The PSP has an amazing JRPG library now that many PS2 classics have been released for the mobile machine. Atlus adds another with a remake of a PS2 hit, Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time. The character art is by anime and manga star Satoshi Urushihara (Legend of Lemnear, Plastic Little), which means the designs are awesome. Set in the war-torn world of Noievarl, you take the role of an amnesiac protagonist who is adopted by the mercenary brigade Alten Schwart. The engrossing story takes off as soon as you hit start and are treated to the great animated intro that harkens back to classic 80s anime.
Alten Schwart rescues a boy fallen and left for dead. You eventually become friends as he learns the way of the mercenaries. When Angels suddenly begin attacking the world, your life will change forever. I won't get too into it, but the story is vast with many twists and politics, and really dives deep into all the characters involved.
Gameplay is classic JRPG style. You have up to four active party members, composed of 11 of possible playable characters. Weapons are fixed per character, but magic and skill are customizable via the ring accessory. Rings can be leveled and slotted with gems to enhance and customize each character much like the materia system in another popular RPG. Battles are done in real-time as you encounter enemies on the world map. Animated cut scenes pepper the game and are voiced in English for your pleasure.
This is a solid JRPG in all respects—customizable characters, engaging battle system, and a deep story full of twists and turns. And with over 40 possible endings and the Fate System, which you can alter the fates of characters and change the scripted outcome of their lives, this game will keep you glued to your PSP screen for a long, long time.
Hint: Make sure to learn magic. Many fights will be impossible without proper use of spells!
by Reginald Rhodes
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