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   Alundra - Staff Retroview  

Look Out Link
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
Moderate
COMPLETION TIME
25-45 Hours
OVERALL

4.5/5

Rating definitions 

   Although at first it may seem like your average attempt at a Zelda-clone, Alundra is actually good enough to compete with some of the best games from the Zelda series with its own unique puzzles, bosses, and story. Alundra contains a rather large arsenal of items for an action RPG including multiple weapon types, (not just swords) various armor types, a decent variety of spells, and all the tools you need. Unlike games released at a similar time, Alundra retains the overhead perspective instead of a 3D one. You could either count this as a plus or a minus, but Alundra retains the classic feel of action RPGS of the past. You really can't go wrong with this game as not only is it quite exciting, it also has wonderful character development, a story that is simply incredible for an action RPG, and enough levels, mini-games, and well-hidden items to keep you busy for a long time.

Something tells me I should avoid the giant laser-beam of death... Something tells me I should avoid the giant laser-beam of death...

   Battle systems are one of the most important parts of an action RPG. Luckily, Alundra has a great one. You can use a dagger, ball and chain, bow and arrow, or sword to assist you in your quest. As you gain higher level weapons you can charge them up for special effects as well. Once you have obtained the use of magic power, spells come into play. While they are all offensive with the exception of a few defensive spells they can still liven up battles a bit. There are a large number of tools as well: bombs, capes, charms, and other things that can make battles more interesting. The weapons, spells, and tools themselves keep ordinary battles interesting, but the bosses of Alundra really shine. Most bosses have their own unique fighting pattern and weakness which is impressive due to the fact that there are dozens of bosses in Alundra. Whether it be cutting a giant slime into tiny bits or trying to figure out which version of a boss are clones and which is real, you won't find a dull boss fight in Alundra. Well, except for this one dragon if you equip a fire-immunity item, but you probably won't have it by then anyway.

   Alundra has a mix of average, above average, and great music. I can't think of a single piece of music in the entire game that was annoying or didn't enhance the setting in some way. There are a wide range of music including happy, sad, exciting, and dreamy themes and it is all done quite well. Sound effects are decent too, though nothing special. Visuals are average for the most part due to the overhead perspective, but there are also some anime-style cut-scenes that look pretty good too. You won't see them very often though.

Dude, I Rock! Haha, get it? Why are you looking at me like that? Dude, I Rock! Haha, get it? Why are you looking at me like that?

   Most of the game isn't very difficult. You're able to carry a rather large supply of healing items for both hp and magic. Most dungeons have their own resting spot as well. You gain numerous armor upgrades throughout the course of the game and there are plenty of powerful healing and defensive spells. Some of the later bosses pack a mean punch though, but as long as you're careful and collect a few hp-boosting items you should be fine. There are some unique puzzles that other similar games don't have, so even if you've played a lot of games like Alundra some of the puzzles will still present a challenge to you. Replay value is quite high due to the fact that, unfortunately, you can't repeat certain dungeons and there are special items scattered everywhere that you can collect as a side-quest. The game is also quite fun so playing it a second time through isn't a horrible thought. Thanks to the large amount of levels and dozens of puzzles, you'll probably find yourself playing Alundra between 25 and 45 hours which is pretty good for an action RPG.

   The play control is another very important part of an action RPG. Alundra's movement controls are a little off which makes some jumping puzzles annoying, but it isn't a major problem and the rest of the controls are good. Menus are easily accessible and useable which is great for switching tools or weapons as needed. Localization usually isn't a bit issue in action RPGs, but Alundra's surprising large story is an exception. The story and dialog are surprisingly well translated though, which is quite nice. This keeps the game running smoothly.

   Many of the elements in Alundra are very similar to other games in the genre. There are some unique puzzles, but the rest are the same kind of thing you've seen many times before if you've played similar games like Zelda. Alundra does diverge from other action RPGs by placing a large emphasis on the story which is fairly original as well. You are able to enter people's dreams and fight off the monsters that exist there as well as fights the monsters in the real world that work for the one causing the nightmares. The plot has many twists, character development, and can be quite moving as well. It can even compete with the stories found in many normal RPGs.

   Overall, this is a simply amazing game. It isn't quite flawless though. It's lacking a bit in visuals and originality and none of the other areas quite deserve a 10. There aren't any major problems though, so I give Alundra a strong nine due to its above average story, exciting battles, and overall wonderful experience. If you like this genre, then I highly recommend Alundra to you.

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