Reader Review: Fragile Dreams

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This review was submitted by Alastair Christie. If you’ve played Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, or just want to ask Alastair more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Wii)

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is an action/adventure title with light horror and RPG elements, for Wii. After his grandfather and sole companion dies, Seto, a teenage boy, sets out on a journey, armed only with his torch, to discover the truth of the post-apocalyptic world.

Loved

Mood: I love exploring streets, shopping centres and even bushland at night. These places drip with atmosphere when at their emptiest and quietest. Exploring Fragile’s prettily rendered station, mall, theme park, hotel and dam, as they were slowly reclaimed by the world, evoked the same feeling, aided by a courageous decision to eliminate sound out of battle. When used, sound is effective, particularly the cries of unseen monster through the low quality Wii-mote speaker as you approach them.

Haunting: Partly because you fight mostly ghosts, but mainly because the story has a real emotional pull. The story, while drip fed until near the end, is well written and conveys the power of hope and love as Seto desperately seeks companionship in whatever he finds. Mystery items found in world that trigger the last memories of people who knew their end was nigh can also be located. hese advance the story and/or often successfully provoke an emotional reaction.

Hated

Combat: Not the focus of the game, but it shouldn’t be such a negative. The controls are much like RE4, but IR controls the camera and torch, used to reveal or weaken enemies. The camera is too slow for evasion and accuracy, and too far behind Seto to judge depth, while enemies’ tendency to phase in and out of view slows combat down further. Most battles can at least be avoided at the risk of not levelling enough. Yet the controls are quite functional when projectile weapons are suitable.

Inventories: One is Resident Evil sized and accessible at all times. The other is unlimited, but only accessible at bonfires, Fragile's save points. Yet one is carried on Seto’s front and the other on his back! Saving every few minutes in order to swap items between inventories (it's apparently too dark to identify ANY item you pick up, including health and weapons) slows the game down.

Light: Content is low, to be honest. Clearly the whole game could not be simply spent exploring empty spaces. However, lame combat greatly exposes the weak filler such as repeat fetch quests, backtracking and hide and seek games.

Quite a few Wii titles feature stunning art design, but too many flaws gameplay wise to unreservedly recommend. Same for Fragile, which divided me like nothing else. Gaming’s equivalent of The Road, clever Wii functionality and Japanese audio is sadly offset by archaic design choices pulling one right back out of it. I want Rising Star and X-seed to survive and carry on localising interesting and unique titles, but still I can only conditionally recommend Fragile. Buyer beware.

Reviewed by: Alastair Christie

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Comments

    Fragile is a game I absolutely loved and I agree with all your points. For me the story and atmosphere elevate the game above all its flaws to be one of the great games I've played this generation but that doesn't stop there being a high barrier of entry. The game is about as niche as it gets. If this isn't exactly the game you are looking for its going to be a clunky boring nightmare.

    Blast someone beat me to it!

    The problem I really see in this game is what are you *really* after when playing this? Mood, Atmosphere and a nice (if short) Story? Or Gameplay and Action?

    Depending on which part of the spectrum you fall under your either going to love the story and forgive its failings or just go crazy at the somewhat sub par gameplay.

    It's definitely one of those hate or love forever games so I'd say give it a rent and check if its charm is for you or not =3

    PS: What the heck is it w/ everyone bagging out that ONE (yes thats right ONE) Fetch quest chain in the game? I mean its not like WoW or any other RPG out there do it on a regular basis.. even then the 'annoying' fetch quest ends up tying up one nice story point anyway =/ As opposed to arbitrary go here and get me this and you get exp because its an item as an NPC i somewhat want...

      I expected and found Fragile to be like The Road - slow paced and low action. The road wasn't meant to be fun and have you coming out of the cinema feeling cheery. No one really could as it isn't that type of movie. Movies can get away with slow pacing more easily because there's a long history of that type of movie, plus they're much shorter. Games have focused on action, and if this one tanks, that trend will continue.
      The main issue I had with the fetch quest was that it was a chain. It felt cruel to find the item and then be called a liar and sent back to the same area.

    The story has got to be the biggest disappointment in this game. They built up so much character, emotion, maturity and mystery, that is until about 75% through the game that they flush it all down the toilet and introduce *shudders* generic evil bad man who wants to destroy the world.

      Yes that was unfortunate. Again, the history of games sees the player need to 'win'. I wonder how
      an end like in the Road would have received. Possibly it would have been unpalatable and empty. Sadly, the developers caved in after bucking the trend for so long.

    Looking at your picture and reading your introduction I thought 'Hmm, RPG, looks sort of Kingdom Hearts-ish, I could get into this game' but by the end I don't particularly think it's worth it. Definitely a try before you buy sort of scenario it sounds like.
    Nice review!

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