Playing Dragon Valor is relative to a ten hour yawning session complimented by another presidential election and possibly a billion word soup review. I can only think of one type of person to recommend this game to: the supreme masochist. That's me, by the way, but I played this game only because someone at Epinions.com asked me 'bout a half year ago to review the import (shows what I'll do for my countless fans). Still, even the masochists should beware of this cardboard box of an RPG; it's so uninspired in every category that it goes beyond boggling the mind, it knocks you into a coma and steals your gloves.
The storyline is downright terrible, stemming from old school NES RPGs that focused on gameplay over plotline, and even the gameplay can't match up here! You're basically some soulless cliché hero who comes home to his badly animated village one day only to witness the low-poly villa in flames, and his sister who dies after telling him some information about the culprit. After that, an unexpected plot twist happens that is both brilliant in it's unique take on the RPG genre, and is a testament to how far this genre has come since Dungeons and Dragons: the hero, Clovis, goes out to avenge the death of his sister! :gasp:
I'll spare you from the rest of this game's storyline simply because there isn't much of a story after that anyway, and that I'd rather go on and rant a little about why this game gets a 37.
While the graphics may have been serviceable if this game was done on first generation PSX, nowadays, with beautiful games like C-12 and Fear Effect on PlayStation, I've come to expect more than bare polygonal visuals. There are some enemies that have such a low number of polygons, you could probably count them on two hands! Environments are more checkerboard, pixilated than anything else I've played this year in the RPG genre. The characters all look like crap; housing little detail and never ever, showcasing anything besides tepid, cliché designs (Clovis himself looks like a bad rip off of Dart, who looks like a bad rip off of Cloud who looks like...).
The entire graphical presentation isn't wasted though. The FMV movies look pretty spiffy, and I can't say those dragons aren't well animated, but the negatives outweigh the positives and the entire game still looks like a first generation PSX effort. This makes no sense, as bad as other Namco games on PSX are, they almost always look really good, and this game was supposed to be a high class Action RPG with sky-high production values! Damn you Namco.
Sound is terrible, the music is forgettable and annoying, the yelps of monsters dying sound like crap; every area of this game's aural "presentation" is mediocre at best. The soundtrack couldn't even be marketed off to "otaku" who would probably buy FF brand pregnancy tests if they got the chance. Right before you die in this game, you can see your health bar flashing. When this flashes, it makes the most annoying sound you'll ever hear, and you'll probably disable the audio functions on your TV after hearing this.
Overall, sound is this game's second worst feature, next to the non-existent, painful storyline.
Control is a pretty good area of Dragon Valor, as you can easily guide around Clovis (and later on in the game, his kids) through the various gameplay maps. Though I would have scored it higher if you didn't have to hold down the L1 button to run, and if the text didn't move so slowly. There are also a few aiming problems in this game that sometimes prevent you from nailing the right attack. A lock-on feature would have solved all of these problems, though. Namco had the worst part of this game's BETA/early version fixed: the control. So why didn't they try to make a well-playing game out of it?
Though the gameplay here may be fun for some, I would never recommend it to anybody. It offers some stale, derivative 2.5D platforming segments that are way too easy and completely boring in every regard. There's no fun to be had mindlessly slashing away at some dragon or badly designed enemy; none of this is in any way compelling. You have quite the array of sword swipes, slashes and sword dashes. You also have magic, and can do a double jump by pressing the X button twice. All this translates into gameplay that has you never using half of the moves at your disposal, and always running from the enemy, then swiping a few times, running away again, then swiping, rinse, repeat and there's your game.
Did I mention the incredibly boring platforming parts of each level? How about the fact that pretty much every dungeon looks the same? I normally don't give out such low scores to games unless they're this bad, and believe the Xeno3998, Dragon Valor is THAT BAD!
Dragon Valor doesn't have an endless list of problems, it just has about fifteen huge problems that prevent the minor flaws from ever becoming recognized. This game is so indescribably useless and ill-conceived that it gets my award for the worst RPG of the year. This is the kind of garbage you shouldn't even bother renting. I rented it because of the request I got to review it, not because I thought this game was going to be good. It was obvious, ever since the first delays came about, that Dragon Valor was going to be bad. I could have never imagined that Namco would have allowed this Dragon Busters sequel out in such a ragdoll condition. Get Threads of Fate instead, that game is not only technologically superior to this... thing... but is also a far better playing game.