Brave Story: New Traveler

This brave new RPG from developers XSeed Games is, at first glance, perhaps not so brave as it's wrought with many of the same RPG cliches and repetitive gameplay that inflict countless other titles.

The title says it all: It may have a new traveler as it's main character, but it definitely sports the same old brave story. The good news is, however, once you break the outer layer of Brave Story: New Traveler, you'll be treated to a wonderful RPG experience featuring some of the most solid gameplay PSP owners have been delivered to date.

A Familiar Friend

Brave Story: New Traveler puts you in the role of the unnamed "Traveler" who's slow to speak (ala the Legend of Zelda series), and has been swept off to an unknown land to find the Goddess of Destiny. He must ask of her his one wish: to cure his best friend who has been recently stricken ill. Oh, but he has to find five gemstones before he can reach the Goddess, and will befriend a zany cast of characters along the way to help him with his quest. Ok, so Brave Story's elements are pretty familiar when it comes to classic RPG motifs, but the game itself is fresher than it sounds on paper .

20/20 Vision

The team behind New Traveler spared no expense in bringing to life the fantasy world of Vision. The towns and dungeons are bold and vibrant, and the battle sequences show off impressive effects. Speaking of the battles, it's a nice touch to be able to switch to the Japanese dubbing (though the English voice-overs aren't too horrible). Thankfully, the trend of including the original Japanese voice track makes it a little easier on the ears as you don't have to hear the same phrases over and over again... or understand them.

With a lighthearted story, stellar graphics and an all-around solid presentation, New Traveler has a lot going for it. The game has in no way surpassed some of the milestone RPGs whose influence is acutely obvious throughout, though XSeed has taken what it's learned from others and made a well-rounded game out of it. It definitely won't be the RPG to own for the PSP, but it will serve up a nice, albeit well-trodden, fantasy world to romp around in for a while.

Pros: Vibrant graphics, small load times, solid presentation on the whole.
Cons: Some too-familiar aspects of story and gameplay, story may be too "kiddy" for some.

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