Solatorobo - Red the Hunter (DSi Enhanced) (U) ROM
Nintendo DS / DS NDS ROMsGenre: ActionRole-PlayingAction-Adventure
Rating: CERO: A, PEGI: 7+, ESRB: E10+
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Game Description & Reviews:
This is one of the most visually stunning titles the DS has to offer. It has a unique art style and some impressive cutscenes. It is, in my opinion, the best game on the DS, and quite possibly, the best JRPG ever made. And it doesn't make sense how such a thing can be possible, when the developers, CyberConnect2, made a freaking Naruto MMO. I guess they had to compensate for their achievements with some garbage SOMEWHERE. But I get ahead of myself. Let's talk about the setting for this game. Buckle the hell up, this is gonna get weird, and fast. First off. The people in this game aren't human. They are either of a race of doglike humanoids called Caninu, or of a race of catlike humanoids called Felineko. Secondly. The dominant language of the society is French. The entire game takes place on hovering islands, suspended above a vast sea of electrified clouds shrouding the blanket of plasma covering the uninhabited planet below. The aesthetic is all over the place, and fueled by the world's odd nature. The architecture is European-inspired. This game has been described as being "steampunk", but that's inaccurate, because one can't find cogs and pipes tastlessly stapled to every surface. Rather, the technology and aesthetic is approximately Industrial-era, but very much taking pages out of the look emblematic of early aviation. The main mode of transportation is airships of every size and description, with characters frequently sporting heavy windbreakers, G-suit-esque garb, fur hats, and aviation goggles.
Another departure from the norm is that every individual worth their salt in this game owns a personal mech, useful for anything from labor to combat.
That's enough description of the world. Let's get down to the game aspect of this game. Mechs are most commonly employed by Hunters, or basically, "RPG characters as an occupation". Seriously. The job description of a Hunter is someone who takes quests for money.
The player character of this game, Red, is a male Caninu who works as a Hunter with his adoptive sister, Chocolat. He's the muscle on the ground, getting the jobs done, while she's the brains and transport of the operation, flying their small home ship, the Asmodeus, as well as calculating their expenses in terms of fuel and food.
Red has at his disposal quite a powerful mech, called the DAHAK. It's smaller than most, but also much more technologically advanced than most, displaying impressive strength and speed. The primary mode of combat is to avoid enemy attacks, looking for an opening to grab the enemy, dealing damage by throwing them about. It's a simple but satisfying combat system that you can add a lot of unnecessary finesse to, if you feel so inclined.
This game features a large amount of unlockables, and the best kind of unlockables, at that. You can find concept art, songs from the pretty great soundtrack, and even rewatchable versions of the story cutscenes.
Now, for the arguably most important part of any RPG. The story. The story of Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is, in fact, fantastic. I really can't go into detail because spoiling any of it would be a textbook dick move, but I'll describe its strong points. First, it's very well written, and the localization team did a stellar job translating everything. Second, it's very powerful emotionally. It's a character driven narrative that subtly and effectively deals with themes of depression, self-denial, and other such confusing feelings, and it does it sparingly to contrast very effectively with the game's normally upbeat tone. And by subtlety, I mean that it never uses such phrasing as "character X is depressed" or anything. By subtlety, I mean that on my second playthrough, I still felt the intended suspenseful anxiety that certain moments conveyed, despite knowing how everything tuns out.
I know this "review" was horribly organized and a bit all over the place, but in brief, this game is fantastic and you should play it. I recommend emulating via DeSmuME, and if your CPU can handle it, using the forked version that provides optional upscaling to the 3d engine, as it makes this already beautiful game positively stunning.
Solatorobo is a really great game. It's polished in story and art, and has a great world to explore. The mech-based combat might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I don't consider it a detriment. This is an excellent title and shouldn't be passed up.
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