Box Art

(http://www.atlus.com/shiren) Rated Teen by ESRB. Unless you’re a fan of ChunSoft, you probably haven’t heard of Shiren the Wanderer. This developer is famous for several games they’ve released, most of which are “roguelikes” (turn-based dungeon crawler with randomly generated maps). Probably the most prominent among these games is their Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon series. Chunsoft’s latest game, Shiren the Wanderer, presents us with a similar gameplay style with a new setting.

 (http://www.atlus.com/shiren) Rated Teen by ESRB. Unless you’re a fan of ChunSoft, you probably haven’t heard of Shiren the Wanderer. This developer is famous for several games they’ve released, most of which are “roguelikes” (turn-based dungeon crawler with randomly generated maps). Probably the most prominent among these games is their Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon series. Chunsoft’s latest game, Shiren the Wanderer, presents us with a similar gameplay style with a new setting.

Presentation:

Shiren the Wanderer places you in the feudal era, in Asia. You assume the role as Shiren, a Wanderer, someone who forgoes the anchors of home and family to wander the world in search of adventure. Shiren has several companions whom he adventures with, including his teacher (who is only referred to as “Sensei”), a foxy female Wanderer named Asuka, and his smart talking ferret sidekick Koppa. Along with your friends, you begin to explore Mt. Hourai for the elusive Karakuri Mansion for the supposed treasure hidden within. Throughout your quest, you learn more about the intrigue surrounding the mansion and unraveling its mysteries.

 

Graphics:

During the game, you encounter three different graphical styles. The menus and maps are presented to you with a two dimensional anime style that further solidifies the setting. However the cut scenes are composed in a stunning three dimensional graphics that will drop your jaw. The switch between 2D and 3D graphical presentation is an interesting and uncommon stylistic choice.

       

Sounds:

The music fits the game setting perfectly. The sound effects used during gameplay at times feel a bit generic and get repetitive, but still adds depth due to the fact that there is no voice acting present throughout the game. It would have been nice to see a voice acting element added into the game rather than using text to make the gaming experience more enjoyable.

 

Gameplay:

The objectives in Shiren the Wanderer is easy to understand. You travel to different checkpoints on the map, and from there explore “dungeons” (though the term dungeon in this game it can be referred to from anything to a forest to a cave). Each dungeon is randomly generated and is laid out in a grid. You take turns moving from square to square, each action taking up one “move”. Every time that you make a move, every monster in the dungeon makes a move. You try and find the staircase in every dungeon to find the way out, but not before facing off a creatively designed boss fight. Altogether, it’s quite straightforward, but the simplicity is a double-edged sword. It’s easy enough for anyone to pick up the game and play it. You can also level up throughout the game, but there is no customization involved in doing so. The advantage of this simplicity also means that gameplay never halts for lengthy menu navigation. All in all, the gameplay feels geared more toward a younger audience.

 

But do not confuse “straightforward objectives” with “lack of difficulty”, as Shiren and his company wanders around with all the classic roguelike risks, including perilous labyrinths, permanent item and money loss. In fact, these elements almost cater this title specifically toward a challenge-seeking niche of the RPG sub-crowd. And the fact that this game isn’t associated with any franchise allows ChunSoft to design this game without being restricted to a pre-determined game universe.

       

Longevity:

Dungeon crawler type games usually offer plenty of replayability for the insistent and Shiren the Wanderer is no exception. The hardcore roguelike-player will irresistibly be drawn back to the dungeons over and over again for extra experience and loots. The hardcore players will delve into the “Portal”, a pure roguelike dungeon that will reset your level to 1 and becomes exponentially difficult for some of the hardest RPG experience available.

 

There are several techniques that one can use to lengthen gameplay. You can go back to old dungeons to fight lower level creatures and level up easily, or you can explore them to find equipment.

 

Conclusion:

On a first look, Shiren the Wanderer was truly a magnificent choice to put on the Nintendo Wii, as its graphical aspect would appeal to a younger audience. An older audience may appreciate it for its challenging difficulty and continual simple goal of character growth through repetitive dungeon crawling. All-in-all it’s an enjoyable experience for the hardcore RPG lovers.

   

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