Ragnarok DS

Ragnarok DS

Developer: GungHo
Publisher: XSEED Games
ESRB: E10+
Release Date: February 16, 2010

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A little over nine years ago, alpha testing began for the English release of Ragnarok Online. This game has become a solid entry into the MMO field with a huge player base across most of the world. While it isn't World of Warcraft by any stretch of the imagination, Ragnarok Online has held onto its success far longer than would otherwise be expected given its near-complete lack of story. This February, XSEED Games is bringing an offline adaptation of Ragnarok Online to the Nintendo DS.

"One of the aspects of Ragnarok DS that veterans of the PC MMO are sure to notice right from the start is that Ragnarok DS has a plot."

One of the aspects of Ragnarok DS that veterans of the PC MMO are sure to notice right from the start is that Ragnarok DS has a plot. The story revolves around Ales, a young adventurer setting out to make a name for himself and a mysterious young girl, Sierra, who is found by Ales after successfully escaping pursuers and losing her memory. Ales and Sierra then set off on a quest for fame and fortune, discovering more about Sierra's past and the dark forces at work in the world. Other characters will join Ales along the way, providing the assistance that that would normally be given by player-characters in Ragnarok Online. Besides the main quest, players will also be able to take on various quests, ranging from job advancements to item gathering.

One of the biggest draws of Ragnarok Online is the ability to customize characters with a wide variety of jobs and equipment. Ragnarok DS will allow players to switch between all of the first and second jobs from Ragnarok Online, but none of the transcendent classes. One of the biggest areas of customization is with equipment. Certain NPCs will be able to upgrade equipment and players will be able to insert monster cards into slotted armor and weapons, transferring a wide variety of effects to the items.

Visually speaking, Ragnarok DS looks very similar to its online counterpart. While the graphics are definitely grainier than Ragnarok Online, the DS title retains the same character, monster, and environment art styles familiar to fans of the MMO. Menus have been reworked to accommodate the format of the DS, giving it a feel much like other console RPGs. Players will also be able to control their characters with the stylus or d-pad, initiating auto-attacks by tapping an enemy.

Even though Ragnarok DS isn't a MMO, it contains a Wi-Fi dungeon in which up to three players can get together to tackle a randomly-generated, fifty floor dungeon, the Mirage Tower. In this mode, players will be able to adventure with each other in order to obtain rare pieces of equipment and lots of experience points, all of which can be transferred into the main game.

For most players, Ragnarok DS will most likely be a middle-of-the-road RPG. Fans of Ragnarok Online, however, will probably find themselves enjoying this DS adaptation and what it has to offer as will those who enjoy mindless loot-gathering. Look for Ragnarok DS when it releases, February 16.

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