By Ishaan . July 15, 2009 . 10:00am
I’ll admit when we first discovered Four Warriors of Light, I was less than enthusiastic about the game. Just like everyone else, I was hoping for Square’s mystery reveal to be a Romancing Saga game, not because I’m fond of that franchise but because I was hoping a new DS game would encourage me to acquaint myself with it.
Still, once the initial shock — as if they hadn’t re-released Final Fantasy 1 enough times — of a simplistic old school RPG (complete with boy-rescues-princess story) wore off, Four Warriors of Light started to sound more and more appealing as information trickled out through the game’s website and various magazines. Underneath the facade of a simplistic, retro RPG seemed to be what was a departure from the style you tend to associate Square Enix with nowadays.
What made the first big difference was the rotating town video. Something about it made me want to get my hands on the game and wander through the environments myself. Perhaps it was that the town looked like a combination of Animal Crossing and something out of Grimm’s fairytales. Nothing was symmetrical. Everything was so colourful and the layout so imaginative. The perspective changed as you walked similar to the way it did in Animal Crossing: Wild World, and this alone made the town feel greater in scale. It gave you the urge to run around and explore, which is something I find not many RPGs do nowadays.
Perhaps it’s for the best then, that Four Warriors of Light features what would seem to be a rather archetypical story. You play as a young lad named Brand, who has officially come of age the day the story begins. Fourteen-year-old Brand is summoned to the king’s abode so his highness can perform his coming of age ceremony. Sometime during the whole affair, a witch sweeps in and makes off with the king’s daughter. Brand and a bunch of others decide to retrieve her.
So sure, there’s no evil plot to steal the hearts of all the people in the world to give rise to an army of shadows and discover the true nature of the heart, but hey, we’ve got other games for that.
It feels like the purpose behind Four Warriors of Light is to create an RPG that is more about the journey than about the end. About traveling to new places and discovering different cultures rather than uncovering some deep-rooted mystery. I’m hopeful that the game will feature a decent amount of NPC conversations and side quests that will help emphasize this. We so often debate how to improve immersion in games, but we’ve never really considered if scrapping all but the basic components of exploration and discovery is a solution to that puzzle. Four Warriors of Light could very well bring us a step closer to finding out.
The second feature that caught my attention was the promise of character customization and the four-player co-op. I love the customization in the Crystal Chronicles games on DS, and Four Warriors of Light looks to have just as many customization options. Co-op play in DS games is always a great feature, and it seems like Square Enix are intent on including it with every reasonably budgeted DS game they put out (see: DQIX and Blood of Bahamut).
Provided Four Warriors of Light doesn’t get overly grindy and they let you ride dragons and giant lizards, and explore with your friends, I think we’re in for a real treat.
Impress Watch couldn’t be more right when they say the look of the game seems to be inspired by picture books. When you’re not pouring over badly scanned images, the game looks colourful and incredible. Matrix Software really know their stuff. Be sure to check out concept art for the game at the link.