Brave Story: New Traveler ReviewKyle Stepp
The PSP is no stranger to RPGs. With a ton of titles constantly hitting the little widescreened handheld, there seems to be a bit of something for everyone.
Brave Story has a very clear demographic. It's designed for RPG fans, and ONLY RPG fans.
When the story opens, it seems innocent enough: You're a boy named Tatsuya, who sits around playing, of all things, his PSP. His girlfriend nags for attention, but his game is far too interesting! She runs off with her dog... But the dog comes back, and in Lassie-esque fashion, alerts Tatsuya of DANGER! He finds his girl in a coma, and takes her to the hospital. No less than 5 minutes and a cutscene with questionable voice acting later, Tatsuya finds himself in the world of Vision, where dreams come true to those who make the journey.
Tatsuya will select his initial stats and stat growth by answering a series of questions early in the adventure, where he'll receive the Traveler's Sword and a set of very stupid looking clothes. He'll then encounter some easy turn-based battles, and a catgirl named Yuno who wears a skirt so short, the underside of her ass is perpetually showing.
No, I'm not a pervert for noticing. The battle camera seems to search for as many upskirt shots of her as possible whenever she's in the party.
Throughout these battles, when you're not busy staring at Yuno's posterior, you'll get to use all of the typical RPG conventions: attacks, spells (known as Bravura), items, defense, and even special Unity attacks, which are powerful skills that combine two characters' abilities. These battles break up the monotony of the dungeons, which
are basically straightforward shoots through any number of caverns, forests, castles, and other such locales. The graphics in each area and battle are serviceable, but the PSP is capable of better.
Luckily, the storyline is better. As I mentioned earlier, Tatsuya is dropped into the world of Vision, where he's recognized as a Traveler. He's told that in order to make his wish--his girlfriend waking from her coma--come true, he has to find 5 magical gemstones... Several of which are conveniently just lying around. Not only will the gemstones
increase the power of Tatsuya's Traveler Sword, certain gemstones will even allow you to further customize Tatsuya's stat growth, adding a level of replayability in finding out the best combinations. The writing has a nice sense of humor in it, even containing some laugh out loud moments. Through his adventure he'll encounter other
travelers, a variety of typical RPG races, and even a cantankerous young fallen Traveler that holds quite a lot of angst in him. Maybe he listened to too much Linkin Park in the real world.
Overall though, you're left with what amounts to be no more than a typical RPG, albeit a very solidly designed one. While it doesn't do anything you've not seen done a hundred times before, it's got a level of polish that's surprisingly refreshing. If you're not an RPG fan, Brave Story: New Traveler won't be the game for you. If you are, then this game will feel like the perfect blend between old-school and new-school gaming designs.
The shots of Yuno's ass don't hurt either.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.