The game kicks off, with Adol, the main character, staring off the side of a ship, as it makes its way to a new location for him to explore, but he is not a passenger on the ship, he is working as payment for passage. After inspecting all the guest of the ship, based on instruction by the captain, the ship is attacked and after a valiant effort, the ship is sunk and Adol washes ashore on a deserted island, but not just any island, the Isle of Seiren. After a bit, Adol meets up with the first of the survivors, Laxia and then soon after the Captain, together they start to plan, the main quest for Adol and his group, locate survivors and survey the island, so everyone can learn what is nearby. The story picks up quickly, with Adol having dreams of a girl and another civilization, but just as there are mysteries about his dreams, the island holds a lot of them as well.
Of course, combat is only one part of the game, another part is the exploration, given that it is one of the two tasks that Adol and his group are venturing out for, it makes sense. As you explore the world, more of the map fills in, Little Paro might give you an idea of things in areas, but until you visit that particular space, you will have no idea about what lies around the corner. The best time and really the only time that it was an issue, was when I encountered an area bathed in fog, walking through it proved to be disastrous, due to the large and dangerous creature living within. Exploring the island is made easy by use of crystals that allow you to fast travel to areas that you have been to before, but they also hold another purpose, later in the game, they allow you to travel back in time.
At random points, or at least, not long after you passed a warp crystal, Little Paro would arrive to let you know that the village you were building, was under threat from the creatures of the island. Now apart from a few, you could choose to ignore the bulk of them, but your village would take a beating, I did not ignore them, because I did not want to see any of the progress I had made, be washed away, but at the same time, whenever that raid symbol appeared on the screen, I would get a little angry. Now the raids themselves were not too difficult, but there was a level of frustration that came from having to fight large amounts of creatures, with the reward being the same items that you could find out in the world.
The reason that the boat was needed, was due to a single character refusing to work with people, so they steal it only to find themselves taken out by the giant creature that lives near the island. The problem with this character, was that I did not like them at all, so seeing them killed off, was a relief, because they never did anything but complain. The only sad part was that the games presentation feels very much stuck in the PlayStation 2 animation era, so a lot of cuts and emoticons appear over the heads of people, rather than complete animations. The problem with this is simple, it looks crap, there is no way to say it nicer than that, watching a character turn around on the spot, whilst doing a walking animation looks strange, but seeing the shocked reactions of Sahad, were just hilarious, something I am sure the developer was trying to avoid, given the subjects being spoken about at the time.
Review copy provided by NIS America