zh666's Dragon Valor (PlayStation) review

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  • zh666 has written a total of 156 reviews. The last one was for Fallout 3

Dragon Valor was completely bland and forgettable.

Dragon Valor was not a fun game.  Ok, I thought it was fun at first, but once you did one dungeon, you did them all.  Your tactics rarely changed with combat.  The platforming could be frustrating at times.  Strengthening up your character and then having most of that power stripped away is stupid.  The difficulty was kinda tough at times because you can't bulk up on healing items or magic potions, so you have to use your magic sparingly.  This kinda reminds me of a survival horror like Resident Evil and judging when to use your bullets or not.  You'll eventually find more down the line, but do you want to risk that clip?  This is basically the same situation, do you want to risk taking more damage or should you waste your last bit of magic using a spell? You never know when that magic potion or healing potion will show up.

The storyline was bland and forgettable mush.  The text was slow.  Not only that, but the shop keeper is the most slowing possible thing in the game.  He offers 3 items in trade/buy/sell at a time.  If he is selling something, and you want the 3rd Item listed in his sale, you have to go through menu options saying "No I don't want Item #1", then "No I don't want Item #2" just to get to the menu option for Item #3.  What if you accidentally don't buy it by hitting the wrong button?  You'll have to go through it all over again.  This is just one of my many pet peeves about this game.

On the bright side, the graphics were ok.  That's all I got.

----------Battle System----------
Dragon Valor is a mix of an Action RPG, Side scroll beat'em up and a platformer.  I like to say this game is a mix of Brave Fencer Mushashi, Golden Axe and Crash Bandicout, but not as interesting or as fun as any of those.  

You play as five different characters within the game.  To strengthen your characters, you can find loot from monsters or treasures in dungeons that boost your max HP, max MP, Strength, and defense abilities.  Some items you collect don't transfer over to your new character though, so they often start of a little weaker than the previous character, but always get strong before you fight the final boss of a chapter.  

You find spells within the dungeons, but few of them you will ever use.  I used a Mine spell once, Freeze spell once, and Lightning a few times.  The rest of the time using spells with be done with Healing, which is ultimately the most important spell of all.  You can't carry items in this game, so the only way to heal is to use your magic.  Spells are expensive, and finding new potions to refill your magic is a pain, so you have to use caution when you want to use a spell.  That is the most tricky and frustrating thing about this game.  

The dungeons contain very basic puzzles.  Most dungeons are pretty linear, so figuring out the puzzles are a snap compared to Legend of Zelda or Wild Arms.  There was only a few dungeons that gave you an option between doors or exits.  Most of the time an exit usually just ends up at a dead end though.

The combat is kinda fun though.  It's mostly just a hack and slasher, but there are ton of moves you can learn.  The most useful attack for me was the head smash attack, but double jumping and slamming into the ground with my sword.  

Boss fights are mostly about patience and timing.  All bosses (and even some enemies) are completely invincible, until they leave an opening for you to attack.  This can be really annoying when fighting a boss for a first time and trying to figure out the perfect time to attack.  It's mostly all pattern recognition and bouncing when ready.  It's not hard if you can keep your cool, but I died at a few bosses.

----------Characters / Story----------
Dragon Valor has a unique plot, although they fail to realize it completely.  The idea is basically this.  You start off as a solider that watched his sister get killed by a dragon and his town destroyed, he finds a magic sword and slays the dragon to become the Dragon Valor.  Once his storyline is finished, then he marries a princess and they have a child.  This child becomes the new Dragon Valor and a whole new storyline progresses.  This goes on for 5 chapters and 5 characters.  It's a nice idea on paper but makes for a weak storyline overall with bland characters.

One thing that bugs me is, even though the characters take place in different times and eras, your magic abilities transfer over.  This is not bad, but so does your items and money too.  Makes no sense.

At first I thought the graphics were pretty impressive.  I guess in some areas they are.  The character models are slightly above average.  The enemies animate well and they look cool at times (deer head?).  The level look a little generic though.  I never really ran into any technical problems, besides a little slow down with a boss, but that might have been intentional.  There is nothing terrible about the graphics, or good either. You won't remember what any of the characters look like, or care either.

The music is ok, the sound effects are good.  There aren't any voice overs at all though, this game could have used voice overs.  

----------World Map----------
On the surface the world map looks like a traditional dot-to-dot map, but it is really a linear stage by stage with a false map to show your progress.  You can't backtrack at all in this game.  The only time they give you an option to visit other places is when a shop opens up before a dungeon.  This is one of the worst maps I ever dealt with.

----------Time to Complete Game----------

The game ends with a boring dialog scene, and long credits.  After the credits you can save and start a new game with different characters and storyline.  Am I going to play this ever again? NO!

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