It’s been over a year now since Rainbow Moon was released on the PlayStation 3. At that time it was almost universally praised for it’s amazing gameplay, beautiful visuals and hours upon hours of content. Something about taking elements from dungeon crawling games and combining them with tactical JRPG battles just worked really well. I never played Rainbow Moon on the PS3, I just didn’t have enough console time for an adventure this big. But with the upcoming release on the PlayStation Vita I now have a chance to dive in, but was it worth the wait long wait?
Captures Everything A Good RPG Should Be
I haven’t had the core gameplay of a RPG grab me like Rainbow Moon did in a long time. It’s like SideQuest Studios distilled down everything I loved about old school JRPGs while filtering out the everything I hated. Rainbow Moon’s gameplay is the thing that keeps you chugging through the title’s massive story.
You’ll spend a lot of your time in combat. Whether it’s from an enemy on the map (think Final Fantasy 12) or from a random encounter (think most every other JRPG). The combat system in Rainbow Moon is great. It is essentially a tactical JRPG similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem, but simplified a little bit . There aren’t as many units at once, the skills aren’t quite as crazy and the battles are a little bit easier to keep track of. Also each battle is a little more easy going and not quite as life or death as they are in games like Final Fantasy Tactics. Since in games like those each battle is a mission in of itself and kind of a big deal. With every little battle being in this tactical format you really get a better chance to just relax and enjoy these battles. I also quickly want to mention that you can choose whether you want to fight in the random encounters or not. I really liked this little feature because it gives you the chance to opt out of these battles if you are in a low level zone or just don’t feel like battling at the time. No more stopping what you’re doing to have battles you don’t want to have.
The way you level up your character also has a twist or two on the classic formula that I liked. You still have your classic get EXP and level up elements, but that only increases your characters HP and MP. You need to use Rainbow Pearls to increase all other stats like attack, speed, so on and so fourth. The only way a character can get Rainbow Pearls is if that character delivers the final blow to an enemy. I really liked this little quirk. It offers a lot of choice in regard to how you actually want your characters to progress, and forces you to grind a little more strategically.
Game Seems Tailor Made For The Vita
I only played this game on my Vita, and haven’t touched the PlayStation 3 version. I’m sure Rainbow Moon would be just as fun on my TV as it was on my Vita, but it just worked so well as a on the go mobile game. Not since Persona 4 Golden has an RPG fit so well on the Vita. You can easily sit down and happily play Rainbow Moon for hours and hours and hours and peck away at the game’s massive amount of content that way. But at the same time Rainbow Moon is also great for small little sessions. Whether you have a 10 minute wait in a doctors office or just have to sit down for a number two and have a couple minutes to kill; a quick few minutes of Rainbow Moon is great entertainment, and will leave you feeling like you accomplished something when you put it down.
A Bland Story Rich With Fetch Quests
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed Rainbow Moon, almost none of that enjoyment came from the story. It essentially boils down the protagonist being stuck in a strange world and having to figure it all out. Fetch quests are the only thing that moves the plot forward. You spend a lot of time talking to somebody, then relaying their message to someone else, only to take the second characters message back to the first character. Then repeat the process. Even almost every dungeon is just a fetch quest. After the boss you get an item to give to someone you talked to. I didn’t care about this story at all.
This game is great. If you love old school JRPGs and have access to a PlayStation 3 or a Vita you are doing yourself an injustice if you don’t play Rainbow Moon. The story itself isn’t great but the perfection of every other aspect of the game more than makes up for it. Especially with the ability to transfer your save back and fourth from PS3 to Vita there isn’t a better time to jump into Rainbow Moon.
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