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Developer:
Idol Minds
Publisher: SCEA
Platform: PS2
Release Date: November 16, 2005

by Robert Stock




In late 2005, the Neopets made their jump to the PlayStation 2 console with the release of Neopets: The Darkest Faerie. The game is an action adventure where hardcore Neopets fans and younger audiences might find some enjoyment, but anyone else may want to pass on this title.


The story of Neopets: The Darkest Faerie follows two unlikely heroes, Tormund, a young Lupen, and Roberta, a young sorceress. Of course, the main story follows defeating the Darkest Faerie, but most of the game will be more focused on traveling from town to town and completing different objectives. When the game begins you will be limited to only Tormund, but eventually you will be given access to playing as Roberta. While Roberta is used for your magical spells and abilities, Tormund is strictly a melee attacker. Eventually the two heroes will meet up, allowing you access to each of their strengths and abilities. The game will even allow you to switch between the two characters whenever the player would like.


For the most part, Neopets: The Darkest Faerie consists of visiting towns and completing different objectives for some of the townís people. Many of these missions consist of fetching an item, bringing it back, and then receiving some type of reward. And considering the size of some of the environments, this leads to a lot of annoying backtracking throughout the game. The amount of backtracking might not be that big of a problem if it werenít for the game's problematic camera and the dreadful combat system.


The biggest problem with the combat system is that it can be rather tedious and boring. There is only one real attack button throughout the game, and most of the time the player will be button mashing it over and over. It's possible to do some sort of chain attacks, which will depend on the timing of the button presses. However, like I said, chances are most gamers will be just mashing over and over. One of the biggest problems with the combat is the actual difficulty. Most enemies will take a number of hits before they are defeated, and unless you are able to pull off a chain attack, most of your attacks will be fairly weak. And considering that this game is marketed towards a younger audience, I canít really see how many gamers are going to like the difficulty. Itís not only that either, but most of the combat just generally looks bad. Most of Tormundís attacks donít look very convincing and that just adds even more problems to the already troubled combat system.


Along the way, in order to help with your adventure, characters will be able to obtain items known as ďmotes.Ē These motes are small elemental magic items that can be equipped on characters' equipment. There are six types of motes, including: fire, water, air, earth, dark, and light. Each of these motes has an opposing element, and determining those will be fairly easy and should help with playing the game.


As I stated earlier, the game also has a problem with the camera views. There were instances where the camera would become stuck on objects, such as rocks, buildings, or trees. The camera not only got stuck, but occasionally it would cause the game to sort of twitch. It would constantly move back and forth and lead to several headaches. It should also be noted that the game suffers from a lot of load times. While it isnít unusual for a game to have many load times, there were instances when you would have to wait for the game to load and then walk three feet away and get stuck with MORE loading.


Graphically, Neopets: The Darkest Faerie isnít necessarily bad, but it is definitely dated. The graphics look more like an early PlayStation 2 release rather than a game that should be released in the system's closing years. While the cutscenes' graphics are a little more impressive, they're still very dated.


The sound in the game isn't particularly impressive either. While the game's voice work isnít too bad, it isnít used very often, aside from the occasional cutscene. The rest of the voice acting consists of repetitive uses of laughs, sighs, and grunts. For the most part, the game's score isnít too bad either, but it isnít quite impressive enough to bump up the sound.


All in all, Neopets: The Darkest Faerie is easily a game made for younger audiences and hardcore fans. Many of the game's elements are dated, while others are just annoying and problematic. If youíre looking for a childrenís game or youíre a die-hard fan of the Neopets, then you might find some enjoyment within this game. Otherwise, steer clear!


Final Grade: 60%




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