Crimson Gem Saga
Crimson Gem Saga will receive few points for originality
If you're into Japanese RPGs (meaning you're into young, androgynous heroes, who fight evil empires bent on destruction, with massively-oversized weaponry), then your pickings are fairly slim on the Playstation Portable. Fortunately for you, the PSP's Crimson Gem Saga adheres to the classic Japanese RPG blueprint pretty closely, which — like their standard, large-breasted female characters — can either be a pretty big turn-on, or a trite, cliche bygone.
- Beautiful graphics, great translation and voice-acting, nearly every aspect feels polished and well-done
- No groundbreaking innovations, battles may become monotonous depending on gamer's attention-span
If you yearn to play a game that reminds you of exemplary titles in this classic genus, or if you've just stepped away from the genre for too long, you'll find all the basic meat and potatoes in Crimson Gem Saga.
Stop me if you've heard this one...
Crimson Gem Saga will receive few points for originality. You play as a young male who knows how to handle a massive sword, and in his quest to do good, he composes a crew of rag-tag outcasts who slowly grow stronger with each defeat of progressively tougher enemies. However, there are a couple of things that make this antiquated formula forgivable: 1) due to the limited number of RPGs on the PSP, it really isn't too common on this particular console, and 2) every recycled idea is done so well, that you won't mind if it feels very familiar.
Sure, we've all seen battlefields where the combatants are perfectly lined up and each take turns attacking one specific enemy. But here, each character's animations and actions are so vivid and well-done that the banality is completely bypassed and enjoyment ensues. Crimson Gem Saga does throw one wrench into the J-RPG's familiar formula, albeit a fairly small one: While the battles are turn-based and pretty orthodox, the way in which you enter said combat is not. What I'm saying is that the archaic system of random encounters has done its best impression of Jessica Simpson's waistline and disappeared. That's right — each individual enemy in Crimson Gem Saga will appear on your display, meaning that you can choose to engage certain enemies or not. And if that doesn't blow the minds of J-RPG purists, nothing will (besides a nude Aeris from FF7)
A few other aspects that can be added to Crimson Gem Saga's well-done list include: beautiful, hand-painted graphics which are well-represented in the 3/4 perspective; top-notch voice-acting that often inspires the player to laugh with the game and not at it; an intuitive and simple interface that is also fairly deep and engaging; and a lengthy quest which feels extensive but not exhaustive.
Crimson Gem Saga is as classic as modern RPGs come, but it also stands to remind why this genre has been so steadfast throughout the life of gaming. If you yearn to play a game that reminds you of exemplary titles in this classic genus, or if you've just stepped away from the genre for too long, you'll find all the basic meat and potatoes in Crimson Gem Saga, as well as a heroine who could feed 10,000 babies with her mammary glands.
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