Too nostalgic. How ironic.
I doubt there has ever been a title as perfectly fitting as Nostalgia. It is as traditional as a JRPG gets: You start as Gilbert Brown, adventurer extraordinaire, a man who travels the globe at a moment’s notice to search for the greatest treasures of history. But as he’s escaping from his latest discovery, he’s lost somehow, and his son Eddie takes up the manhunt.
[image1]Along the way, he makes the acquaintance of other travelers, like the “troubled kid who needed saving”, the “girl who was saved by Dad”, “girl who wants revenge for her village”, and even “lady space pirate”, and travels to exotic, "real"-world locales. (The travelers’ names are Pad, Fiona, Melody, and Scarlett respectively, but c’mon… no names with ‘x’s or ‘z’s? It’s not a real JRPG without some messed-up names!) In other words, the story takes places in an alternate 1800s than the one in my old textbook. If school had been like this, I might’ve paid more attention.
While the 3D graphics is… well, DS-style, the environments and towns are well-detailed and pleasing to the eye. Each city is designed to fit their region, which is to be expected, though most of them still feel small much of the time; most are just a few shops and civilians, right next to a place to park your airship (nobody tickets airships, that’s nice of them).
What really stands out is that nothing at all feels new. The battle system is a turn-based variation, the exploration is as old-school as you can get, and the characters are all plucky stereotypes of games past. If there was anything – anything – that was truly unique, I would point it out, believe me. But as it is, the universe and controls feel recycled from games long past (even the world is recycled… from the real world).
[image2]That’s not to say that it doesn’t do some things right. The dialogue gets the job done, the objectives are clear, the world is still open to exploration, and the leveling up of skills for characters can be customized (though collected skill points are used for every character instead of individuals). It’s a big world to explore, and you’ll be able to look around at will for new stops and treasure.
Speaking of objectives, in order to become a “true” adventurer, you have to join "the club". There, you can pick up missions, collect rewards for any you finish, and up your rank to earn new missions and items. They’re entirely optional, similar to the structure of Crisis Core for the PSP, and give the game some replay value. It’s a good thing they’re not necessary, though, as you’ll explore areas you’ve already completed, which means back-tracking over old terrain.
Nostalgia suffers from being stunted and stuck in the past, but then I suppose that’s where the title comes in. But it’s more a placebo for the genre than anything productive.