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BEST GAMES OF 2012: GROWLANSER IV WAYFARER OF TIME (Atlus/Career-Soft, RPG, Sony PSP)
Originally released in 2003, western audiences missed out on what was widely considered to be the best title of the Growlanser saga. But thanks to Atlus, English-speakers can now experience the updated PSP release, featuring two alternate paths that change the plot of the game considerably and several new characters. Much to my surprise, these new characters were woven into the plot seamlessly rather than feeling lazily tacked on.
While Growlanser IV is addictive, unfortunately it’s not above cheap shots. There are many battle scenarios where you will be ambushed and win conditions will change without any foresight. In almost all of these cases you will be sure to die, using the knowledge of your defeat to win the battle next time. But death in Growlanser means back to the title screen, and this is a portable game in which you can only save at savepoints or inns. If you’ve gone a long time between savepoints, death can be extremely frustrating.
Also unfortunate is the fact that Atlus were unable to license/localize the game’s “full-talkie” spoken dialogue due to low sales expectations. Many fans have complained about this, but I’m just happy to have finally gotten a chance to play this in my native language.
With an incredible storyline of international intrigue and totalitarian government, Growlanser is a must-have for the JRPG fan with a PSP.