The Play has Ended
Sands of destruction is a Nintendo DS RPG developed by ImageEpoch and published by Sega in 2008 in japan and 2010 for the US
Sands of Destruction is quite a different title wherein you play the harbinger of destruction from a being to end in fact all main objectives move towards this goal. You play the young man Kyrie, who in typical RPG fashion is an orphan raised by his uncle, While this is not ground breaking twist that soon changes with you joining the bad guys "The world annihilation front!" Who’s sole desire it is to end everything, of course this depends on perspective if you inhabit the world why would you want it to end? But then again in a world presided over by the ferals and their lords where humans call even the lowest peg of the ladder master, and are used as pets, food or even fertiliser wouldn't death be welcome?
The story is quite easy to follow even with the many plot twists. An innocent young man with incredible power is found by the world annihilation front, one of the more extreme groups dissatisfied with their masters so much so they want everything gone and because of you they might just get their way. Morte a member of the WAF soon snaps the young man up after receiving word that the destruct (harbinger of the worlds end) via handbills falling from the sky has been located. She tracks him down and whisks him off his feet and on an adventure to destroy the primal lords in order to bring chaos and death with quakes, tsunami and storms. Along the way you will make alliances with various characters from a women bent on ending the world to a dragonkin and my personal RPG favourite a living stuffed bear that happens to also be a bounty hunter, While the story has its quirks and some moments that are seemingly random they all end up tying back to the main story and is mostly well done. It has decided to cut from the RPG stereotype cloth a fair bit but it is by no means bad, if anything it adds a sense of nostalgia of an era of RPGs past. I personally enjoyed the story and dreaded the phrase "Acta Est Fabula" the destruct code … such power.
Visually the game yet again reeks of an era since passed, offering more nostalgic visuals retro or old school gamers are used to, it is blocky but it works think anime art style in a SNES RPG fashion. It’s your typical old school RPG where characters and NPC models are more Lego men than people yet backgrounds are quite well done it even boasts a rare beautiful CG scene. The same can be said about the music scores in the game they to seem to have hopped through a time warp and made it into a more modern title but again it works well with how the story’s progressing and situation you are in. This alone keeps me coming back and I am sure any old school RPG fans would appreciate reliving a game similar to that of their youths.
You can customise your attacks and skills by spending points it’s a basic system that is easy to understand, just a case of adding points to become stronger these are earned like EXP. As well as this it boasts a function I don’t recall coming across before called the quip function simply a small quote or catchphrase or even a snide comment with a variety of effects from HP restoration to Stat boosts mid battle, This function is so easy to use all you have to do is set it and your good to go I personally love it, it has so many uses and can be used in any combination it’s more of a functional extra than most titles provide as it can make a small difference to battle outcomes. On to battles now being on DS I was expecting use of the top screen and rightly so. Battles consist of two areas top and bottom ground based foes on lower screen and airborne on the top, for this reason you have both ground and airborne attacks all of which change depending on your target and you simply press the button with the attack you wish to use even new gamers should easily grasp this system, I personally enjoyed this turn based combat and it kept me interested in trying combos and skills I had customised myself. This is not as far as my love of this titles vintage style stretches, the most welcome addition to the game was the seemingly endless maze like dungeon’s, and puzzles which could occasionally verge on the frustrating really add to the game.
To sum up this game in a word it would be classic, as it truly reminded me of the old school RPGs I had played in my youth, simple in nature with flashy images and funky soundtracks, a story worth it's salt and a fun yet easy to learn battle system. It’s something I’d recommend to friends as almost all like RPGs and many are yearning for that retro feel. It’s not a long game (this run took me around 20 hours) but it should keep RPG fans entertained and interested how the plot twists plan out. I would have actually liked it to be a little longer as throughout the game the development of bonds between the party seemed almost instantaneous, in order to progress the story without drifting much if at all into how or why it happened, it would have been nice to delve a little more. My final note on this is anyone looking for a old school RPG with modern elements should enjoy this game.