DS - Contact

Contact was released by Atlus in the states around the middle of september last year. Sadly, I missed this release by a couple days when my plane left for planet japan. I picked it up about a week before my next trip to japan, so I would have plenty of time to devote to it.

Story

Contact follows the mis-adventure of the professor. The professor ship had been shot by another spaceship knocking his energy crystals to the earth. As he crashes to earth his path is crossed with our main character, Terry. The professor plucks Terry from his daily life and pulls him into the conflict. Now Terry will help reclaim these crystals as you guide him!

Art Style

What initially drew me to Contact was the art style. The world of contact uses vibrant colors in fairly realistically concepted environments. As a contrast, the world of the professor is a 16 bit throw back. In essence Terry lives in the graphical age of today's sprite world; whereas, is stuck back on super nintendo. When playing Contact, the professor's 16 bit world is always on top commenting on Terry's action while you guide Terry in the real world below.

Oh Comedy

The professor may seem stuck in the past, but he's pretty up on the internet. The game manual is page after page of his live journal entries. The real comedy gold are the references in his comments, though they do become quite short and repetitive. Occasionally when you kill something easy, he'll say 'weaksauce.' When you traverse the military compound, he'll make an 'all your base' reference.

The comedy is undoubtedly Contact's greatest appeal. The story itself hasn't gone anywhere in the 5 hours i've played. It seems to just fuel the game and push it along. I mean, all you do is go around finding these crystals. Then again, I had spent some time just leveling and killing townspeople.

Leveling

Anywho, Contact follows a very MMO style leveling system, as each individual skill is leveled and trained, rather than a set amount of experience. You have all the normal rpg skills such as strength, stamina, wisdom, and defense, but weapon and magic skills are individual. You have separate levels for swords, hand-to-hand, and blunt objects; likewise, earth, water, wind and fire elements are separate. Leveling is pretty easy though.. You just need to use 'em.

There are other skills to level such as cooking and lock picking. These skills are specific to the clothes that you wear, which replaces traditional style armor. Each set of clothes have separate attributes, such as increased evade, increased strength.. But also associated abilities, like cooking and lock picking. Clothes aren't usually found in chests or markets, though. They generally require some sort of unlocked event or difficult optional battle.

Weapons and Clothes aren't the only stat increases. Replacing a traditional accessory system, Contact has decals. There are some key 'itemed' key decals, which are different, but you may equip 4 regular decals on Terry. In the field you'll come across these decals as a '? Decal'. In your menu, you use the stylus to peal off the decal to reveal it's true identity. The usual ones i've run across have been stuff like Battle decal or Defense decal. The stats they boost are drawn at random, so you can really buff up your character.

Gameplay

As for actual gameplay, Contact, once again, acts like an MMO. You freely walk around, as do mobs. Some mobs will attack you, while others will leave you alone or even run away. Terry has a peace mode and a war mode. While in war mode, you can point at which monsters Terry should vanquish. You can also kill any npc you want, friend or foe. One time I walked into a town. The first guy said, 'hi. Welcome to our town.' then I laid him to rest with my blade.

This is another whole aspect of Contact. Terry can have a good alignment or an evil alignment depending on your decisions, much like Fable. Killing baddies nets you brownie points, while the opposite does the opposite. Luckily the game forgives one infraction each time. It won't deduct negative alignment if your last kill was positive.. You have to do it twice in a row for that to happen. Same with the other way.. It kinda works like tennis scoring.

Anyways, Terry also can come across spells and techniques to make life easier. These use up EP (or whatever it's called) which is collected as you kill things. Terry starts off with 5 max EP. Most moves use up 1 or 2.

Running around killing monsters is pretty boring though. You walk up to something, go into war mode, and let Terry attack away. You can pull up the menu at any time and heal him though. HOWEVER, this introduces another aspect. You have a ba-zillion different things you can feed Terry to heal him, but some things will take longer to digest. You can't feed a full stomach, so don't feed terry a bunch of 30HP hamburgers that'll take 5 minutes to get rid of.

Anywho, killing mobs may be monotanous, but at least boss battles feature some interactivity. The first boss is some rock monster that throw punches and boulders at you.. Both of which are pretty easy to dodge. Unlike regular enemies and if you time it right, you can defeat a boss without taking a hit. Huzzah..

Verdict

Despite it's comedic appeal and depth of gameplay, it does get rather tedious. Having 20 different adds a bit of depth to the game, but you have to spend some time leveling up all the stats. It probably wouldn't be so bad, if the gameplay offered more than just going into killing mode to fight. Some more action style moves would've broken this up.. 9aybe they thought they added too much complexity already.. I haven't even touched the cooking part of the game.

At the moment I cannot definitely recommend this game one way or the other. I'd need to spend more time to see where the story actually goes.. Though given, the current situations, you probably eventually fight the opposing forces and save the day and the comedy probably won't go any further than the comments the professor makes.

It's kind of a little gaming gem, but overall, you won't miss it. Oh well....




Recent Posts
Recent Featured Posts