Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer
Nowadays it seems to be a habit for developers to republish their old games, like Square-Enix does with the Final Fantasy franchise. In most cases, it concerns games that knew a large success in the past. Now Sega ventures an attempt to polish his antique. With Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer for the Nintendo DS, it’s time for a good old-skool dungeon crawler. With the emphasis on old-skool!
Shiren the Wanderer is a Ronin, a samurai warrior without master, who’s accompanied by his weasel buddy named Koppa during his adventure. Together they are searching the land of the Golden Condor, where according to the legend a golden city is located. Like in every adventure, this will not happen without difficulties. Your path will lead trough a lot of dungeons and forests, all filled up with aggressive monsters.
Crossing the dungeons happens in a kind of live turn based system. Every step you take with your character is also one for the enemy. This is also the case for other actions such as the use of items or attacking your enemy. You need to approach the enemies as tactical as possible, because surviving is really necessary. Once you die, there is no way back. There are no save games to bring you back, no extra lives nor checkpoints that will give you a second chance. All your weapons, items and experience points will be lost! According to the developers, there’s about thirty hours of game play and only the thought of losing every progression after making one small mistake is very demotivating.
Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer contains a lot of RPG elements. Improving your characters and upgrading weapons and shields is well developed. The amount of weapons, shields and items are really expanded. Nevertheless the game is tedious, there are just too much dungeons. Aside from the storyline, you can accomplish some side quests like killing a monster or searching some items.
Graphically the game looks like one of the 16-bit era. The developers haven’t done any effort to improve the graphics. The use of the two screens of the Nintendo DS is reduced to the minimum. The sounds have remained identical to its predecessor and are just as dated as the boring ringtones of the Nokia 3210. It’s very notable that this is a quick port of some old glory.
Sega has tried to republish Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer, but just like in the game there is no second chance. Both the audio and the graphics make the game feel outdated. We had expected some new features like the better use of the two screens or some funny extra’s. Moreover, we understand that the current generation of games are way too easy, but a game without checkpoints or the possibility to save the game can be very frustrating. Are you looking for a traditional dungeon crawler, where your nerves are tested to extremes, then this is your game. Otherwise, let it be.