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Review of Naufragar by Legacy001

Reviewed by Ii Shenron

Plot: ( 20 points )

Nothing overly innovative as far as Rm2k/3 games go. The world is caught up in a war between two nations, Acir-ema and Oragibe. The king of Oragibe shares his terrible plan with two bishops involving magical coins, a plan which has enormous ramifications to the four main characters of the game.

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For the most part, the plot seems to follow your prototype Rm2k/3 story formula, with a few exceptions ( such as your hometown being on a ship instead of in a town, and coins instead of crystals ).

Total points: 9.

Characterization/Dialogue: ( 20 points )

The characterization in Naufragar can be summed up thusly: Angst. Each of the four main characters have known tragedy in their lives and spend much of the game wallowing in misery with each other. Beyond this, Legacy attemped an early SNES RPG style of writing with the other characters. "Toothless Tony" comes to mind.

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Rm2k/3 games that go all out for angst tend to use those evil, evil autoclose text boxes. Thankfully, none were found in Naufragar.

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To be honest, the dialog is by far the weakest aspect of the game. First, as mentioned above, Naufragar tends to go all out for angst. However, any continuity in characterization is sacrificed to make the game as angsty as possible. The result is that I basically found that all of the characters were the same miserable, angsty person. Any wonder they could hate each other when they first meet and quickly and dramatically start caring for each other?

Flashbacks were far too numerous and completely wrecked the flow of storytelling in the game.

In addition, there were various parts of the game that needed spell-checking and grammatical revising in the worst way.

Total points: 7.

Graphics: ( 10 points )

Now we move into the strength of this game. Naufragar boasts usage of all the latest available rips from Star Ocean, Tales of Phantasia, Rudra's Treasure, with various other games mixed in. Despite the mix of graphics, Naufragar still manages to have a uniform look and feel throughout the demo.

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The most impressive aspect of Naufragar graphically is probably the extensive use of overlays in the game. Almost every outdoor map has shining light, fog, or some other effect which adds to the overall beauty of the game.

Total points: 10.

Music: ( 10 points )

Naufragar's soundtrack consists of a mix of anime music, game music, and occasional oddball midis like the Monkees one.

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For the most part, the music in dungeons and during the many, many flashbacks was well chosen and fit the mood. Naufragar also makes use of sound effects in key areas quite nicely.

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There may be just a bit too much music from RPGs in Naufragar, especially in the battles ( Lufia 4's battle theme for regular battles and ToE's battle theme for bosses ). And the Front Mission Evils midi ( aka the most overused non-FF midi in 2000-2001 era Rm2k games next to the one from Resident Evil ) should probably be removed as well.

Total points: 7.

Gameplay: ( 10 points )

This is perhaps the most hyped area of the game. Naufragar is absolutely full of gameplay systems, minigames, you name it. I won't, because they are too numerous to mention here. All good, right? Well ...

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The main gameplay system that propels Naufragar is the AP/fusion system. Basically, each character has an allotment of AP which increase after every battle. Each character then has a list of spells and attributes to which he/she can fuse AP onto, which can be reallocated at any time. This creates quite customizable characters and creates a level of strategy not unlike the plate system in "The Frozen World". Nicely done.

( Note: The mining system is now completely optional. This is a major improvement, and I have to thank Legacy for making this move. )

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Although Naufragar has been patched now to make the first two dungeons easier, this game is still quite difficult in the beginning. Many of the systems Legacy incorporated ( Food comes immediately to mind ) are absolutely worthless until later in the game. If you survive that long. Of note: Some of the monsters in the middle part of the game self-destruct quite frequently, which pretty much destroys your party. Perhaps the rate of self destruction could be reduced.

Another key problem is the enforcement of Active ATB. While you're scrolling through your extensive list of battle options, monsters are free to waylay your party. The option to use Wait ATB should definitely be available, even if it means less reward in some other area.

A problem I had ( although perhaps I was the only one to have this problem ) was with the escape minigame in the middle of the demo. This minigame was impossible in ABL, and even more impossible here with a longer track, and being fired at. Naufragar is probably in need of an "easy mode" anyway, but in this particular case, perhaps there could be a mercy rule put in for those of us who just couldn't clear the puzzle. ( To keep game balance, maybe the player throws some objects in his inventory at his pursuers to escape ).

Total points: 6.

Fun Factor:( 25 points )

For me, the fun factor of this game is all stuck in potential. IF I didn't have to power level early and often. IF it weren't for that one difficult minigame. IF the story was a bit more compelling. Although, I must admit, every time I was about to throw in the towel, the game managed to keep me in it.

Total points: 13.

Intangibles: ( 5 points )

It is obvious that a great deal of effort went into this game. ( I remember when Legacy used to keep a chart of how many hours he spent each day working on Naufragar, and the entire game's been redone from scratch at least twice since then ). Despite some rough spots, it's quite clear that Legacy is dedicated to this project and we can expect to see a lot more in the future.

Total points: 4.

Overall: 56/100

Naufragar was one of the 3-4 most hyped games at GW over the past half-year or so. Did it live up to the hype? Well, with the exception of plot and dialog, it mostly delivered on what it promised. It is definitely one of the most unique Rm2k/3 games available. I would definitely recommend giving this game a look PROVIDED you obtain a deplugged version. :)

Reviewed Games:
Ara Fell
Iron Gaia
Legend of the Philosopher's Stone
Love and War
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