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25th August
written by Splash

Title: Blazer Drive (ブレイザードライブ)
Console: NDS
Genre: RPG (strategy), Card Game
Language: Japanese
Company: SEGA
Summary: Tokyo. The year is 20xx. Society has come to rely on Mystickers for their main energy source. Some people naturally have the ability to attach Mystickers to their arms and control the energy source to further limits. There are those who abuse this power, called Norabure, and those who protect others from those who abuse it, called Guardians.
Story: 9 – It’s a pretty typical shounen series setup. The mangaka for the manga this game is paralleled off of, Seishi Kishimoto, is the younger twin brother of the famous mangaka for Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto. A friend mentioned this to me too, and I agree– Seishi Kishimoto is smarter. Just in the way things are set up, the overall atmosphere of his works… there’s a different kind of maturity to it that I feel is more intelligent. Anyway, this game follows a pretty steady story with some interesting turns here and there. Nothing particularly epic, mind-blowing or outrageous, but nothing to really disappoint either. Just solid.
Characters: 9 – The seiyuu cast for this game is great! Lots of my favorites including Nakamura Yuuichi and Hoshi Souichirou, in combination with others like Yonaga Tsubasa (random Ookiku Furikabutte deja-vu moments)… /drool The voice acting really brings the game and its characters to life, especially during battle. The characterizations are a little typical (although some of the quirks are cute), but overall they provide pretty good entertainment for the game itself.
Graphics: 10 – /drool2 Other RPG makers should learn from this game. One too many times I’ve seen poorly rendered 3-D graphics that look awkward on the tiny DS screens. Blazer Drive uses pre-rendered 3-D environments that work beautifully with the 3-D sprites. The in-battle graphics are clean and great to look at too. I loved uncovering all of Shiroh’s different battle shots! All of the cards (Mystickers) have unique designs which help you play the game visually.
Sound: 10 – This game seriously has the catchiest music I’ve heard on the DS. While it’s not quite as punk or intense as many of the tracks in The World Ends With You, everything is just so CATCHY and I couldn’t help but enjoy hearing the music for hours and hours /ho . You can hear the soundtrack here. The battle sounds and voice acting sound quality are also excellent. Important scenes have voices, and it’s amazing to hear with the cast.
Gameplay: 9.5 – The tutorials are well done and interactive enough to keep my attention going. I had so much fun playing the battles even if they were slow at times. The voice acting, graphics and music really help keep my attention going. The only tiniest complaints I have about the game controls is that the default pacing for using the + controller is at walking and +b for running, where as in most games these days, the more likeable default is running with +b for walking. Also, only the stylus is usable in battle when there could be way for the control pad to help make things easier. They’re such picky complaints in the first place where in the grand scheme of things, it’s all very well thought out.
Replay Value: 10 – Even after beating the game, the possibilities for battle are endless whether it’s against the computer AI or through wireless battles. There are lots of extra missions available for download too.
Overall: 10 – This would be my secondmost favorite game on the DS, with The World Ends With You as first, and even then, I like both games for completely different reasons. This is unquestionably one of the best DS games out there, and I can only wish that it would have set an example for any other game when it comes to what it takes to make a game in general. This game deserves more attention!

Blazer Drive Official Site
Wiki (US)
Game Wiki (JP)
Splash’s Blazer Drive tag on LJ

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