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Fragile Dreams (Wii)

Review by Roger Hargreaves - Since the Wii is the best-selling home console in Japan and also the cheapest to develop for it should have become the platform of choice for Japanese role-players.

It's not really worked out that way though and exclusives like this are very much the exception, not the rule.

This is no cheap shovelware release either, even if the final product is ultimately a grave disappointment.

Although GameCube owners might recognise them best as the creators of Baten Kaitos, developer tri-Crescendo are best known this generation for Eternal Sonata on the 360 and PS3.

Surprisingly this shares a similar art style, except with an overall darker tone that seems decidedly non Wii-like.

Here you're cast as a lonely 15 year-old exploring a post apocalyptic world after the death of your grandfather.

The apocalypse in question is supernatural rather than man-made but on paper at least this could easily be seen as a Japanese answer to Fallout 3.

Much of your time is spent exploring broken down buildings and the other sad remnants of civilisation.

You do get to level up and improve your stats, but there are just as many influences from the world of survival horror as there are from role-players.

With the world perpetually shrouded in darkness your most important equipment is a Silent Hill style torch to aid your exploration and ratchet up the creepy atmosphere even further.

It's certainly more fun to use than the range of useless melee weapons, which seem to break at random and make the clunky combat even more of a chore.

Why your character controls like he has both his legs in traction is a mystery.

Unfortunately it's not just the combat which is subject to such unnecessary and self-defeating frustrations.

You've very little inventory space and you can only study and swap new items at a campsite save point.

Usually finding and using new items is a highlight of any game, but here it's just a tedious chore as you run back and forth between campsites - and enemies respawn each time you do so.

The final nail in the coffin is the tedious fetch quests that underline your progress and frequently require you to back-track for miles.

Somehow the melancholic atmosphere and plot (and consistently excellent graphics) do keep you going but even they're hampered by slow pacing.

There is a lot of good work here but tri-Crescendo have sabotaged themselves with outdated and frustrating gameplay.

IN SHORT: One of the Wii's best-looking games, but this role-playing hybrid is all atmosphere and no substance.

PROS: Excellent art design and graphics help to create a uniquely atmospheric and intriguing game world.

CONS: Clumsy combat, tedious fetch quests and awkward inventory system. Highly repetitive and slow-paced.

SCORE: 4/10 Out:

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