My World, My Way - Reader Review  

My World Would Have Better Production Values If It Were My Way
by Aaron Slater

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20-40 Hours
+ An original, humorous storyline
+ Innovative pout system
+ Playable in short bouts
- Redundant fetch quests
- Rudimentary graphics and music
- Simple, generic battle system
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   My World My Way is a traditional RPG developed on what appears to be a fairly low budget by Global A, the developer of another Atlus translated title, Master of the Monster Lair. The two titles have quite a bit in common, including graphics, game play mechanics, and even a couple of recurring characters. Fortunately, much like Master of the Monster Lair, My World My Way manages to overcome many of the limitations of a low budget title with original ideas and an offbeat story.

   My World My Way is the story of the princess Elise, a spoiled brat who has had everything handed to her. At a ball she encounters a handsome adventurer with whom she becomes instantly infatuated, but her rugged beloved won’t have anything to do with her until she has some battle experience under her belt. So the next day, she cuts off her hair and sets off on an adventure. Little does she know that she is being guided on her adventure by a knight in the employ of her father, the King.

   The story itself seems rather simple, but is conveyed in a novel way due to the humorous writing. Elise is inconsiderate, selfish, and egotistical in the best possible ways. She is painfully oblivious to the fact that her adventure has been laid out for her by another knight since she is too wrapped up in herself to put together the pieces. This leads to many humorous encounters with the mayors of each town and even with some of the bosses. In particular, Elise’s relationship with a two winged sage are especially enjoyable, as the sage is so rooted in the traditional role-playing game rules he cannot help but delightfully clash with the bratty Elise.

   The game play of My World My Way is also rather generic, with a few creative flares. The game plays out in a fairly typical way. Elise travels the node based world map from region to region. Each region has one town, where Elise is given a set of quests from the mayor that she must complete before she can unlock the gate to the next region. The regions themselves are set up like a board game, where Elise can move to different types of areas ranging from prairies and forests to cemeteries and tropical islands. Random encounters do occur, but rather infrequently. Instead, on each area, the player can choose to search, where they can either find an item related to a quest, or engage in a battle with the enemies that inhabit that area. Quests generally require Elise to gather a certain amount of an item, or defeat a set amount of enemies that are particular to a certain type of area. Thus Elise may have to scour all the prairies collecting flowers for one area, and then have to defeat a set of skeletons in a cemetery in another area.

This little guy is actually a pink blob of death and destruction… honest. This little guy is actually a pink blob of death and destruction… honest.

   Occasionally the player will encounter a dungeon. Dungeons are explored in a typical RPG way, where the player actually moves Elise through the corridors and rooms of the dungeon, engaging on screen enemies in battles and opening treasure chests (provided she has the appropriate keys). Quests may require Elise to reach the bottom and defeat the boss of the dungeon, or the dungeon itself may simply hold the enemies she needs to defeat in order to progress. While in most games dungeons are the central focus of the game play, in My World My Way, dungeons feel like a way to spice up the typical “fetch quest” game play that most of the quests employ, by allowing the player the ability to actually explore the, albeit rudimentary, dungeons.

   While the game does indeed never deviate from the standard move to new town, complete quests, move to next town set-up it employs in the beginning, it does spice up the game play in some novel ways. Battles, for instance, are rather traditional affairs with a few innovations.. Most battles have Elise and Pinky, her slime, facing off against a set of monsters. Blows are traded and spells are cast, fire enemies are weak to ice and vice versa. Initially, nothing appears to be too out of the ordinary with the everyday RPG. However, pouting also rears its head in battle, as Elise is equipped with the ability to prompt a pre-emptive strike, allowing her and Pinky to attack first, or to inflict various statistical impairments on enemies for a turn at the expense of pout points. While this may not seem too important, it becomes increasingly important, especially for some of the harder encounters, to manage pout points carefully to defeat the enemies.

   Spells are also acquired in battle. When Elise has been attacked with a spell enough times, at her next level up her parrot, Paro, will acquire the spell. This means that sometimes it’s best to let Elise take a few hits from a mage character, so that she will acquire a spell. Battles are also spiced up with Pinky’s ability to mimic enemies parts. Pinky does not acquire experience points like Elise, but rather can mimic the head, arms, torso, or legs of a monster and acquire their statistics and abilities. This allows Pinky to learn the spells that enemies cast (by mimicking a part that comes equipped with a spell), and to increase its statistics to levels comparable to the enemies you face throughout the game. Managing the parts Pinky mimics helps to reduce the sometimes monotonous battles, as the ability to mimic strong monsters’ body part provides additional incentive to defeating them.

Birthday Flowers are just the beginning of the laundry list of items you’ll collect throughout the quest. Birthday Flowers are just the beginning of the laundry list of items you’ll collect throughout the quest.

   Unfortunately, these game play innovations do little to diminish from the aesthetic appeal of My World My Way. The graphics in this game are rather subpar for the system. While battles, exploration of the regions, and dungeons are presented in 3D, exploration of towns is presented with generic two dimensional drawings. The town’s inhabitants and the designs of the buildings are recycled throughout the game, and while at points the game makes a joke of it, it diminishes any feeling of progression when you are greeted by the same characters in every town. The enemies are nicely designed, but appear rather blocky with limited animations. Spell effects are also pretty typical looking, and even higher level spells lack the visual flare that they aspire to have. Dungeon designs are particularly tragic, as it seems there were only a handful of backgrounds to choose from at most, and they are recycled in each dungeon throughout the game. Elise’s character model in these sections is also rather painful to look at, as she looks more like a Barbie that’s been trapped underneath the lawnmower than the cutesy princess presented in the art work.

   The audio in the game is also poor. Most of the music in the game is typical RPG fare that fails to be memorable or original in any way. Some of the tunes are nice, including the music that plays when looking at the bestiary or saving the game, but for the most part the music is forgettable. The sound effects are also pretty typical. Fire spells sizzle and ice spells crackle, but there’s a strange sci-fi sound effect to some of the spells that seems frighteningly out of place. The audio in the game is serviceable, and it’s certainly nothing to complain about, but it feels that the designers of the game were more interested in other aspects of the game than focusing on the experience for the player’s ears.

   My World My Way is a game that rises above the short comings of a budget title to be something truly special. While the graphics, sound, and battle system are all par for the genre, the humor of the storyline and the addition of pouting and mimicking make the repetitive experience something special. Clocking in at around 30 hours with many optional side quests, My World My Way provides a rather lengthy experience for those willing to overlook its faults, but these faults will prevent the game from appealing to everyone. Hopefully Global A’s next title will match the fun, innovative ideas they have with stellar production values to create a great game, but as it stands My World My Way is a nice game with some fun ideas that help to distinguish it from the pack.

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