Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is a Wii adventure game imported by XSeed from Japan and developed by NAMCO and tri-Cresendo. It features a 15 year old boy named Seto on an adventure in search for survivors after his caretaker dies. He meets an assortment of characters on his adventure, and in particular, a silver haired girl named Ren. I’ll try not to get too much into the story details and will just leave that to the Wikipedia entry
Let’s start off with the most important part: the gameplay. The Wii mechanics aren’t too bad; I have yet to play or know of a Wii game that makes wonderful use of the actual system, other than Wii Sports (and Resort titles). You use the Wii-mote as a reticle and flashlight on screen while moving around using the Nunchuck joystick. You pan/rotate the character either by moving the Wii-mote to the side of the screen or going into first-person mode. In Fragile, I found strafing in the opposite direction that my reticle was pointed at made for smoother turning. The one thing I loathed was moving around corners. The camera is in third-person and your character looks at/shines his flashlight at whatever your Wii-mote reticle is pointing. When you simultaneously pass and point at the corner, the character does a 180 degree turn and blinds you with the flashlight. Not only are your eyes bleeding out, but your character is also stunned in place until you regain your bearings and reset his position. This is incredibly bad within extreme close quarters, especially when there are enemies attacking you.
The combat in the game is alright. To me, it seems unnecessary, and at best, it’s something to change the pace. Combat features typical RPG mechanics, and classes of weapons such as a sword, spear, hammer, and bow. I mainly favored the spear class for long ranged melee and bad-ass spin attack, but also because my depth perception skills suck. One nice thing about combat in this game is that you don’t need to grind out levels and kill everything. The only thing you miss out on by not attacking mobs are the memory item drops.
The strongest asset of this game is the story and character development. The world has become a desolate cityscape and Seto yearns for companionship after his “grandfather” dies. The grandfather’s last words set Seto off on his journey east towards a giant red spire, and along the way he meets interesting characters, each with their own story, personality, and clues about what exactly happened to the world.
As I’ve mentioned before, when you defeat mobs of enemies they may drop memory items. You can also find memory items scattered throughout the world to pick up. Memory items are essentially ordinary items that contain a memory fragment of their owner, or last thoughts so to speak. Seto has this strange blue crystal that allows him to read these memories/thoughts. Some of the memories are standalone pieces, but others can be multiple parts that could be linked to tell a bigger story like the development and separation of childhood friends from torn pieces of a picture, or the memories of a doctor and secretary spending their last moments alive together from their respective mugs.
I won’t get too much into any of the characters he meets, but the one character that really has left an impact on me would be Personal Frame or PF. PF is pretty much your useful artificial intelligence backpack that can scan an area for useful information or threats. Seto finds her calling for help exclaiming she wasn’t entirely waterproof. What sparked my interest was her human like personality and the development between her and Seto. Neither of them has been with a companion for so long that the pair’s interaction was… well… they highly enjoyed each other’s company. It was enjoyable to see PF’s jealousy when Seto talks about the silver haired girl or when they cheer each other on by not talking about probability and percentages but instead just saying that they will. I would really have to applaud the writers and director for am excellent execution of the game’s character arcs. It was due to great writing and directing that would make the story throughout this game truely deep and enjoyable.
The American release of Fragile came with a limited bonus OST (Original Sound Track) cd compliments of XSeed. Another great thing about Fragile is the well complimented audio/ sound tracks and the game environment/scenes. The music feels exactly how you would feel sifting and searching about in the Fragile world. XSeed also gave the American release the option of dual language selection. People could either choose original Japanese audio/subtitles or English audio/subtitles. I admit the English voice acting was pretty good, but I played the game with Japanese voice actors because I felt that the original audio had the proper emotion to represent the scenes. XSeed also went the slightly extra mile to include in the American release unlock able extras featuring concept art, trailers, and story cutscenes.
In conclusion, I really like this game. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is one of those great titles with a great story that could only be a product of Japan. It is one of those games I’d play not to just have fun killing stuff but to enjoy a really deep well executed story. Thanks to XSeed and the American release, I don’t entirely have to play the game to experience it. I could just sit back and watch some very well done uniquely drawn cut scenes. Hell, if this was turned into an anime, I’d totally watch it.
(Ed. Note: Filtaku let me play this while at his house, and for the hour and a half that I spent with it, it’s pretty decent. Also, once you start meeting the trader guy, man, f*ck that dude.)