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Default RPGWatch Feature: D&D Tactics Review

September 29th, 2007, 09:48
Yes this is a PSP game. No this isn't a handheld game site. Sometimes a game just screams 'Western RPG' so loudly that we decide to take a look. Join Michael Anderson as he works his way through this turn-based 'tactics' game one grid-step at a time in our giant review:
Perhaps the greatest and most immediately apparent strength of D&D Tactics is the brand itself - the game sets out to bring a pure AD&D experience to the PSP that is as close to the tabletop game as possible, with the PSP as DM and you as the adventurers. The game makes the interesting choice of not adopting any of the classic lands already established in AD&D lore but instead opens a new area to explore and define as their own. Your story takes place in a border region between the feudal peoples of the Lendesi and the tribal clans of the Vinsaxi. The region contains all of the usual terrain types, towns and dungeons of any classic fantasy tale, and as the story unfolds you will either be tasked or find opportunities to explore all of the possible areas. The use of a new area allows the developers to carve out their own method for telling the story without feeling beholden to existing terrain boundaries or clan borders, and it works pretty well. You will not be so smitten that you will be clambering for new tales in this land, but neither will you have issues with choices made that clash with years of established history for the other regions.
Read it all here.
More information.

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September 29th, 2007, 09:48
Awesome article, thanks Mike. It's a shame this fell short in a couple of areas — but on the other hand, I can feel comfortable with deciding not to get a handheld.

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September 29th, 2007, 11:03
I'd really like to see some PC RPGs worth Michaels talents as reviewer. Excellent work, thanks.

Originally Posted by magerette
I'm so tired of marketing hype, marketing slang, marketing priorities and general marketing BS that it tends to have the opposite effect on me. (Jaded is the word I'm looking for here.) I can't even read through a whole press release from any AAA title company without wanting to turn off my computer and learn to cross-stitch.
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September 29th, 2007, 14:51
OK, Handhelds are a very typical young audience gadget, even more than consoles right? We all know from our dear developers, that turn based games don't sell to the young audience, right? Yet apparently turn based games sell just dandy on handhelds. Riddle me this?
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September 29th, 2007, 15:15
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
OK, Handhelds are a very typical young audience gadget, even more than consoles right?
What makes you think so? I have no idea who (age group-wise) is buying handhelds either but I do have my doubts that the handheld buyers are significantly younger than console buyers.

We all know from our dear developers, that turn based games don't sell to the young audience, right? Yet apparently turn based games sell just dandy on handhelds. Riddle me this?
I think we're just seeing the same thing here as we did with PCs in the early/mid 90s. The hardware on handhelds is still kinda limited so turn-based is sort of a workaround to overcome the weaknesses of the hardware. And I do believe that turn-based sells on handhelds because people just don't have much of a choice. If/when someone makes Diablo, WoW and shooters look and work decently on a handheld is when we will see turn-based handheld games suffer the same fate as they did on the PC but until then it looks like turn-based games will continue to be popular on handhelds.
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September 29th, 2007, 16:05
Speaking on ignorence, but why cant this be ported to pc ? While the audience aint large its still there, so why not ?
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September 29th, 2007, 16:07
Originally Posted by The Watchman View Post
Speaking on ignorence, but why cant this be ported to pc ? While the audience aint large its still there, so why not ?
There is not reason it 'can't', but I had asked our friend Tom Ohle who had asked the developers if there was any hope of a PC port … the answer was no.

— Mike
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September 29th, 2007, 16:38
-ehhm—

Yes, maybe handhelds are aimed at younger player group than the PC and console games. However, I know several gameboomers (not me) that have a Nintendo DS, and the majority of the people at gamerboomers.com are about 60 or so. They play Touch Detective, Phoenix Wright, Hotel Dusk and other great DS games. I have only seen 1 or 2 people with a PSP, though. And they didn't use it for playing games.

As for the development for D&D:Tactics for PC, someone alert Microsoft. If Microsoft were to give the developers many many dollars to develop this game for PC, then
it will be made so…

Maybe…
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September 29th, 2007, 16:40
Exhaustive review that gives all the information I would need to decide whether it's something I would want—if I had a PSP Nice job, Mike. It's a shame they can't or won't consider a PC release, but fortunately there are some other games to look forward to—still I miss that full throttle D&D character creation:
Of course, you don't need to spend the ludicrous amount of time I did toiling over each and every detail of every character stat, feat and skill.
But I do! Sometimes it seems I can spend more time re-rolling a paladin or a druid than playing the actual game..and in some games, enjoy it more.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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September 29th, 2007, 17:16
Exhaustive or exhausting?

As for handhelds, the world has changed quite a bit …
- The DS has sold more than 50 million as I note here. It is the fastest selling console of all
- The PSP has sold nearly 25 million systems - more than the XBOX or GameCube.

- The target audience for the PSP is pretty much 'console standard' - 16 - 24 single males. The DS is broadband targeted, but has wide appeal to non-gamers and kids as well as adults.

- The top selling PSP software are the two Grand Theft Auto games, a Need for Speed game, T-rated hack-n-slash Monster Hunter games, Star Wars Battlefront, SOCOM … in other words, the same stuff that sells on consoles. T and M dominated.
- The DS top sellers have Pokemon, Nintendogs, Mario Kart, Brain Training and so on.

As for turn-based games, the excellent DS strategy games Advanced Wars DS and Age of Empires: Age of Kings both did very well. (oh yeah, and Pokemon) And on the PSP there hasn't been a solid turn-based strategy game yet, everything has been mediocre and not done well. The turn-based RPG's have done pretty well on both platforms - Final Fantasy games or that style in particular.

— Mike
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September 29th, 2007, 20:56
Jeanne d'Arc is a great turn-based strategy game for the PSP.
And Field Commander is a nice Advance Wars clon.

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September 29th, 2007, 22:25
"Charging allows you to rush up to and perform a full-round attack on a character without suffering an attack of opportunity; Bull Rush is similar except that you gain an attack bonus but suffer a defensive penalty"

WTF? That's NOT how charge nor bull rush are supposed to work. What he describes as Charge doesn't exist and what he describes as Bull Rush is actually charge.
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September 30th, 2007, 00:27
The reason? Cost. Smaller development cost = less risk.

What's the resolution of the this thing? What's the maximum data capacity? So, we have a fixed specification device with limited screen size (and whatever else - I don't own one) and everything works nicely for that size.

Now, put it on the PC. How much more to develop the same art assets to look good at 1900x1444 (or whatever), improve all the animations, particle effects and so on? Even after all that, how many people will complain the physics sucks and it doesn't look as good as Crysis?

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September 30th, 2007, 00:29
Originally Posted by Sisaya View Post
Jeanne d'Arc is a great turn-based strategy game for the PSP.
And Field Commander is a nice Advance Wars clon.
I wasn't going to say too much about Jeanne D'Arc since it is one of the features of my next handheld article …

As for Field Commander, it is decent but I didn't think it lived up to the Advance Wars challenge all that well.

— Mike
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September 30th, 2007, 05:15
It seems like this is one of those games that you gotta kinda want to like. You have to fight to like it, like a real annoying bitch of a girlfriend who is just damn hot and loves to have sex. Yeah, and I have that problem all the time. *coughs*

But that would at least be worth the payoff. This thing sounds like it fights you every step of the way. She's not even batting her fake eyelashes at you. Gamus-interruptis. No map, buried in menus, ugly, have to take enemies below -10 in a game in which merely hitting them can be a challenge, sparse documentation, having to move each individual character at all times. Good Lord of the Tigers, read this review or this or this one. This things sounds like chinese water torture!
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September 30th, 2007, 08:35
Originally Posted by The Watchman View Post
Speaking on ignorence, but why cant this be ported to pc ? While the audience aint large its still there, so why not ?
You can play them on pc emulator sooner or later. I.E remakes of final fantasy for gba work great on gba emulator.
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September 30th, 2007, 17:49
Originally Posted by xSamhainx View Post
It seems like this is one of those games that you gotta kinda want to like. You have to fight to like it
I certainly could have simply eviscerated it as I have for so many other PSP RPG's (you could simply scan the GamerDad review archive and see how many of the PSP games I've scored 2.5 or less).

But then, IMO, it wouldn't have been a review for RPGWatch. For this site I really took the possibility of the PC gamer used to dealing with 'diamonds in the rough' very seriously. Heck, I *am* one of those and was willing to look at it that way. However, as I noted ad nauseum it didn't work that well regardless of what exemptions I gave it.

Yet there was some fun there, some decent D&D combat … but the end didn't justify the means.

— Mike
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October 1st, 2007, 12:20
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
What makes you think so? I have no idea who (age group-wise) is buying handhelds either but I do have my doubts that the handheld buyers are significantly younger than console buyers.
Well, admittedly simply for the reason that the only people I know who own one of these are all pre-teens.
But the discussion here was quite eye-opening in that regard, thanks. Still, whoever owns them, it seems that the gameplay style certainly sells rather well on this platform. That is something to think about, IMHO.
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October 2nd, 2007, 15:47
My pre-teen son and his school buddies ALL have handhelds. Often both PSPs and DSs though they all have DSs and most have an older GBA, too. All the kids in his scouting troop also have handhelds. We recently were on a trip overseas and every preteen in the group had a DS or GBA.

Among my circle of friends (20s through late 40s) about, let's see, 3/4 have consoles, all have PCs (usually mutiples), and none, not a one, has a handheld. I know one guy at work who was big into handhelds some years ago but he hasn't bought one in years.
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October 2nd, 2007, 19:13
Handhelds are like kickball, in a way. You wont see many (if any) adults playing it, but you know that some do (adult kickball leagues!), and youve perhaps read online or heard otherwise of adults playing kickball. There are no (municipal) codes against adults playing kickball. Chances are however, that you will never actually see the phenomenon of adults playing kickball in the park. If you did, no matter whether youre pro or con kickball, you'd probably think they looked kinda silly. In society, adults play soccer, they play football, they play baseball. They play croquet. They by and large dont play kickball.

Handhelds are the kickball of the gaming world. I have only seen them in the hands of children. Granted that I am not some omnipresent being, yet my anecdotal evidence is of them being pretty much used to mollify children in backseats, shopping centers, doctor's offices, government buildings, grammas house, etc. Ive never seen an adult play one, and I seriously wonder if I ever will.

That says something to me, I'm not quite sure what. It might say that adults would rather go home and play their 3 thousand dollar computer system, or console, or something of that nature instead of messing around with a substandard (ie kids) unit. It may whisper to me that if a guy got seen playing a handheld in a bar or coffee shop some night, his chances of ever being considered cool by the female sex (or male for that matter) in said establishment would be zero. If he didnt get his ass outright kicked. It very nervously may say to me that once a guy found himself having a conversation in line in the supermarket with a 7 year old about whether part 1 or 2 was better, he'd see the worried faces of adults around him, and just walk outside and leap in front of a bus. Theyd interview the kid, there'd be a huge writeup in the paper, people would cut it out and laugh in the office about it, and he'd be forever remembered as the Crash Bandicoot of San Diego.
Last edited by xSamhainx; October 2nd, 2007 at 19:46.
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