Four Warriors of Light: Final Fantasy Gaiden Hands-On

We know that there are four warriors, but we haven't figured out if crystals are involved.

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Square Enix is already known for teasing us with trailers, but it also taunted us with a countdown on its Web site a few months ago, which eventually unveiled a new Nintendo DS game called Four Warriors of Light: Final Fantasy Gaiden, developed by Matrix Software. At the 2009 Tokyo Game Show, we were able to check out the game for the first time, and even though we barely had an idea of what was going on, the game looked really good and we're hoping that there will be an English version coming out soon.

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We were immediately asked to name our four warriors, which was easy enough with the randomly generated name option. Our main character woke up in a cluttered house, and as he made his way down the stairs, the first thing we noticed was that everything was in 3D. The art style was what stood out the most because even though we're familiar with Matrix's RPGs, Four Warriors of Light has a distinct look that makes it stand out among the others. It's as though the world is painted in watercolor, particularly in earthy tones in the areas that we visited, and the wide camera angle also gives you a different perspective. As your party is traversing across the overworld, you can see that the world is round, and during battle the camera pans behind the characters with a wide angle so that the field of view looks bigger.

The four heroes and their stats are displayed in the top screen, and the action unfolds on the bottom. We walked around the village and tried to talk to the locals, even though we couldn't understand a word they were saying. A helpful Square Enix rep showed us the item menu, where you can change hats, which then changes how the characters look in-game. Each hat also has gem slots, where you can use the stylus to drag and drop gems until it's filled. What this does, we aren't sure, but we're guessing it will enhance the hat stats immensely.

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We decided to get out of the fairytale-like village and wander the world to see what kind of monsters we could beat up. Eventually we stumbled upon a cave, fought some hostile mushrooms turn-based style, and then came face-to-face with a giant minotaur wielding a large hammer. Unlike other RPGs, where an enemy attacks but all the animation shows is a monster swiping at nothing, this minotaur reaches out and actually swings at your party. We've gotten so used to the same camera angles for these RPGs that it's refreshing to see these turn-based battles unfold from a different angle.

It was difficult to get more information out of Four Warriors of Light: Final Fantasy Gaiden, but we'll be sure to watch this one closely and update you with more information as soon as it becomes available.

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