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CONSOLE: Nintendo DS DEVELOPER: Matrix Software PUBLISHER: Ignition Entertainment
RELEASE DATE (NA): October 23, 2009 GENRE: RPG
// review by SoyBomb

Remembering everything that was done before it.

Our game follows the adventures of Edward Brown, son of Gilbert Brown, famed explorer. In cliché fashion, Gilbert has gone missing amidst an expedition and has been absent for quite some time. Being of sound age (sixteen being the magic number for venturing into the world), Edward heads out in search of his scruffy father. Along the way, he not only learns of a much larger, more sinister plan in the works (gasp!), but he picks up three other companions who occasionally bicker over minute details. It's interesting how this game is set in actual world locations on Earth, such as London, Cairo, and New York. The topography is fairly to scale as you navigate the world. Once you enter these cities, though, they're a lot smaller than I anticipated. London seems to have a population of about 20. Having never travelled there myself, it's possible that could be an accurate population count.

The battle system in Nostalgia evokes exactly that: nostalgia. Whereas other RPGs try their darndest to offer something different that makes them stand out in a sea of fellow games, Nostalgia stays on the beaten path with the tried-and-true method: the oft-used "attack, defend, item, run" option package. You've seen it all before. They don't try to fix what isn't broken. There's nothing inherently wrong with this system per se, but it does come off as dry and uninspired. (Actually, I take it back. It is inspired... by RPGs from the 1980s!) As your party of up to four hoofs it by ground, it's business as usual.

Once you take flight, however, it's a whole new ball game! Okay, I'm not telling the truth. Essentially, once you're using an actual airship to fly around the world (and it doesn't take long before you acquire one), you'll need to use it as a flying battle weapon against rogue vessels and other creatures of the skies. The same basic battle system applies, but every character controls a different weapon on your airship. You can even customize your airship in city hangars with weaponry of choice. Be sure to equip the best defensive plates as well, or your ship will fall faster than a Disney child starlet. Unfortunately, the cost of keeping your ship up to date is exorbitant. I found myself quite poor on many occasions. It's not every day an RPG throws flight battles your way, so chalk that one up as being a unique addition.

Nostalgia is like the AVGN: it's going to take you back to the past.

Sadly, most aspects outside of battles will also feel dry. The characters lack a certain amount of zip and vigor that is necessary to lure the player in and make them actually want to help — and become — the heroes. But they suffer from LPD: Lack of a Personality Disorder. The renegade who has learned to live on his own... the egotistical witch with an easily-lit temper... the angelic girl with amnesia... You would think that a varied cast of characters would yield some pleasant dialogue, but such is not the case here. Dialogue is as exciting as watching grass melt. ...Wait, that's not supposed to happen... Uh-oh.

If you want other things to do besides listening to your fellow party folk, you can also visit the Adventurer's Guild and pick up jobs for some nifty bonus items, extra money, and the sheer thrill of becoming an acknowledged adventurer in the logs of the guild. This ought to help not put you to sleep. Or the side-quests may just actually bring slumber directly to your doorstep.

The game itself won't bring any extreme bouts of excitement, and neither will its presentation values. The music, for example, is nice and all, complete with symphonic bells and whistles to get that convential 19th century toe a-tappin' but it gets quite repetitive over time, and you'll more than likely turn the volume down the further into the game you get. Try a little bit of Rob Zombie in the background. The game becomes a far more devilish beast that way. The graphics are rendered in snappy 3D, but the world apparently reeks of earth tones and nothing but. I suppose colour hadn't been invented until the 1960s, as my father used to say (which explains why television shows only began in colour around that time), but we sure could benefit from a greater palette here.

If you want a nice, simple RPG without any of the complexities of modern console epics, Nostalgia may be right up your alley. It's no terrible game, but it is likely to induce chronic yawning. If you're seeking something new that stands out amongst the crowd, then definitely look elsewhere because Nostalgia oozes of nostalgia from the games of yesteryear without ever looking forward into innovation.

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