Ignition Entertainment recently hooked us up with a preview copy of Nostalgia. Now, we'd seen the game in action in short bursts at E3 and Run to the Sun, but I was finally able to start from scratch and see how this little titles starts off.
Nostalgia is a straight-forward turn-based RPG. That in itself is neither good nor bad. If you are a fan of a traditional style of gameplay, then Nostalgia will bring you comfort. After a brief intro, you jump into the shoes of young Eddie Brown. As Eddie finds out that his father has gone missing (something seen in the intro), he decides to become an adventurer and sets off to find the old man. He heads off to the local chapter of the adventurer's guild to sign up, and they offer him a trial before they let him in. I then took Eddie into the London sewers to slay rats and I quickly found a partner in crime to join up with me, a gunslinger named Pad. The two of us took out the rats, and before long I was back at the adventurer's association being accepted.
"If you are a fan of a traditional style of gameplay, then Nostalgia will bring you comfort."
Before anyone could think twice, Eddie and Pad were being handed the keys to a brand new airship, which is apparently as common as a obtaining a bicycle. And within an hour, I was off flying through the skies from London to Cairo and beyond. So far there was little more than "go here and do this" exploration, but the world does become more accessible a couple hours in.
While the concept of giving away an airship might seem a bit out there, the battle system of Nostalgia is anything but. Combat is a fairly simple affair, being a basic turn-based RPG. Units each take turns depending on speed ratings, though using certain special attacks can cause a wait. Each of the playable characters (I had obtained four at the time of this impression), had a unique class and abilities that can be customized in terms of strength. Other than that, player combat is fairly straightforward. However, there is a second area of combat: airship battles.
Airship combat varies from the ground counterpart. Each character in the party brings a unique aspect to these battles, such as the mage Melody using a cannon, and Eddie controlling the ship's attack blade. The airship can be upgraded to fit the player's style. Much like character equipment, the airship can be modified with different offensive and defensive pieces. It makes for a unique twist to the standard combat system of the individual characters, though it is still very similar to character combat.
Nostalgia is a fairly solid RPG, but doesn't really break much new ground. That's not a bad thing, as it upholds those traditional aspects quite well. What I was able to see of the story was fairly minimal, basically just Eddie beginning to search for his father and all the drama involved in finding out what happened. The dialogue isn't bad, but a lot of NPC speech is rather dry. With so many standard RPGs out there, it's tough to succeed without having something that makes the game stand out. The airship combat is likely to be just enough to make this one interesting enough to draw gamers in the mood for a traditional expereince in. The game might not be the most innovative, but it was fun to play and I look forward to trying out the full version when it lands in stores on October 27.