zh666's Magical Starsign (Nintendo DS) review

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Magical Starsign is a trite adventure.

 Magical Starsign was complete agony for me to finish.  The story wasn't interesting enough to push me forward.  The battle system was so slow and boring I just wanted it to end early.  The only reason I finished it is because I was expecting it to be a 16 hour game.  By the time I reached the 16 hour mark, I invested to much time into it already.  So I had to complete it, even though it was a complete waste of time.  I put 33 hours into Magic Starsign and I regret it.

The worst thing about Magical Starsign, for me atleast, are the controls.  Nearly everything in the game is controlled with the stylus.  You can walk with the D-pad or face buttons (can't run) and skip text with the R butons.  Everything else is controlled with the stylus.  Which I find to be completely annoying.  There is nothing about this game that takes advantage of the stylus.  As matter of fact, using the stylus for equipping or using items or choosing attacks makes the game even slower than it actually is.  I hate the fact that they don't give you the option to use either the buttons or the stylus.  

----------Battle System----------
Magical Starsign is a by the books turn-based RPG.  Turns are taken by the enemy or character with the highest speed.  You can fight, run, use magic, and defend.  Fighting is the most useless command in the game.  You never gain any attack skills, everyone has the same basic kick or punch attacks.  Even your "tank" characters are weak fighters.  This makes sense because you're a team of wizards.  So in a sense this is the only unique moment in the game.  Everyone has to use magic to fight.  

The bad thing is, you don't gain a ton of magic.  So for a large chunk of the game, you'll be using the same basic magic you start off with.  Attack animations are long and dreadful.  So the battle system is completely tedious.

There are 6 playable characters, but 8 positions to place them.  If your character is in one of the four front row spots, you can use a more powerful magic but only to single enemies.  If your character is in any of the backrow positions, their magic spreads to every enemy (or ally) but weaker.  

You level up simiarly to a Suikoden game or Final Fantasy Tactics.  The higher the level of the enemy you fight the more experience you'll gain.  Once you reach 100 experience points, you'll gain a level.  The higher the leve you are, the harder it is to gain levels.  

----------Characters / Story----------
I really didn't care for the storyline right off the bat and it didn't get any better through out the course of the game.  There's a few couple funny moments in the game but overall, the writing just seems aimed at a young audience.  So much to the point where you feel the staff is talking down to you.  Kids are smarter than this.  I was a kid once and had no troubles understanding Final Fantasy IV.  

Basically, you play as a no-name, voiceless character.  You can choose between a male or a female character.  You're a student at a special school for wizards.  Your teacher is eventually kidnapped, so you and 5 other students vow to save her.

I really liked the graphics and that was one of the selling points for me to try this game.  The graphics are just so charming.  The worlds and characters are highly detailed and animated.  The attacks are cool the first few times you see them, however, you see them over a million times by the end of the game and you end up wishing there was a skip button.  

There are a ton of pre-rendered CGI cutscenes, similar to the ones you would see in the PS1 days.  They're a bit grainy but cool to see.

The music is good, not amazing or super memorable, but good.  It reminds me of early Final Fantasy games at times.  There's no voice overs and the sound effects can get on your nerves after a while.  Otherwise, sound is ok.  

----------World Map----------
The world map is segregated into various isolated islands.  Each island has a 'unique' element to them.  So you'll go to an Earth Island, Fire Island, Water Island, etc.  Nothing original or exciting.

There's usually a town or two on each island, and you'll find special warp zones around to help ease travel if you ever need to backtrack.  Backtracking is almost never required, because the game flows extremely linearly.  You can backtrack if you want but there's nothing to look back for.  Sometimes the game requires you to backtrack for storyline purposes but that's about it.  

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

You can save after you defeat the final boss, but you can't really do anything afterwards.  The ending was rather long but not interesting at all.  No rewards after the game either.

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