the more points they’ll earn to spend on base stats (strength, luck, defense, etc.) and skills for the classes. Each class is able to evolve into another class, so players are often becoming stronger and more adept at their craft throughout the title.
It’s apparent that the MMO background of the Ragnarok franchise has helped out GOE develop an in-depth system to tinker with. Leveling up characters and upgrading their weapons, Ragnarok DS has a plethora of customization to optimize in, but sadly, the storyline and slow pace of the RPG is tedious to the point of angering the player. The main issue with Ragnarok DS was the pointless dialogue that players aren’t allowed to skip. If a feature was implemented to allow players to bypass the monotonous dialogue, that would’ve saved a lot of frustration.
In addition to the unavoidable dialogue, players have to continuously tap the screen with their stylus to push onward through the drudgingly tiresome scenes. So even if players are brave enough to sit through the dialogue, they are forced to stay active to work through the poorly crafted dialogue. It’s a shame Ragnarok DS opted for this method as it hurts the longevity of the title since it’s such a pain to sit through each and every cut scene.
With three members permitted in the player’s party, the gameplay isn’t half bad due to how simple it is to click and kill an enemy. Building up a team of party members – as it was in the Suikoden series – will always be exciting and is so in Ragnarok DS. There’s something special about surrounding yourself with the best and brightest of the world for a grand adventure. On the technical side of things, the music isn’t what it could’ve been; especially when compared to the MMO that preceded Ragnarok DS. Sure, they may have avoided using the same base work they had created with the MMO, but when the results are as disappointing as what has been provided, it’s clear that bad decisions were made.
Beyond that, the graphics are fairly ugly with no sense of a unique art style that bleeds originality. The sprites aren’t anything to brag about as they don’t break the typical mold of the anime style. The maps to explore aren’t as beautiful as they were seven years ago when I first experienced Ragnarok Online for the PC. The towns are now menu driven with a few exceptions of shops to buy new equipment.
Fans of Ragnarok Online might find it charming at times, but they shouldn’t forgo their online accounts to play the DS version as it’s nowhere near as entertaining.