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Rainbow Moon (PlayStation 3) review: Rainbow Moon (PlayStation 3)

The Good Lots of content
Killing difficult foes is exciting

The Bad Shallow combat
Tedious upgrade system
Little motivation to keep playing

The Bottom Line The pieces are in place for a fine adventure, but Rainbow Moon's shallow mechanics have limited appeal.

Available on the PlayStation Network.

6.0 Overall

With two companions dead and an oozing blob quivering ominously nearby, the odds are heavily stacked against you. One ectoplasmic belly flop can instantly undo all of your hard-fought slaying. In situations where your back is against the wall, Rainbow Moon envelops you with its tactical delights. But such moments are rare. The pieces that provide the foundation for this strategy role-playing game are competently executed, but never coalesce into something substantial. So you lackadaisically complete quests and cut through swaths of enemies, hoping Rainbow Moon rises above its lesser elements. Alas, that time never arrives.

6389630You meet new companions along the way.None

Set to square off against his malevolent nemesis, Baldren is unexpectedly whisked away to a foreign land through a mysterious portal. Upon landing in this unknown world, the hero finds that he wasn't the only creature to make it through the portal. Monsters now roam the countryside, invading people's homes and causing chaos in idyllic pastures. Once the plot is set in motion, the story fades into the background, letting you focus on killing baddies instead of watching non-interactive cutscenes. The emphasis on combat and exploration over storytelling keeps the pace moving along, but because there aren't interesting characters or plot developments to keep you engaged, there's little motivation to fix the wrongs you set in motion.

Townsfolk and creatures populate the brightly colored countryside. Talking to benevolent citizens queues up quests to take part in, and there's a healthy assortment of side missions to complement your more important quest goals. Exploration is important because people and items are located in the oddest places, so poking your head into every nook reaps plenty of rewards. It's unfortunate that the simple act of walking is handled so clumsily. Impenetrable boundaries carve the world into a series of elaborate mazes, and it's not always clear where you can and cannot pass. You might be able to step under a tree in one place but have to run around another one later on, and such discrepancies make it feel as if you're searching for weak points rather than freely exploring this strange world.

Rainbow Moonscreenshot
Never trust a winged creature.

It's a small problem, but one emblematic of the way Rainbow Moon is designed. Every element is adequately done, but each is hampered by a number of noticeable faults. The many ups and downs in Rainbow Moon are on clear display in the combat encounters, which make up the vast majority of your adventuring. Enter into fights by making contact with a monster blocking your path and you're warped to a grid-based battlefield to settle your differences with swords and arrows. The absence of random battles is a smart design decision, considering how often you have to backtrack, and you'll never want for combat because you can enter into a duel just about whenever the mood hits you.

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