Home > Gaming, Wii > Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon Review (Wii)

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon Review (Wii)

This may be the Wii's "Ico".

When I first saw this game announced, my first instinct was that it would never be brought over to the states.  Luckily the folks at XSeed decided to release it here, much to the delight of many a fan.  The plot of the game is set in a post apocalyptic world and follows a young boy named Seto on his journey to find more people.  While fairly simple of a concept at first, the game really develops early on and becomes an endearing tale of love, loss, and loneliness.  The game itself is incredibly beautiful in both style and presentation.

Gameplay: The game itself plays like a simplified survival horror game.  The majority of the time is spent wandering around in the dark with your flashlight controlled by the wiimote (which is phenomenally done).  You’ll find simple weapons, hunt for items that allow you to progress to the next area, and encounter numerous ghosts and demons.  The main difference is that it’s not really intended to be survival horror and is instead supposed to be a focus on human drama.  The creatures are more for an added element of danger and to portray the world as hostile to make the few compatriots you meet even more special.  I did have a few issues with the gameplay, however.  The first big problem is the games reliance on randomness.  An example being that all weapons have a chance to break based on some invisible data that makes it seem entirely random.  This can prove incredibly detrimental to the game experience as you have to use some of your limited inventory space to carry a backup weapon.  On top of this, that sometimes may not be enough.  I found a couple of times where between save points, where you can purchase new weapons or get weapons out of your storage, I would fight three sets of monsters and my first weapon would break on the first fight and my second weapon would break on the second fight.  This lead me to having to fight with a broken weapon for 1/4 the damage through the third fight which takes an incredibly long time.  My weapons were breaking so frequently that it reached a point that for the last half of the game I avoided every possible encounter.  There’s also the issue that the merchant appears randomly when you access a save point.  While not too big of an inconvenience, it proves annoying in a different way.  That way is the other issue that I had with the game.  So many things have a cutscene and they play out incredibly slowly.  This leads to a lot of things dragging on unnecessarily and can prove to be grating on the nerves.  Take the merchant as an example.  It takes roughly 30 seconds for him to appear to a point where you can buy/sell/or cancel any transactions and then another 30 seconds for him to leave after that.  This isn’t an option you can bypass since he appears randomly and can make the simple process of saving take almost two to three minutes.  There are a lot of other elements in the menu system that just prove to be way more time consuming than it needs to be.  If you ever die you are looking at an average of five minutes before you can get back to playing the game from the last savepoint.  While not a huge damper on gameplay, it’s still a decent amount of frustration.

Setting: The art of the game is stunning at times.  It is clearly an anime styled game and they pull it off surprisingly well without resorting to cel-shading.  One of the best elements of the game is the actual environments that you travel through.  It’s funny that, in a game about death where the environments are all destroyed, the levels are full of more life and character than any big budget title.  They put such attention to the little details of the world in order to make them feel lived in.  The areas never seem repeated, the various knick-knacks all feel like they belong in the world instead of just placed to fill up space.  Probably the biggest aspect is the drawings that cover most of the world.  There are numerous doodles on the walls and floor of every segment you go through, and every single one is different and unique.  Along with the drawings are a great number of messages written out on the walls that are sometimes cryptic, sometimes useful warnings, and sometimes completely irrelevant to what’s going on.  These messages help so much in making you feel the people who used to live there.  The messages don’t make sense to you, but they would have made sense to whoever wrote them.  This helps the idea that this level wasn’t created just for you the player.  It’s a marvelous idea and it’s shocking that you don’t see attention to detail on this scale in a lot of the bigger budget titles.  Another great way that the world is brought to life is through the various mementos of the past that you collect.  Gathering these items allows you to glimpse the memories of those related to the objects.  Usually these are bittersweet and connected stories that really flesh out even more of the world you’re in as they often tie together to where you found the item.  It’s really reminiscent of Lost Odyssey’s Thousand Year Dreams.

Characters: Here is where the game shines brightest.  The characters are all very deep and moving and really feel alive in this world of decay and death.  XSeed was kind enough to provide dual audio (English or Japanese) for us where most companies would complain of not being able to fit it on disc.  Seto himself is seen as an incredibly optimistic character and really represents hope in the darkest of times.  Through the game, Seto meets a number of companions that all have their own deep and fleshed out background stories and troubles.  From a girl’s ghost, to a machine A.I., to a young acrobatic boy, we end up caring about every single character in the game to a great deal, and there are many sad moments and heartwarming exchanges shared between them.  I would love to say more, but I risk spoiling things if I detail too much.

Audio: The game’s soundtrack is really a piece of work on it’s own.  It’s very melancholy and full of glass bells, soft piano medleys, and lamenting strings.  The voice work (at least in Japanese) is incredible and full of great emotion.  It’s really interesting to hear the A.I. that sounds robotic and yet filled with life that I have not seen since GLaDOS.  The sound work in the game is really well done and each monster has it’s own unique sound that you hear like a rattlesnake warning before you’re about to encounter them.  Background music exists, but when traversing the levels you generally will be left with only the sound of your own footsteps.  This proves to be quite haunting and promotes the idea of your loneliness.  It’s really interesting how they worked out ways that your companions don’t have footsteps to emphasize that element.  Another interesting element is the speaker in the Wii mote that allows you to hold it up to your ear to listen to specific messages from your companions.

Overall the game is likely to just be a sleeper hit, but will prove to have troubles even hitting that mark due to small amount of advertising devoted to the game.  Hopefully word will spread on what may be one of the best games on the Wii thus far.

Categories: Gaming, Wii
  1. jettwinlock
    April 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I got this game but I haven’t really had a chance to get into, every review I read was always talking that the gameplay seemed lacking, but honestly I felt the gameplay was fine in it. It’s a good mixture of survival horror and rpg. I am so use to RPGs though that I was a bit taken back when I was attacked by arms coming from a wall, sort of lowered my guard with the horror aspect.

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