Fragile Dreams is the next JRPG by Tri-Crescendo, makers of Eternal Sonata. This title flew under the radar when it was launched it mid March 2010, amidst a sea of triple-A titles. But with its strange box art and unknown name, Fragile Dreams is the type of experience you would expect from an XSeed published game.
Fragile Dreams follows the story of a young boy, who as it turns out has just become the last person on the planet after the death of his guardian, a nameless professor. No fishiness here, the man simply died of old age, as the game opens you learn that the world has become abandoned, humanity having simply disappeared. As our hero searches the remains of the professor’s study, he comes face to face with a being called a “thought entity” which in layman’s terms is really just a spirit. It is surprised to see any human’s left and attempts to kill you. After fighting it off, you embark on a journey to find any trace of humanity that is left on the planet.
Fragile Dreams doesn’t feel like much of a game when playing it; it’s more like an interactive movie, with a few playable scenes you experience between the next part of the story. The game play is rather simplistic; the thought entities are weakened by light, so with the Wiimote, you point your light source around the screen while moving around with the nunchuk. You can spin the camera by moving your light source towards one of the screens edges, which is awkward at best and takes quite a bit of getting used to. Weapons are all improvised items initially: sticks, lead pipes, butterfly nets, which I found to be interesting; our hero is after all a young kid with little to no experience holding a weapon. To sum it up, the game is uncomfortable, the screen is constantly dark making you constantly having to search every little corner to make sure you do not miss anything and the action is dull. Fights feel dragged out thanks to the fact that its neigh impossible to judge if you’re even on the same plane as your enemy sometimes.
That being said- the story for Fragile Dreams more than makes up for the game play. Told using a beautiful narrative and wonderfully made animated scenes, the story was more than enough to drag me into the game for the long haul. I only wish that they had put as much effort into the playable sections of the game when it game to the graphics. The animated scenes are quite possibly some of the best you can get on the Wii while the in game graphics feel lazy at times, using darkness to hide the flaws.
Sound is a huge part of Fragile Dreams as well, using an incredibly impressive score mixed with the ambient sound of a human-less world brings about feelings of pure loneliness. The game makes use of the Wii-motes built in speaker in similar fashion to games like No More Heroes or even Twilight Princess giving the player clues using sounds. Point your light source at a small puddle and you might hear some crickets or frogs. Hold your Wii-mote to your ear to receive clues on what to do next, hear the some dog growling coming from your Wii-mote; better look out for the ghost dog hidden somewhere around you. I wish more games would use sound as well as Fragile Dreams did. Though I shouldn’t expect any less from Tri-Crescendo.
Tri-Crescendo seems to be keeping to a theme of using light and sound in their games. Eternal Sonata used the elements too; enemies and allies using different attacks based on whether they were in light or dark.
Whatever their obsession with the elements is, Tri-Crescendo has made my list of companies to watch, up there with XSeed, Tri-Ace and Atlus. As a final thought about Fragile Dreams, I have to say, while I didn’t have too much fun playing the game, I did have immense fun experiencing its story, music and narrative. I couldn’t recommend this game to a lot of people though, as it is more of a movie then a game. It’s niche and like I said, I can’t blame anyone for passing it up on store shelves.