Dragon Star Varnir
Top Critic Average
Dragon Star Varnir is a step up from a lot of Compile Heart's games, but the Switch version is a technical mess.
Dragon Star Varnir's dark world of witches and warfare is unlike anything else Compile Heart and Idea Factory have put out. Unfortunately, the experience is brought down by less than stellar visuals and doesn't make the most of its main gameplay innovations.. There's an interesting story to unfold here, but actually playing the game to get to it might be a challenge best left unmet.
Dragon Star Varnir knows its limitations and only tries to hide them in the first hours. The combat system is the only positive thing to defend in this video game. The rest, however, seems a little bit disappointing beyond the design of main characters.
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Compile Heart has become increasingly proficient at producing titles with dark premises and Dragon Star Varnir is proof of that. And fortunately, unlike other Galapagos RPG titles, the focus on narrative doesn't leave the actual gameplay hanging by the wayside.
Dragon Star Varnir isn’t perfect. The narrative starts out pretty rough and the environs can also look dated at times. Despite those shortcomings, the storytelling also has powerful moments and forces you to mull over some tough choices. The witch designs are also neat and its dragon-devouring mechanic also has a bit of a Pokemon vibe to it that will make you want to catch ‘em all. Dragon Star Varnir may not provide the best of first impressions. Give it some time, however, and you might find a game that pleasantly surprises you in the end.
If you love these small, niche JRPGs and can snag a copy of Dragon Star Varnir at a discount, I'd say pick it up. The $60 price point for recycled assets and a game that has more reading than voice over just seems a little too steep for me. But hey, that's just one girl's opinion.
While it still maintains some of the annoying quirks of past Compile Heart titles, Dragon Star Varnir is worth playing for its fantastic battle system and likeable characters.
While I could see this review of Dragon Star Varnir coming off as overly critical, I'd say it's more safe than anything else. There is nothing wrong with following a commonly used story, sticking to what you've done in the past and trying your best to make each experience a little different. I don't know if I'd say Dragon Star Varnir will stand out besides the lovely character designs, but it's a game that, if nothing else, fans of their previous work will likely enjoy.
All in all, as you can probably guess, Dragon Star Varnir is quite a mixed bag in terms of enjoyment. While it provides an intricate and engaging combat system as well as some solid alternate modes, the rest of its elements are unfortunately rather lackluster or just plain inconveniencing.
Dive into an original and fantastical world filled with magic and dragons as you team up with some of the world's last remaining witches on a quest to lift a centuries-old curse! Varnir might fall short in some areas but still has plenty to offer for those looking for a new experience.