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Gamertell Preview: Crimson Gem Saga for PSP

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Crimson Gem Saga

The PSP is well known for being a haven for RPGs, and Atlus’ Crimson Gem Saga looks to add another title to the already proud library. I recently got the chance to take a peek at the game and start on the search for the coveted Wicked Stone.

One word comes to mind when I think of Crimson Gem Saga, and that word is detail. It immediately jumps out at you – the incredibly intricate character sprites, the hand-drawn character portraits and environments that, at times, mimic the appearance of watercolor paintings. It’s a very pretty game, from what I’ve seen so far. These character portraits are also quite large, and take up half the screen when a character fortunate enough to merit one speaks.

I also found joy in playing, “Guess That Voice Actor!” Crimson Gem Saga‘s got some star power behind it. Laura Bailey is definitely the voice actress behind Spinel the thief, and I can’t help thinking Yuri Lowenthal is perhaps Henson the mage. I kept listening for audio clues, and at times was almost ready to run to my PS2 to try and see if any voices matched.

The story seems comes across as standard fare so far, but is accompanied by fantastic dialogue. Killian has always been second best and out of luck. He’s late to his school’s graduation. He doesn’t get the valedictorian spot. (Salutorian? Bah!) Just when it seems like things might, just might be getting better, a fateful encounter deals the lowest blow of them all. He is, of course, then joined by a number of allies who (fortunately) each represent a different class/job. There’s the prerequisite thief (Spinel), mage (Henson), cleric (Gelts) and so on.

Crimson Gem Saga

Battle is a turn-based affair, but Crimson Gem Saga does have a few unique attributes. All enemies appear on the map, and if you utilize ninja-esque stealth skills, you can surprise them. If you do, you get a preemptive strike in battle. If a monster sees you, an exclamation point flashes over its head. Quick rush over to instigate a normal battle. If you don’t, the monster may run over and ambush you.

There’s a skill unlocking system in place, to help offer some degree of customization. After each battle, players earn skill points (SP) that are shared among the group. You can then go from the main menu to the skill section to view the skill tree. Initially, all party members come with one skill learned and a few skills open, leaving the user to invest skill points to reveal other skills or unlock revealed skills.

Once a skill has been unlocked and learned on the skill tree, players are able to improve it and make it more powerful with handy little items called medallions. So far, I’ve encountered bronze, silver, gold and platinum medallions. Bronze changes a skill from rank two to three, silver from three to four and so on.

There’s also an incredibly practical save system in place in Crimson Gem Saga. You can save any time you want. Want to save in the middle of a dungeon? Sure! Two steps away from a boss? Go ahead. No need to search for an inn or outlandish landmark. Seems like it could be quite a commute-friendly game.

I can honestly say that after getting to play a few hours of Crimson Gem Saga, I went from being interested to being excited. It could end up being a nice addition to the PSP’s extensive RPG library. Be sure to stop by on May 26, 2009, when Gamertell will offer a full review of Crimson Gem Saga.

Site [Crimson Gem Saga]

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