Neopets - Petpet Adventures: The Wand of WishingESRB:
Developer – SCE Studios Santa Monica Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Features 1-2 Players Memory Stick Duo - 512KB Wi-Fi Compatible (Ad Hoc) When I heard that Sony was releasing a Neopets game for the PSP there was that thought in my mind that this game would be just another simple type of kid focused game. But after some playtime with Neopets: Petpet Adventures I have to say that I am kind of impressed with the potential of this series on the PSP, however this game does show some flaws which I hope are addressed prior to any future Neopet games being published on the system again. Graphics I kept my expectations quite low in terms of what kind of quality the graphics would be in this Neopets game. I envisioned a game that would be void of detail and pizzazz as I did not think that a game whose target audienceis the "younger folk" would get the treatment it actually got. There are many different areas to explore in this top down adventure. As I played I couldn’t help but think of my long nights with my PSP just after its launch, playing countless hours of Untold Legends. As I ventured on through each level I was treated to some great looking textures as well as some good lighting, shadows and special effects throughout. Each level has the typical RPG’ish theme (e.g. fire/volcano or snow/ice) and they are very well represented through good use of colors and effects. I have to say that the visuals in this game were very clean looking and it was evident that the developers spent some time with the hardware in order to get the quality of the graphics that they did. It was great to see this kind of effort in this kind of game too. Sound Being an action RPG, sound is a pretty important. Petpet Adventures is a mixed bag in this area. The music is pretty well done and really seems to match the mood of each area and scenario. Not being totally aware of the Neopet franchise I can’t say if it matches what fans may expect of it, however as a gamer I can say that it doesn’t do the game any harm at hall. As for the rest of the sound package, sound effects aren’t all that bad; however they do seem to be off now and then. I am sure that RPG fans will raise a brow now and then when they hear the sound that accompanies when one picks up an item. That being said sword clangs and magic spells sound ok, just don’t expect any of these to really wow you. Gameplay Petpet Adventures is a top-down playing game that, as mentioned before, reminds me somewhat of Untold Legends. You fight through various levels of the game using such tactics as melee weapons, bows and arrows and spells. You are also able to block enemy attacks as well as use items (e.g. food) go gain your health back. This is your basic action RPG and Neopets does not make any excuses for being such a game. You hack and slash your way through the various levels while leveling up your character and taking up the odd side quest to further the scope of your adventure. As this game does take on an RPG style to it the levels are very typical of such a game and although it is cliché to do such, there are some benefits to this. The developers made sure that each themed level has its own monsters. This was a pleasant surprise as I did not find myself having to fight through endless waves of the same types of monsters throughout the whole game. The fact that each type of level brought its own kind of monster to the game made me want to see what awaited me and my weapons in the next level. Along with the fighting comes your typical collecting as well. In this game you are able to collect different types of weapons, items and magic. To make this game just more then a “collectathon” you also align your Petpet with one of six different elements. These elements are water, fire, light, dark, air and earth. Once you choose a specific element your focus on it will allow specific types of magic spells to become available to you. Of course there is some tactics to this as you can defeat certain types of enemies and bosses much easier with certain types of elemental attacks. As Neopets is a hack and slash adventure your main goal is to fight various enemies throughout all the levels. As you progress through each level you will find out that it is not always that easy as some of the monsters you will come across are quite a challenge and you'll have to think once in a while to defeat them. Heck, even on occasion I found myself avoiding some of them all together until I was either powered up enough or found the one weapon I knew was strong enough to defeat them. I have to admit that this game is a pretty good title from the get-go, but as I got further into it there came a time that it lost its overall balance as an action RPG. In the paragraph previous to this one I clearly mention that the enemies can be a challenge, and that is by all accounts the truth as you will find yourself swapping between different weapons and magic to kill them. However, as you get deeper into the game you will eventually find that one perfect weapon that just seems too powerful and this changes the whole aspect of this game as it makes it a little too easy to get through the rest of the levels. As well, building up your characters attributes can be a chore as you use tokens that you acquire by winning fights in the Battledome. You end up fighting the same fight over and over again just to get more of these tokens. Where is the fun in this? It is these types of things that seemed to take the wind out of this games sails and it was disheartening as things seemed so positive for Neopets. Conclusion Petpet Adventures seemed to have a lot of get up and go right out of the gate with solid graphics and what seemed to be the gameplay to match, however extended playtime only showed that this game has some weaknesses which really affected the over play experience. There is no doubt however that any fan of the series will love this game and the candy coating looks will only further this feeling. Those looking for a deep action RPG will have to look elsewhere though as Petpet Adventures falls a little short in the storyline and balance to really make this a must have title.