The Wizard of Oz: Beyond The Yellow Brick Road (DS)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Thursday, November 19, 2009

Graphics: 8.50
Sound: 5.00
Gameplay: 5.00
Replays: 1.00
Gamelength: 5.00

“The Wizard of Oz: Beyond The Yellow Brick Road” would be awesome, but the lacking game mechanics prevent this crazy take on the classic story from reaching it’s full potential.

Before we blow the hood off this ridiculous game, I need to set the record straight. First of all, this is nothing like the “Wizard of Oz” you once knew. Everything has been turned into a very generic Japanese anime-style world with generic gameplay and a slightly different plot. In fact, if not for the title, this game could have easily been be tossed aside and forgotten as another standard RPG with no selling points. If you still retain any interest after having read that, continue for our review of “The Wizard of Oz: Beyond The Yellow Brick Road.”

Regardless of the new anime style and missing “Wizard Of Oz” components, the visual quality is fantastic. There’s a whole lot of color all over the place. Every pixel of every character, tree and enemy has been designed exclusively for the Nintendo DS with eye-popping graphics. At least, as far as the DS hardware goes. I’d venture to say that this game is on par with the technology of games such as “Final Fantasy 9” for the original PlayStation, which seems fairly impressive for Nintendo’s best-selling handheld.

While the graphics are awesome, the audio is excessively generic and just plain dull. Everything sounds like it’s been ripped straight out of another generic RPG, even down to the most basic of sound effects. Even the menu sound effects have no unique appeal.

This game seriously could not be any more simplistic. The gameplay revolves around moving from stage to stage, running down straightforward paths and ultimately just killing a bunch of random enemies. There’s not a whole lot more to it. Battles are played by choosing which characters enter the playing field, then simply killing everything. The battle system can at times be drawn out, what with the “rock, paper, scissors” mechanics of the enemies and party members. To elaborate: each character is both strong and weak versus specific enemy types. If you choose a character that’s weak to whatever it is that you may be fighting, the battle will take much longer, perhaps even leading to death. Movement is handled with the stylus on-screen, which can feel very misplaced and clunky at times. An option to alter the movement controls would have been very welcome, but as it stands, players are forced to use the touch screen for movement.

Overall, this game sounded great on paper, but when push comes to shove, this is an easily forgotten game that does nothing to bring the original story or characters to life.

Pros:
+Wonderful visuals.
+Balanced difficulty.
+Casual enough for the RPG newbies out there looking for a starting point.

Cons:
-Boring music and sound effects.
-Story is rather short.
-Anime style character design takes away from the original experience.
-Extremely repetitious.
-Boring and simple-minded battle mechanics.
-Movement controls are a bit clunky.

Bottom line:
True “Wizard of Oz” fans should stay away from this game, but casual RPG players might find just what they’re looking for. At least, until the next RPG comes around.

Overall Rating: 5.00

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