Normally, the Nintendo DS is not my console of choice when it comes to playing role-playing games. However, when I do spend most of my time playing the DS I am traveling on a bus during my commute to and from my day job. I find it difficult to get into the mood of a game because I have to stop and change buses all the time. Fortunately, there are long road trips where I can enjoy RPGs and not have to worry about interruptions. The following are a few DS RPGs which caught my attention:
#1 · Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver
Once you have played a Pokémon game you have pretty much played them all. The gameplay and story are relatively similar in every game. The largest difference is the plethora of Pokémon the player can catch. What I enjoy about Pokémon HeartGold / SoulSilver is the in-game feature where a Pokémon can follow the protagonist. Not only does it look cute, it was easy for me to determine how friendly the Pokémon was to me whenever I attempted to talk to it in the game. However, the inclusion of the Pokewalker pedometer is the feature that makes me constantly return to the game. After a certain level of watts collected, the Pokémon in the Pokewalker can increase one level. Every week or so, I would turn on Pokémon HeartGold / SoulSilver for the purpose of returning my Pokémon from the "walk" it took in my purse. By doing this regularly, I hope that someday my Gengar will reach level 99.
#2 · Sigma Harmonics
The most memorable RPG I have played on the DS would be Sigma Harmonics. Sigma Harmonics was released in Japan in 2008, but it was never localized. One of the possible reasons why Sigma Harmonics was not localized would include its vertical manga-styled speech bubble text formatting. Luckily enough I was fortunate to play this when it was released. However, I had some issues playing the game as it requires a high level of Japanese comprehension in order to fully appreciate the story. Apart from language problems, the game has amazing visuals that flowed like a visual novel. The most memorable aspect of Sigma Harmonics is the soundtrack, which I believe is the best music Hamauzu Masashi has composed and arranged for Square Enix.
#3 · Final Fantasy IV
I have attempted to play three different versions of Final Fantasy IV before I settled with the DS remake. While playing Final Fantasy IV, the element that stood out the most was the development of the character named Kain. He was the reason why I didn't finish my first three attempts at Final Fantasy IV. The problem stemmed from the shock I had after seeing Kain's Jump ability, which caused him to jump off the screen. Ironically, Kain's betrayal and redemption was the reason that enticed me to play the DS remake of the game.
#4 · Xenosaga I & II
Xenosaga I & II was another RPG I had to import because it was not localized. If you are a fan of the Xenosaga series and can understand Japanese, then I would highly recommend this game. Fortunately, a high level of Japanese comprehension is not needed, granted the player is familiar with the first two Xenosaga games. Xenosaga I & II goes over the major events that appeared in the first two Xenosaga games. Included are a few new scenarios that offer a different perspective to the story. This game is great as a story refresher for people who have played the series since it came out a few months before the release of Xenosaga III. Additionally, Xenosaga I & II could serve as a supplement for players who may not have the time to play through the first two Xenosaga games.