Platform: Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: September 27, 2010
If there was an RPG that stood out for portable gaming aimed at phones, Zenonia guaranteed not only being a lenghty adventure, but can offer up an incredible amount of replay value. For those unfortunate without an iPhone to experience this masterpiece, DSi and 3DS owners can now experience it themselves with this enhanced port.
All is not well in the world, and two factions between the Dragon and Light Clans are at each others throats in an endless war. Realizing that this has brought balance at a huge disadvantage, a newborn child, Regret, is said to determine to give the Dragon Clan the ending blow. Plans become interrupted when a High Knight saves the child and resigns his position to raise Regret for untold reasons.
Unfortunately, He meets his end by the Dragon Clan and years have passed since, with the child refusing to remember those moments. To make matters even worse, monsters are appearing more frequently than ever, making townsfolk believe Regret is the cause and reject him no matter what. After being convinced, Regret sets out on a journey to not only seek the one who killed his father, but to find out the true importance of his existence.
With humorous wits and his hair defying gravity, Regret is definitely in for an adventure.
For those unfamiliar with the original iPhone 2008 release, Gamevil did an incredible job to give a the view of a traditional 16 bit RPG. The over view is impressive enough that it wont just be empty open fields or caves, but a great detailed scenery that the Classic Ys games showed once, with the exception that powerful monsters are going to gang up if wandering around too much.
Given the dialogue and cut scenes, the character sprite may be too "chibi" and cute at times, but that doesn't exclude the fact a lot of humorous events can happen as well. Already the strongest point is that it gives a feeling that players are never met with "one minded" characters, and Regret is in fact not the "silent hero" type either, so expect insults to even arguments that make characters forget their place in the storyline at times.
Unfortunately, Zenonia's weakness was how bland the music can get from just an hour of game play and completely go off course. Don't be too drawn away, the sound effects are nice and crisp from even hearing Regret showing us his Toon Link Grunting and reactions, but the annoyance was that most of the tracks are just immediate loops after three or such seconds. The only positive opinion was that the title screen's music was actually the best part, feel free to just do nothing for a minute and hear the nice feel the rest of the game could have had.
Upon beginning the game, the character is given the option to choose from three classes of Warrior, Paladin or Assassin, though it doesn't really give a detailed explanation immediately so experiencing it firsthand may be required before completely deciding to either continue or start over. With a Skill tree commonly seen from Maple Story or Elsword, the player is given options to permanently raise Regrets stats or offer damaging attacks, all related to the class chosen, so it's up to the player's liking to decide how Regret's class should be used.
An advantage over it's iPhone port is the fact, actual controls are installed to be used with the pad and control buttons. (Not every gamer likes the stylus, Spirit Tracks) Regret can move in a four direction motion and with battle from one to even a dozen enemies at once, but keep the battles to one on one, or getting ganged easily can be far to frequent, so impatient gamers can feel relaxed with Zenonia not being Turn Style only.
While the game does put itself at ease, the difficulty can unexpectedly get higher as the storyline continues, so minutes of consistent monster grinding may be required to even get ahead one map. If that wasn't bad enough, Zenonia's Hunger system can affect Regret's Spell casting and recharging abilities to a weaker use if not fed properly based on his SP Bar, even worse that the condition of his weapons and armor need to be kept up to par from constant blacksmith visits. It may be a headache, but monsters drop a nice amount of loot to claim and it's rewards can also spend quite a lot of it combining items to make an even better weapon, that is reason enough to ensure a lot of replay value.
Zenonia offers a Time system but other than being night time giving rare merchants selling equipment for which most of the time requires a rare identifier and a few quests being available, makes it sort of a meaningless feature...Although, Having a horrible night to have a curse dialogue, would be asking too much.
As explained earlier, Regret's Journey is finding out his origin and who he truly is, another decision for the player to decide themselves. To support either the Dragon or Light Clan will be based upon the actions throughout the game, this can restrict which quests become available and the rewards, including the ending itself, so choose wisely.
Granted it was said to have over forty hours of Game play, and with the huge amount of items to collect, weapons to forge and a nice amount of side quests to distract from the story, let's not forget that if the game was accomplished with one faction aligned, the gamer can see what the other faction would have been as well. Let's not forget that Character reactions can be quite hilarious to relieve again, even seeing Regret eating and jumping out of excitement is convincing enough.
With It's Music and a Grinding requirement one of it's downsides, the price of the game (7.99) is among pricey with Risky's Revenge and Cave Story surpassing it, but it guarantees among a game to keep as a Worthy RPG. Granted, Zenonia 2 and 3 remain to be iPhone exclusives, but to see how well it was ported to DSi ware with dual screen maps and physical game controls, Gamevil would not "Regret" continuing so in the future.
Nevertheless, an impressive port of one amazing Adventure.