The great thing about Gamefly is that it lets you try out games that you ordinarily wouldn’t buy. I honestly would never have thought to try Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon had I not happened to randomly seen it while searching for games to add to my Game Q. Probably the main reason I decided to rent it is because I’d never heard of it before. And while I wouldn’t buy a game that I know nothing about, I don’t mind renting it. If it sucks, I can always just send it back.
Two things are noticeable about the game when you see the cover. 1) The title indicates that it is undoubtedly Japanese. Anyone else notice the Japanese love long subtitles? I wonder if it’s a translation thing… 2) It was published in the US by XSeed, which if you remember from my very first review is the same publisher of The Grudge. Not exactly the best sign, but you can’t blame publishers for the quality of the game.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I got the game. What I gathered from reading the short synopsis on the packet is that you play as a young boy named Seto who sets off to find other survivors in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo (not on the moon, as the title would have you think). Along the way he meets a mysterious girl, & tries to uncover what happened to humanity. The description promised dark & destitute lands. Oh, & you have to fight ghosts along the way. Actually, they’re called “thought entities,” & seem to resemble more properly poltergeists than actual ghosts (for those who don’t know the difference, according to parapsychologists “poltergeists” aren’t actual spirits but the physical manifestation of emotions or energy).
The game sort of reminds me of Fatal Frame. You wander around with a flashlight in the dark, traveling through dilapidated environments. Plus you encounter ghosts that you have to fight. But that’s where the similarities end. You physically fight the ghosts with whatever weapon you have handy (I started with a dinky stick but quickly upgraded to a bamboo sword). And you’re not entirely alone. After the intro you pick up a machine called the Personal Frame (PF for short). Despite being a machine, she seems to resemble an AI, & talks to you like a normal person. It helps ease some of the loneliness of the game.
I only played for an hour, but the game still has my interest. The combat system is a bit awkward (of course that might just be my ineptitude with the Wiimote) but the game definitely has the loneliness factor down. I haven’t seen any daylight yet, & buildings look suitably rundown. Although there are ghosts, the game isn’t so much a horror game. You hear the ghosts before you see them, & so far none have looked particularly scary… with one exception. The hands popping out of the bathroom mirror a la Grudge did scare the crap out of me.
Hopefully I can improve my fighting & make it through to the end of Fragile Dream’s mystery.