So while I was happily killing an afternoon liking things over at Get Glue [http://www.getglue.com] and while I was ‘liking’ the zillions of RPG’s that I’ve played, a recommendation came back to me for a game called Sands of Destruction. Made by Sega, it was originally released in Japan in the summer of 2008 and brought Stateside in early 2010. Immediately I got my grubby little hands on a copy and away I went.
This game starts with a good premise: Completely innocent rural lad goes off on a seemingly innocent mission only to discover that he’s the key to the destruction of the whole world. And the girl that he’s destined to fall in love with wishes to accomplish just that because the beastmen that rule the humans are vile and, pardon the pun, inhumane.
A good premise, however, can’t always save how that premise is executed. The story is slow paced in the beginning, and you’re lead around by the nose and unable to travel freely or explore for a good 2/3 of the game. In a way it’s a lot like playing through a movie. There is a plot twist in the middle, though, that speeds up the pace of the game and once you’re able to travel freely, then it’s pretty much on like Donkey Kong. It’s only a shame that the game and its storytelling waits quite so long to be that good. I’m happy that I stuck it out until the end, but I know a lot of gamers that aren’t quite so patient.
There’s also a bit of a learning curve with the mechanics of the game. You can customize your equipment in smithy shops located in the towns you visit. You can customize your character’s skills, although that isn’t explained fully either [I'm a student of the in-game tutorials, yeah, call me spoiled if you want to]. The game itself makes it too easy because once you’ve customized a certain style of attack, you can just use that one style of attack for the rest of the game, final boss included. Outside of this, it is your standard wait-time RPG battles.
In all honesty, the good points and the bad points of this RPG balances the whole thing out. I loved the story, and the different twists and turns that this story took. But I’m not a fan of the learning curve, and the inability to freely explore during much of the game. The game itself is a good idea, but I wish it had been better executed. Still, if you’re looking for something to play until the next Kingdom Hearts / Final Fantasy / Dragon Quest arrives on your DS, then I can recommend this as a pretty good time-waster. [3.5 out of 5 muffins - not as fresh as it could be, but it's good if you're hungry.]