I make it a point to try to avoid buying an awful game, and sometimes, these bad games have forced me into the role of playing the critic and tell you why this game sucks. If provided with enough money to pay off the bad games, perhaps I’d be more inclined to review them. But there eventually comes a day where I make a huge mistake and face down one of the worst RPGs, if not THE worst RPG, I have ever played in my entire life. I am talking about…Sands of Destruction for the Nintendo DS.
Now then, before I talk about the game, let me tell you about the series. There is a manga and anime based on this series, and would you like to know what? I foolishly thought that the anime would be good once I saw that Funimation had the license. And honestly, the first episode wasn’t half bad when compared to the game. Sadly…that’s where my enjoyment ends. I mean the amount of f****** plotholes this thing bombards me with, as well as unnecessary character additions and all that just make this anime not enjoyable in the slightest. Kyrie still comes off as a bad character after episode two, but hey, at least this thing TRIES to have a better reason as to why he sticks with Morte, though at the cost of making everyone retarded and even taking away certain traits I did like about characters.
Meanwhile, the manga…I have to admit, it does seem rushed and more violent, but at the same time, it’s actually more enjoyable as we see Kyrie still a pacifist, but much like the cooler pacifists such as Kira Yamato or Vash the Stampede, he actually tries to learn how to defend himself. He even finally acknowledges how retarded joining Morte is after seeing a village destroyed, and leaves her! If only it was translated more, I would actually like to read it some more.
But what about the game? Good god, I hate it. Every hour I played, I couldn’t stand it. Just let me explain why I think this is such a bad game. Okay, it isn’t the worst, but in terms of story, it has to be one of the worst. I can certainly name dumber plots and even dumber anime, like Girls Bravo, which turned me into a vegetable after one episode! But I digress.
Right off the bat, you notice that you are not in control of one of the characters on the box, but rather, a half-feral (man-animal) by the name of Naja, and you see him trying to earn the respect of his comrades, pathetically, but for a minute, you might mistake him as the main hero. Well, technically, he is kind of the main hero and he isn’t so bad. As a matter of fact, he may possibly be the best character….until the scene shifts after the attack on his home to a peasant boy by the name of Kyrie. Don’t get this confused with Devil May Cry 4’s Kyrie however; this one is much wimpier. I know we all can’t expect a character to automatically be cool and everything, but the way Kyrie’s character is designed is that he is a complete wimp, yet in combat he is surprisingly powerful…provided you upgrade him the right way; more on that later.
So what’s the story? Oh the usual kid has gigantic power in him that will destroy the world, but rather than get rid of it, he decides to journey with an outlaw known for viciousness and desire to destroy the world, a girl named Morte. Eventually you’ll also have a man with a whip, kung-fu teddy bear, and dragon gun-woman join you as well. I am not making this up, sadly, especially the teddy bear. And the worst part, or funny part depending on how you see it, they try to make this guy sound tough, which they do, but for a teddy bear!? Unheard of, but they get points for trying…and failing miserably. The name Topy doesn’t really strike fear into others when he looks like rogue care-bear! I had difficulty trying not to laugh or slap my head and go “Ugh…”
But moving on, you take control of your band of…heroes? It’s hard to call them that when they, or rather Morte, wants to use Kyrie to destroy the world. It’s an interesting twist as opposed to saving it, but when the game is bogged down by an idiot for a hero, it kind of loses value. Kyrie doesn’t even want to destroy the world, yet he tries to help Morte anyway. Am I the only one who sees the flaw in this plot!? Only psychopaths and emo kids would even consider deciding to destroy the world, and he doesn’t even want, yet he goes along with it of his own free will. But since none of you are going to play this game, I might as well tell you that they actually try to save it in the end. There, I saved you twenty or so hours of torture.
There is a customization system that allows you to design your attacks and such, and even combo moves in, and sadly, that is the ONLY good thing about this game, and it’s not even that great! When you fight in combat, you gain points to spend on skills to learn new techniques and upgrade them, but the upgrades usually have bad side effects. For example, upgrading offensive power lowers accuracy, or lessening the MP needed to cast spells will result in the spell being weaker. Aside from that, upgrading the combo string is the one thing you must do in order to make combat quicker and easier, for as you fight and build up combos, you can eventually either unleash a finisher, or use a mega spell. Sadly, you get limited actions, and this wouldn’t be so bad, except that having some equipment can lower the number of turns you have. I once made sure I had no broken hearts or anything, and I still sometimes only got one turn!
Combat is slow and repetitive, with combos being the only interesting twist, but even that could be forgiven…were it not for cheating enemies. While you technically can hit the enemy numerous times depending on your combo, the enemies can still cheat, or rather, waste my time. All my life, I learned the difference between strong and just flat out cheating, and when a boss can score in about ten turns after every one of your turns, then that is cheating and makes the combat slower! Seriously, you may wish to grind in most levels and earn new skills and powers, but even that will not help as the bosses will topple you over with so many moves. And even if they aren’t tough sometimes with this, it can still be annoying as you may just say to the game: “Can you please just go away and die in a ditch already!?” Eventually you are just going to drop the DS in frustration and forget about the game all together!
But surely there is something redeeming about this game? No. No there isn’t. This game is garbage, and that is the nicest way I can put it. While it does have some semi-interesting dungeon designs, that’s one of the only things I can say about it, and it’s clear Sega has no idea as to wtf to do with it as the manga, anime, and game nearly have no similarities aside from characters! Why anyone likes this game is beyond me! You know how Spoony HATES Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy VIII with a bleeding passion. Well, this is MY Final Fantasy VIII (I actually liked X, fyi)! You really want a good DS game? Buy Luminous Arc or Radiant Historia, but just say no to Sands of Destruction! JUST SAY NO!
But do you want to know the sad part? Imageepoch made this. The same guys who made the Luminous Arc series and Fate/Extra! How did they mess this up!? And how is Luminous Arc not an anime!? You can easily adapt that series into one! Just…ugh. This hurts even to write now. We don’t get Luminous Arc 3, but we’ll get a wretched game like this? Just…why?