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A Steam Punk RPG? Really?
Nostalgia was developed by Tecmo and Red Entertainment and released on October 27, 2009. This is another turn-based RPG for the Nintendo DS, but it has a cool steam punk premiss! Will it stand out above the other RPGs on the Nintendo DS? Well, let's take a bit of a peek into where this great steam punk RPG falls a bit short of the mark.
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Story Line In Nostalgia
Nostalgia sets the stage with Gordon Brown, a daring explorer who jumps in to save a young girl from doom in the opening cut scene. Brown falls off of his air ship while trying to escape (as he was getting shot at) and goes missing. Cut to Edward Brown, Gordon's son and aspiring adventurer. When Eddie gets the news of his father's disappearance he does what any good son would do, he joins the Adventurer's Guild and goes in search of his father meeting other characters to join the party along the way.
All in all, Nostalgia's story is super typical of RPGs; nothing about the story stands out in any way, well maybe except the steam punk vibe rolling through it. The characters aren't even that interesting. They are all archetypes without any real personality. So, if you're into those RPG games that are really based on characters - Nostalgia isn't for you.
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Nostalgia plays like any other turn based RPG. You explore towns, talk to people and fight through dungeons. Everything is controlled by the d-pad and the A,B, X and Y buttons. There is no touch screen support at all which is a bad thing for Nintendo DS lovers. In Nostalgia, you explore the world map with your air ship. While flying around, you have turn based battles with enemies and other air pirates, kind of like Skies of Arcadia. The air battles are really just the same thing as normal grounded battles only the ships fighting and not the characters.
One good thing about Nostalgia is you can save anywhere in town, but not in dungeons. However, save points in dungeons do restore your HP and MP, which can be extremely helpful in this RPG.
Battles in Nostalgia are like any other generic turn based RPG + a steam punk vibe. Each character has normal attacks and special attacks which take up MP. You also have a healer and a magic user in your group (eventually). There is a system for learning skills that is a bit different from other games (a lot like the skills system in Xenosaga). You earn skill points in battle that can be used to enhance skills and acquire new ones. Sure, it's not revolutionary, but it is nice to have some control over molding a character, no matter how small.
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Graphics and Sound
The graphics in Nostalgia are good, actually. They are on par with other Nintendo DS games, a bit fuzzy at times, but overall the rendering was done well. They are the basic anime steam punk style that you'd expect in this Nintendo DS game, but really well done overall. The towns are interesting even though they are way too small, and the characters look very much like steam punk versions of Final Fantasy III characters, design wise.
The sound in Nostalgia is okay too, but nothing way out of the ordinary here either. There is nothing really memorable about the music, but nothing bad about it either. It is like the rest of the game, totally generic in every way.
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I wanted to have fun with Nostalgia, I really did. While it's not a bad game, it is nothing like it could be. The whole set up is totally generic. It's like they read "How to Make a Turn-Based RPG" and replaced "magical land" with "steam punk 1870's." The steam punk aspect isn't even refreshing since the towns are so abysmally small. What fun is exploring Cairo when there are only 3 huts and a few Egyptians that know nothing about their own pyramids? Weak.
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Nostalgia isn't a bad game, it's just completely mediocre. The characters and concept had so much promise but it never even gets off the ground. If you want to play another turn based RPG, you could do worse. However, if you want to play an interesting and innovative RPG on the Nintendo DS try Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days or The World Ends With You.