It’s not every day that, when playing through a game, players are given a real choice. The bulk of story-driven games play out much more like interactive cinema, where the player is led down a predetermined path and their choices lack true moral weight. A few developers like Bioware have created a legacy by offering such choices in their games, but it’s not easy to pull off. Now, let’s be clear that Fantasy Warrior: Good and Evil is nowhere near as sophisticated as something like the recently released Dragon Age: Origins, but it is unique as far as iPhone games go.
In fact, it’s virtually two games in one, because you can choose to play as the hero or the villian. It’s the same game world and the same overall plot, but played from opposing vantage points. Your choice of moral stance is made early on, and it certainly colors the rest of the game.
Of course, this cannot be the game’s sole selling point. $2.99 is more than a fair price for a full-fledged RPG, but it still needs to be a good game. We won’t go as far as saying that Fantasy Warrior is a truly memorable experience, but it does hold its own against other iPhone fare. For the record, Fantasy Warrior is less Final Fantasy and more Legend of Zelda. Battles take place in real-time, rather than being turn-based, but you do “warp” out of the game to enter into a battle. Special moves, items, and standard melee attacks all apply, but special moves must be charged, so battles are tactical.
Just back from the salon. Like the color?
Whether you choose to play as the lone warrior or the dark vampiress, Fantasy Warrior ultimately takes you to the same place, but getting there offers a dramatically different quest, giving the game a healthy dose of replay value. The game’s visuals are bright and clear, hearkening back to the best of the 16-bit generation, so it definitely ranks among the platform’s top performers (Zenonia being the most obvious comparison). This makes the desire to replay the game as the opposition that much more enticing. The story is not tremendously original, but it’s decent enough to hold your interest.
Fantasy Warrior controls about how you would expect, with a virtual analog stick and buttons. The use of tapping and swiping in this sort of game tends to quickly get cumbersome, so we are glad that it was avoided. Movement is not quite as precise as we’d like, but it suffices. The graphical user interface as a whole is sensible, with everything serving a function and not getting in the way of the action on screen.
Stealing gold from werewolves isn’t really stealing.
One qualm many people may have with the game is the lack of customization you have with your character. Much like in the recently released Ravensword, you take your character along a set path, with upgrades occurring according to a set timeframe, usually based on reaching a new level or milestone in the game. This is a long-accepted norm in more action-oriented RPGs, so it’s hard to complain, but it might turn off some of you who enjoy making the character more your own. Nevertheless, we found the pacing and balance to work quite well, so it does not prove to be a hindrance.
In the end, Fantasy Warrior is not likely to be a game you’ll remember for years to come, but for the low price and overall quality of the experience, we can easily recommend this to those of you with the old-school RPG itch.