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Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors • Page 2

And breathe.

Rather than exactly matching your moves with the Wiimote, the game approximates your inputs to a set palette of move animations. So if you generally move the controller through a vertical axis, then the game will produce a perfect vertical slash on the screen. Likewise, a shuddery diagonal motion is translated by the game as a short sharp wipe from top left to bottom right. This abstraction of your inputs makes it harder to suspend your disbelief, but in time you grow accustomed to it and there is some fun to be had blocking attacks with your shield, triggering off counter moves and even timing your strikes to send projectiles back at your enemies.

By default your sword swipes are centred on the screen but, as enemies will run around the environment freely, you'll need to lock onto them with the A button. This realigns your attacks to their position on screen - a passable solution to what must have been a considerable technical headache for Square Enix - and as you battle enemies you fill a gauge, which can be deployed to execute a kind of 'summon' special move. These special moves require QTE-style actions and, if you fail to match the motion correctly within the time limit, the attack is wasted.

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You're graded at the end of each chapter and, depending on how well you've done, your renown in the game increases.

If your HP falls to zero during a mission, you're returned to the main town for a cost of half your money, and so it's important to keep applying restorative items (found by pointing and clicking on suspicious objects in the game environments), and directing your companions as they provide magic support from the sidelines. As the menu to select these options is accessed with the '1' button on the Wiimote your hand will often be contorted into uncomfortable positions and, while it's understandable the game doesn't use the nunchuk due to all the swishing about required, it still feels all the poorer for it.

Despite these interactive shortfalls though, the presentation of the game and attention to detail is excellent. Your footsteps ring out from Wiimote's speaker; occasionally you'll catch a glimpse of your character in a mirror and, at all times, the orchestral score brings life and vibrancy to the game world. But make no mistake, this is role-playing lite and, while the narrative and dialogue are fun, the actual plot they paint is thin. Likewise, the character progression is basic, customisation is non-existent and the range of different armour, spells and weaponry on offer to players is paltry. As such it's a game best recommended to non-RPG fans, those who want a short, light adventure that eschews grinding (until the final area at least) and detailed stat-management for bright character and brevity. But even on these terms, the recommendation is at best a very gentle one.

6 / 10

Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors Simon Parkin And breathe. 2008-05-12T11:51:00+01:00 6 10

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