Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nintendo eShop Review - Weapon Shop de Omasse

With the holidays come gifts, and for me, gifts mean Nintendo eShop credits. For the most part, my friends all know I love games, and they all know I love Nintendo. With some fresh eShop credit burning a whole in my virtual pocket, it was time for some new games, and with the current sale on games by Level 5, I decided to check out Weapon Shop de Omasse.

My introduction to the game studio known as Level 5 came with Fantasy Life, the recent action-RPG for the 3DS. One of the things I loved about the game was the writing. For a generic RPG story, I thought the dialogue in Fantasy Life was very clever. When I heard that WSdO also had an emphasis on clever writing (It was even written by a Japanese comedian), that sealed the deal for me.

WSdO's dialogue really is what sets this game apart. Each interaction with a customer is set up like a live sitcom. Customers enter with applause, and dialogue is punctuated with laughter, cheers, or boos. It sounds irritating, but it really isn't. The character interactions set the whole experience off and make what would otherwise be a mundane rhythm game into something memorable. While the customers are out on quests,  you can check the "Grindcast," which is basically a medieval Twitter. Customers will leave status updates as their quests progress, and this adds a lot to the gameplay. Watching the personalities of the customers change as they adopt their "online persona" is a cheeky reference to how most of us approach social media, and another clever addition that adds to the charm of the game.

As a whole the WSdO experience is one of time management. Juggling different orders and ensuring your shop has a wide variety of weapons in stock for any of the random customers who come in is a large part of the game. While attempting to forge new weapons, polish returned weapons, check the Grindcast, and order materials, the days counting down the approach of the Dark Lord seem to slip away. This game is very addictive. Despite taking about 10 hours to complete the main story mode, I completed most of it in one sitting. I just couldn't tear myself away from my 3DS. I just had to forge one more weapon, complete one more order, or unlock one more level.

In between cinematics, the gameplay is fairly simple. Each customer has an ideal weapon suited to both their preferences and the quest they are setting out to complete. As an apprentice blacksmith at the local weapon shop, it's your job to figure out what that weapon is and make it for your customer. The weapon forging minigame is a basic rhythm game. Time your hammer strikes with the beats of the music, and try to take as long as possible to do so. The more hammer strikes you use to make your weapon, the better your resulting weapon will be. As you're actually running a rental shop, it's very important to send your customers out with the right weapon, or you may never get it back. I've heard this game described as repetitive, and to be honest, it is. However, I'm a huge weapons nerd, so it didn't get old for me. Forging and lovingly polishing dozens of broadswords, falchions, morning stars, rapiers, and daggers was tons of fun, and I couldn't wait to rank up to see what new weapons I'd unlock.

So would I recommend this game? Maybe. Once the game is finished, an infinite mode is unlocked which allows you to forge weapons to beat an increasingly powerful nemesis. I plan to replay the main story mode once more to see if I can do better, but I have to admit this game may not be for everyone. There's a ton of dialogue, and the forging can be really frustrating at times. However, the game is a steal right now at $2.99US on the eShop. If you like weapons and good writing, I guarantee it's worth the price.

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