My World, My Way - Staff Review  

Her World, My Grind
by Tom Goldman

40-60 Hours
+ Charming, original premise
+ The Mimic Slime is a fun idea
+ Plenty of equipment to collect
- Pout Points not used to their potential
- Combat system is extremely simple
- The game is one long grind
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   Hot on the heels of Master of the Monster Lair, Atlus has decided to bring another Global A-developed game to North America called My World, My Way. This game doesn't involve dungeon creation of any sort, but it does have another original premise. My World, My Way chronicles the journey of the extremely spoiled Princess Elise as she attempts to become an adventurer to win over a handsome boyfriend. "Spoiled" is the key word here, because it is not used just as a descriptor for Elise, but also as a theme for the entire game.

   Elise is so spoiled that she can use the power of her pout — which takes the form of her limited number of "Pout Points" — to change the world around her. This sounds like a really useful mechanic, but it's hardly used to its full potential. Outside of combat, Pout Points are used to change the terrain of the grid-based areas, to make items more likely to drop, to lower or raise enemy levels, to earn more experience or money, or even to complete quests right on the spot. Terrain alteration is not as fun as it sounds, because it is only used to make a specific type of terrain appear that houses a certain type of enemy or item needed for a quest. On each area's terrain grid, players will usually never visit more than a few squares. There is really no downside to using as many Pout Points as possible, because they are easily replenishable — along with hit points and magic points — at each town's inn for free.

   During combat, Pout Points become similar to skill points from any other game. Elise uses them to attack first, make enemies run away, freeze enemies for a few turns, and stop enemies from casting spells. Elise can also use Pout Points when she is killed to avoid the penalties for death: having the day's experience or gold halved. The ability to freeze enemies, stopping them from attacking, almost breaks the game's challenge during boss fights. Assuming that the player has a stock of Pout Points, bosses can be frozen for an entire battle, allowing Elise's partner to finish it off without the boss ever moving.

Battles is pretty simple Combat is pretty simple

   Battles themselves are an incredibly traditional affair. Elise can attack, use magic, use an item, defend, or run away. Pout Points unfortunately do not add enough to make My World, My Way's battle system anything special. Enemy models and animations look pretty mediocre, though their designs — including Donkey Wizards, Elephant Flowers, and the Lumberduck — are imaginative. There is an unnecessary amount of camera panning and zooming during combat that is more annoying than it may sound. Imagine if Dragon Quest decided to zoom and pan every time a monster attacked. These camera movements can be skipped by pressing the A button, along with the dull attack animations. The A button will be pushed hundreds of times in a tedious manner before My World, My Way is done.

   My World, My Way sounds like it has a lot to it, but the gameplay is primarily about these simple battles. Grinding is what players will be doing all the way to the end. Sure, players get quests from different towns, but they all involve either killing a monster, collecting an item by killing a special enemy, or searching an area which has a chance to lead to an encounter. Players will also journey through dungeons that allow free movement, but are also basically grid-based, where they will be attacked upon moving within one square of a purple monster symbol. Enemies in dungeons are always in the same spot; after being killed they reappear only after Elise rests at an inn. While the early dungeons have a proper amount of challenge, the dungeons in the latter part of the game are pure grind-fests, the very last dungeon being the toughest of them all. If not for one particular item, a bow that can both attack and heal in the same turn, the last dungeon would feel completely unreasonable, mostly due to the brutal last boss.

   The battle system does have a few saving graces. The game is definitely not easy, as the setting may imply. At times, My World, My Way is quite a challenging dungeon-crawler. Items drop like crazy, especially when using Pout Points, which is great for item fiends. Elise's partner, a Mimic Slime, is a fun little creature that mimics the attributes of creatures defeated in battle. It's fun to destroy a tough monster and have the Mimic Slime triple its hit points or learn a new spell. Also, Elise can advance her skills by "eating a meal" at an inn. Each different type of meal, with varying gold cost, will increase a different statistic, allowing for some customization when it comes to Elise's strengths.

It's a mystery how this thing actually fights It's a mystery how this thing actually fights

    The silly story is the main aspect that keeps My World, My Way interesting. It starts off slow, but eventually becomes somewhat compelling, and even slightly emotional at one specific point. Elise's spoiled personality is injected into all of her dialogue, which should crack at least a small smile on every RPGamer's face. My World, My Way breaks the fourth wall and makes fun of the RPG genre through Elise's comments, such as how she will tell monsters that they only exist to give her experience points. The game's humor doesn't necessarily do anything new, but is charming in its own way, and may endear the player to Elise and her journey.

   My World, My Way's music, sound, and overall graphics are not quite as charming. The music is catchy, but repetitive, while sound effects are abundantly average. Every enemy dies by falling over into a heap followed by an ugly explosion of smoke. Graphics for the grid-based terrain are fair, but are jovially improved when Elise pouts to change the environment, making the trees dance or causing kayakers to float down the river in the background. Using 3D graphics was not necessary for the extremely simple battle system, and may have actually hindered the look and play of combat. Enemies and bosses can look somewhat chunky.

   My World, My Way is certainly for players who are into collecting items from battles, and very simple, but sometimes challenging, dungeon-crawling. It will also appeal to those who want to play through a game with a very silly story, though pushing through all of the combat required to experience it may not be worth it for most. There just isn't a whole lot of gameplay in My World, My Way, making it seem like an RPG for children were it not for its sometimes high level of challenge. My World, My Way has a charming, creative setting, but doesn't bring enough game to the table to back it up.

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