1up is running a preview of Lost
Magic, a game which promises to bring role-playing and real-time strategy together in wedded bliss. The superb
Warcraft III certainly pulled that off with aplomb, though this game's take on that genre juxtaposition is
somewhat different. For one thing, casting spells is a tad more involved than merely selecting the appropriate command
from a menu.
I have to wonder if that's a good thing or not. Obviously, I want the game to use the capabilities of the DS whenever possible, but only if it comes naturally from the design and not as a forced bullet-point to add to the back of the game's case. The concept should be fitted to the hardware, not the other way around. Lost Magic has the player drawing different runes in order to cast spells (with over 350 types available), with each rune triggering anything from healing spells to more pleasing fire spells.
Do I really want to draw some sort of shape every single time I want to heal my magical princess? Why is that I am now forced to use the touch screen in order to accomplish something that worked just fine (and arguably more easily) with traditional controls? I think these are good questions to ask, especially in the light of many great DS games like Mario Kart DS or Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time that didn't really make full use of the stylus. I'm not judging Lost Magic by any means (yet), but 1up's preview doesn't really give me enough information to decide whether or not the rune system is inspired or gimmicky.
Let me know what you think.