Brave Story: New Traveler Review
In modern games change usually seems to come at the cost of fun. Many games seem to embrace change for change's sake as an ideal and they try to point to gimmicks in the game as innovations. Some of these games have been embraced by the public at large, like Katamari Damacy, while others have failed, such as Boogie. There are very few games that really even attempt to hark back to the earlier days of video gaming, such as on the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. Brave Story: New Traveler is almost like a modern update to all of those old-school role-playing games and it's a breath of fresh air in an over-saturated gaming market.
That's not to say that Brave Story is completely derivative, the game offers plenty of interesting ideas wrapped up in an almost storybook-like atmosphere. The main character and his best friend, you name the two of them, are sitting on a bench. The dork that he is, the hero would rather play his hand-held gaming system (looks like a PlayStation Portable) than talk to the cute girl next to him. She eventually runs off chasing her unfortunately named dog and, when the hero goes looking for her, he finds her passed out. It seems she has been afflicted by some mystery illness that can only be cured if he travels to the mysterious land of Vision and seeks a wish from the Goddess of Destiny.
Of course the path isn't going to be that simple. He will have to explore Vision and retrieve five magical gemstones to put into the sword he has been given by the same mysterious voice that led him to this strange land. Along the way he will make friends, collect party members and embark on a twenty hour or so quest. The game has a somewhat childish feel to it but not to the degree that it makes it hard for an adult to play. It's actually somewhat refreshing to play a fairly simple and easy to get into game like this after all the Final Fantasy's and Phantasy Star's out there.
Vision is populated with all sorts of interesting folk to talk to, gather quests from and to join your party. There are a number of different humanoid races that populate Vision and they all seem to live mostly in harmony; there are the feline-like Kitkin, the lizard-like Waterkin, the Beastkin who seem to have aspects of horned animals, the human Ankhakin and the Bankin, which I have no idea what they're supposed to be. You will get allies from all these groups to help you on your journey.
In Vision you are what is known as a Traveler. The natives see Travelers as mythical figures and many will jump at the opportunity to intertwine their destiny with yours. To that end, almost as soon as you start the game you will gain a half-Kitkin, half-Ankhakin girl named Yuno. She's a teenaged hunter who is quite proficient with a bow. From there you will get a Waterkin bruiser named Sogreth and several others who will aide you in your travels to the find the five sacred gemstones and enter the Goddess' tower.