Avalon Code - Reader Review  

The End is the Beginning
by Dorothea Hauk

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20-40 Hours
+ Highly original concept
+ Fun, addictive gameplay
+ Great Visuals
- Ridiculously huge menu
- Repeated songs
- Repeated level designs
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   Developed by Matrix Software, the ones behind the remakes of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV DS, Avalon Code is a game of many unique qualities. It is adventure RPG set in a charming fantasy world that is quite similar to the Legend of Zelda series, but calling Avalon Code a Zelda rip-off would be a mistake. Avalon Code is a highly original game with a solid concept, but will it last to see the new world?

   You play as either Yumil or Tia, depending on your choice of gender, but lets just have Tia assume the role of main character. Tia is a young girl living a quiet life in the city of Rhoan. With the appearance of the Book of Prophecy and one of the four spirits Rempo, the spirit of fire, Tia is told of the coming of the end of the world, and that she was chosen by the Book of Prophecy to collect data of the old world to build a new world. The premise of the story is unique, and original; although, the plot does not try to be anything special. Despite the typical plot the story is still entertaining with its charming setting and characters, just don't be expecting too much.

Altering codes for greener weapons. Altering codes for greener weapons.

   The Book of Prophecy serves as the game's main menu, each character, monster, item, you record and place you visit will have a page in the Book. Once a character, monster or item is recorded Tia can then alter their attributes by manipulating the code fragments on their pages. She can even create special weapons or items with the right combination of codes, those combinations can be learned from the many tablets placed throughout the game.

   The most original system of this game holds some of the games biggest flaws, first of which is size of the Book of Prophecy. The Book has nearly a total of one thousand five hundred pages, there is over two hundred monster and character pages alone. Imagine having to flip through over two hundred pages just to find one code fragment. Not only that, merely moving code fragments cost one MP so when you run out and can't move that one code until you have replenish your MP then you have to find the code all over again. It isn't all bad, just ridiculously huge.

   Of course, the menu is only one part of the game and there is much more then flipping through page after page. The gameplay is is very similar to what you would have with the 2-D Zelda games, you fight through monster, solve puzzles, and crawl through dungeons. The combat is simple, Tia can equip a weapon in both hands. There are five basic types of weapons: Swords, hammers, bombs, projectiles, or bare hands. The left and right hands are assigned to the X and Y buttons, the buttons will allow you to attack with the weapon in the corresponding hand. Then there is Judgement Link, a fun mini game where Tia will send the enemy flying into the air and juggle them, if the enemy is defeated in this manner the player is rewarded with MP, and health restoration. The simplistic gameplay is fun and addictive, but nothing too special.

The Book is watching you. The Book is watching you.

   Combat and dungeon crawling can get tedious at times, but there are always side quests and mini games, you can even gain the affection of the other characters. Talking to the characters and giving them the right presents will increase their affection of you, which you will sometimes end up with ridiculously awkward scenes, that will often have sweet music and heart shaped clouds floating in the background. Sometimes these scenes are humorous and sometimes not, but they are always silly.

   Sound wise Avalon Code can be just as awkward as the romances. The music it good and there are some really nice songs, but some of them are repeated far too many times. The same song is played for every dungeon, and it is a song that gets old fast. The voice acting; however, is not so good, many of the voices that are not the main cast of characters can be rather annoying, but the voice acting is most certainly not the worst. The game also offers some of the best visuals on the DS, the characters are detailed and expressive, even though the textures can be pixellated at times. Sadly, like the music, level designs are often repeated with little to no difference.

   Avalon Code is a game with great visual, originality, simplistic and fun gameplay, and a good musical score. Though flaws like a cumbersome menu, repetitive level designs and music, awkward romances, and some annoying voice acting are apparent throughout the game. Even with those flaws Avalon Code is more then worth while game.

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