Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dragon Sinker: Descendants of Legend (Nintendo 3DS)

Written by: Patrick Orquia

Title: Dragon Sinker: Descendants of Legend
Publisher: KEMCO
Developer: Exe Create Inc.
Genre RPG
Release Date: Apr 06, 2017 (exclusive to Nintendo eShop)
No. of Players: 1 player
Price: $9.99
Also Available On: Android, iOS
Purchase Here

Every gamer alive today has, in one way or another, has played at least one role-playing game in their lifetime. If you are one of those who prefer the old-school, 8-bit types of RPGs, this game is for you.

Dragon Sinker: Descendants of Legend is ported to the 3DS from the original released on mobile phones last year. It borrows heavily from the RPGs of old, like the early Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games, from the 8-bit visuals and gameplay to the music. It looks so much like a legitimate 80s old-school RPG that if you didn’t know that it released in 2016, you wouldn’t know otherwise. And for that, the game has succeeded in bringing back that nostalgic feeling from the 8-bit gaming era.

The game is about a human prince named Prince Alban who is tasked to kill an ancient dragon named Wyrmvarg, who have been terrorizing the land since it has reawaken. But Prince Alban cannot do it alone. He has to fight alongside the elven Princess Mia and the dwarven King Bowen in search for 3 legendary weapons to fight the evil dragon. During their adventure, they meet new allies with different jobs classes to help the heroes in their quest.

In the game, you control a party of three teams each led by the three heroes (human, elf, and dwarf). You can swap between these 3 teams during battle at any time, depending on the type of enemy that you encounter. Each team composed of 4 characters, so at any given time, you control 12 characters of different job classes across three teams. This gives much flexibility, as you can mix and match characters. Characters of the same job class or race on the same team provide more benefits, like stronger attacks or better defense against parameter-reducing enemies. As I mentioned above, these additional characters are met and can be recruited by accomplishing their sub-quests during your adventure. These sub-quests range from simple fetch or delivery quest to eliminating powerful monsters. These recruited characters vary in their job classes. There are 16 job classes that can be mastered by all of the characters in the party, and each mastered job allows the character to carry over its unique auto-skill to other jobs. Each mastered jobs also produce one job scroll that you can use on one of the three heroes to inherit the auto-skill for that job class.

The battle system is the usual turn-based one, with your party engaging in chance encounters with enemies scattered in the area you’re in (overworld and dungeons). Your team attacks first at the start of each battle most of the time, but there will also be instances when the enemy party catches you off guard and take the first turn. The battles at the start of the game are pretty easy to win and enemies don’t post too much challenge, but as you venture to new areas, the battles get tougher and there may be times when the enemies are so overpowered that you will need to grind for some time, especially on main dungeons. Grinding on this game is also similar to any other RPGs from the 8-bit era, but probably not as severe. During battles, you can activate the auto-battle mode, where your party attacks automatically depending on how you set them up, whether they prioritize heavy attacks or defense or support.

To progress in the game, you will need to travel from one town to another, and near each town is a dungeon that you have to conquer, each has a boss battle at the end. These dungeons get significantly more and more challenging, forcing you to upgrade your weapons and armors and collect consumables. Each town has a weapons and items shop. There is also an inn where your party can recover lost HP and MP and a priest that can perform job changes.

There is also a unique game mechanic in this game. For every 300 coins or so that you spend in shops, you get a lottery ticket. You can use this lottery ticket to play the lottery, where you can win items ranging from the usual consumables such as potions or antidotes to the rare ones such as rare job scrolls and animal companions such as cats that can steal items off enemies or gorillas with heavy attacks. I’m not sure if other games has this mechanic, but this is the first time that I encountered this and I think it’s a good addition to the game.

Overall, I find Dragon Sinker: Descendants of Legend a very satisfying game to play. In this generation where every game that comes out tries to outdo the last one in terms of scope and complexity in game mechanics, this game is a breath of fresh air that reminds me that sometimes, less is more.

  • Faithful homage to the 8-bit era of gaming, from the graphical pixel art style to the music
  • Borrows heavily from the gameplay of old school RPGs, such as the early Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games
  • The job class system is surprisingly varied and yet not as complex and grinding-heavy as those found in newer games, like Bravely Default. 
  • The lottery system is a fun game mechanic
  • The three interchangeable teams in the party provides flexibility in gameplay, as you can mix and match characters with different race and job classes depending on the current situation
  • There is a good variety of monsters to battle
  • The dual screens of the 3DS is put into good use: the lower touch screen constantly shows the game map and dungeon maps (very helpful while in dungeons, as the map is already shown complete right on the get go, which shows all possible paths that can be tackled) along with other options that are readily available to the player
  • You can save anytime anywhere in the game

  • Not in stereo 3D
  • The soundtrack only contains 4 different prices of music, which is quite disappointing as these tracks are quite good and catchy
  • Not much character development for any of the characters
  • Limited weapon and armor sets
  • The carried over auto-skill from mastered jobs is only one, so changing jobs from a mastered one (where you have learned many powerful attacks and support skills) to a new job can be very risky, as most of your learned skills from the previous job are no longer available to you and requires you to grind in order to learn new skills, otherwise your character becomes next to being useless in battle

SCORE: 4/5 dragon-slaying stars