Astonishia Story for the PSP is the remake of a 1994 PC game. Don’t expect innovative gameplay and unfortunately you don’t have to expect too much from any other features either. Even the storyline from the title isn’t more than the average RPG-story wich makes the game to never ascend the grey average.
You’re Lloyd and your first mission consists of guiding a convoi through the wilderness safely with a special staff. Of course you don’t succeed and the object gets stolen after a very predictable ambush. Equally predictable is the fact that you can go looking for it and will experience tons of adventures on the way, for about 15 hours in total, and that in the end you’ll be… saving the world!
The way to the end of the game is very linear which doesn’t need to be negative if there are enough other things to entertain you like a lot of variation in gameplay, an interesting story or compelling characters. All this, however, is absent so that neither the Oblivion lovers nor the fans of storybased RPG’s get their thing with this PSP title.
The combat system, filled with accidental meetings you can’t avoid and have to finish every time, is completely turn-based and works on a raster. Moving is alternated with actions (magic, using items, attack or run away), something that can make fights go on for quite some time. A quick way to finish these encounters, which are often quite generic, automatically is not present. Nice is the fact that your party can consists out of many characters and there are a lot of possibilities to choose from. Less modern is that the levelling goes automatically so that you can choose which skills you want to develop with a certain character.
All in all, the fighting is reasonable and strategy lovers can get some fun out of it. This makes it more unfortunate that the important fights usually end up in an anti-climax and that the surroundings look totally uninspired. We did get charmed by the completely 2D graphics which are very colorful, cute and nostalgic. Equally classic is the sound which didn’t quite stand the tooth of time but still perfectly does its job.
Astonishia Story is all in all a mediocre RPG that looks very little Epic. The lifespan isn’t long but you probably won’t want to spend more time in the world of Lloyd. Although graphically good for those that can be charmed with old-skool drawing, and blessed with a strategically enjoyable combat system, this game is one you’ll forget the moment you put it back in your drawer. Only for RPG-fans looking for food for their PSP.