Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy review

  • Alchemy-assisted murder sprees
  • Some of the art is striking
  • Stylus wielding mini-games
  • Convoluted story-telling
  • Tiresome side-scrolling
  • Lack of checkpoints

Puberty has blessed you with a metal arm and leg. You tell people you're "the closest thing to God there is." Your man-child adventures have been painstakingly hand-drawn by subservient throngs of Japanese artists. Now, your devotees can press buttons to electronically relive your harrowing exploits in Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy.

The game loves text and still images, which it will display for you in its many story sequences. But it just doesn't know how to use them, and the result is a narrative so ruthlessly disjointed that show fans will moan in misery. Profound events bounce through with little to no explanation, and feeble music, cliche-ravaged dialogue and cheap dramatic effects like screen-jiggling fail to make you even want to try to understand. At least gore-fetishists will enjoy the decapitation, impaling and bodies being sliced in half.

So on to the part where you actually play - an overly-simplistic side-scroll beat 'em-up, where you'll sprint through temples of forgotten gods and shady underground laboratories, forever mashing a single button to execute a single three-hit combo. A decent selection of omnipotent alchemy attacks helps quell the monotony, and the blood-thirst is punctuated with some creative and sometimes amusing stylus mini-games.

The game's served in 10 to 40 minute portions, and you can only save after completing an episode. Which is fine for the shorter bits, but after spending almost an hour thumping fool after generic fool, dying near the end and restarting might cause you to smash this false idol.

This four to six hour play-through isn't worthwhile the first time; what's worse is the developers expect you to replay this multiple times with different characters. While it's sort of interesting to see your darling dudes from the show demonstrate their custom alchemy warfare, a single sit-through is exasperating enough.

More Info

Release date: Dec 12 2006 - DS (US)
Jun 08 2007 - DS (UK)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Action
Published by: Destineer
Developed by: Bandai
Franchise: Fullmetal Alchemist
ESRB Rating:


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