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My World, My Way

Platform(s): Nintendo DS
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Atlus U.S.A.
Release Date: Feb. 3, 2009

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NDS Review - 'My World, My Way'

by Dustin Chadwell on March 4, 2009 @ 4:10 a.m. PST

My World, My Way is a world-crafting adventure where you play Princess Elise who, after being turned down by her fated love, is determined to cast off her dress and fineries in exchange for a suit of armor and a weapon and prove that she too can lead a life of excitement.

Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Global A
Release Date: February 3, 2009

If you quickly glance at the box art for My World, My Way, you'd probably think that the game is similar to the Ubisoft Imagine titles. However, My World, My Way is a pretty solid RPG adventure for the Nintendo DS, and while the game features a heroine instead of your standard male archetype, it's a pretty interesting take on your typical "princess."

At first, , My World, My Way does seem to be a bit derivative, and when you begin playing as Princess Elise, you're treated to a spoiled brat who only cares for herself and what she can get out of the world, hence the title of the game. However, when she's spurned by the only suitor who she's ever cared for due to her self-serving attitude, she decides to cut her long locks, don a suit of armor, and set off in the world in search of adventure, all in an attempt to gain the respect of the man she admires.

Of course, her father, the king, thinks this is a horrible idea and decides to put his own plan into play by hiring a well-known adventurer to thwart the princess before she can get started. He attempts to do this by taking care of problems before she can even encounter them or setting her on tasks that she can't possibly complete. This starts to backfire, and that's pretty much how the game goes from there.

My World, My Way doesn't really play out like any DS RPG that I can think of. For the most part, Elise is the only person you'll be controlling. You'll eventually gain a sidekick of sorts, and that opens up the magic abilities for Elise, but it doesn't serve as its own character with a separate life bar or stats. The world you'll explore is divided up into a series of circles or squares, and it serves as an overworld of sorts. You can move Elise one space at a time, and every so often, you'll run into a random enemy encounter, which then takes on a screen similar to Dragon Quest or the old Phantasy Stars. Enemy information, like HP, will be displayed on-screen, along with your personal information. You'll have a basic attack, items, magic, and most of the typical RPG trappings at your disposal. Defeating enemies nets you gold and experience, and the leveling up system is similar to all the other RPG titles you've ever played.

However, My World, My Way implements a particular ability: Elise's Pout Points. Since Elise is bratty and used to getting what she wants, she's given a limited amount of points that can be put to use in a variety of ways. In combat, it can give her the ability to strike first or to say that she's bored with a particular encounter, allowing her to simply avoid it altogether. Beyond combat, they provide a number of uses, and as you level up and gain more points, you're given access to more skills. One will allow you raise the amount of money you can gain from defeating monsters, while another lets you change the terrain of the overworld square you're currently in, which will then cause you to fight different monsters within that area. There are a pretty large number of options that unlock over time, and they all have some type of use or another.

Towns serve as hubs on each map or area you encounter, which will allow you to buy a variety of items, like healing potions and bombs, or armor and weapons with which to equip Elise. There's also an inn at every town where you can stay for free to rest up your hit points, magic points and pout points. Also at the inn, you can opt to eat a meal, and different meals will provide bonuses, like to your experience gained or other stats. Exploring around the town a bit will often net you a few extra quests too, with a lot of the townspeople looking for a specific item or for you to kill a certain number of beasts.

If I have any real issue with My World, My Way, it's that the formula of going from one area to the next starts to get a little stale early on. You'll find yourself entering an area, talking to the townspeople, accomplishing those goals, and then moving on to the next. The formula introduces itself early, and while there are some small variations throughout, it does get a little old after a while. Also, once you realize you can abuse the inn system easily enough, the game doesn't offer up a great deal of challenge. Most fights can be won by using your Pout Points to strike first, unleash a bomb or missle to wipe out enemies in one turn, and go on to the next fight. Money is hard to come by at the outset, but you only need to get a couple of drops from enemies to start padding your wallet again.

Visually, the game isn't too impressive, but when you're in battle and view things through the town menu or overworld map. The grid-like presentation of the overworld doesn't leave a lot of room for detail, so you're only giving minimal assets to represent different types of terrain. In battle, you'll have larger detailed models for enemies, but they're in that kind of ugly 3-D state that a lot of DS games seem to have when they opt for something other than 2-D art. The few cut scenes are nice, and I really like the anime art style used there, but it doesn't carry over so well to the 3-D stuff.

However, the soundtrack is surprisingly solid, and I found quite a few tracks to be pretty catchy. It's not the best DS RPG soundtrack out there, but it's definitely one that's worth checking out. There's nothing in the way of voice acting in the game, though, but that's a given considering that the budget for this title is probably fairly small.

Still, My World, My Way is a surprisingly solid RPG, and one that I think a lot of people will probably miss solely because of the cover art. I'd say that it's worth picking up and checking out because the gameplay is pretty unique for the genre, the localization work is pretty snappy, and the use of the Pout Point system is definitely something I haven't seen in an RPG before. Check this one and see what you think. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Score: 7.5/10


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