A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – Dillon’s Rolling Western: The Last Ranger
Version – 3DS Download
ESRB Rating: ‘E10+’ – Everyone 10 and up
Release Date: 4/11/2013
Obtained – Review copy courtesy of Nintendo
Dillon and Russ are back again to protect the villages from the Grocks who have returned to eat the precious scrogs. Can Dillon save the day again and defeat the Grocks? Only one way to find out!
The villages are under attack again from the Grocks and right when the train was about to arrive with new supplies. Dillon and his buddy Russ show up just in time and save the village. Dillon learns that the Grocks are raiding villages in the area, particularly around the railroad tracks. Dillon must not only protect the village, but also the supply train that needs to make a stop at the village to deliver supplies. It is a national law that the train must move at a walking pace to prevent the supplies from getting damaged, so Dillon must be prepared to stop the Grocks from attacking the train in addition to the ones going directly to the village.
Gameplay & Controls
The same tower-defense/action gameplay returns in the Last Ranger. Dillon can fortify existing towers, build new ones and equip the same weapons (from the first game – shotgun, machine gun or cannon – each has a varying range of attack) to them to help aid his cause of stopping the Grocks. It has the same sequence as the first title, he has all day to collect scrogs (cattle) for the village and can also enter in mines for gems or ore. Then Russ gives a few minute warning when the sun is about to set for the day and Dillon can make last minute stop to the village to repair or build new walls for the village, sell gems or donate scrogs. If a Grock reaches the village, they subtract from the total amount of scrogs and if the total reaches zero, the cause is lost.
Also returning is the three days of the Grocks attacking. Dillon only has to protect the village for three days, and if the village is along the tracks, the third day is when the train arrives. I say if the village is along the tracks since their some side missions available that are not part of the track lines that Dillon can protect. These villages help improve the number of star badges required to play the main level missions. If the player has to protect the train, it starts on the 3rd day and will slowly move from the start point all the way to the village. The train has an HP meter, so if the player does not protect it, the battle can be lost instantly if the train is overtaken. Also new to the Last Ranger, Dillon has the option of recruiting an additional ranger. During the day, this ranger can be assigned a specific task and do that task only. His options are to collect money, collect ore, or collect scrogs. The catch is that Dillon must meet him in order to receive what the ranger collected. At night, the recruited ranger assists you with fighting the Grocks by heading straight into battle. Dillon can team up with them if they are fighting the same stack. There are some quests that require you fight alongside the additional ranger, so the player needs to keep an eye out on other Grocks as they can slip by and still head on to attack the village.
These rangers can also be recruited after completing the side mission with a face-off. The ranger will draw their gun and precise timing has to be used to stop the ranger from killing Dillon. If Dillon attacks first, he will be shot, so perfect timing is necessary. If you fail, you have the opportunity to stand up again by mashing the A button. If you are quick enough, you get 3 total standoff attempts and if you fail all 3 times, you do not recruit the ranger, but still pass the side mission. After you acquire a ranger, you can bring them into the story missions to help you complete them a lot easier. I had failed the first time with the face-off, but when I was having trouble in the next story mission, I barely passed it having a single star. Upon further attempts it was difficult to improve so I returned to the first side mission and won the face-off and got my first ranger. This made revisiting the other 2 main story missions I had easier to complete with higher rankings.
Finally, the last new features to the Last Ranger include the ability to use items, and contains streetpass data. They will slowly be introduced into the story and oftentimes a quest will require you to use the item that you just picked up. This can be pretty helpful when defending the town as items can either destroy a whole stack of Grocks, or freeze them in place for a limited time or divert them to attack a decoy. This can be a saving grace if the Grocks become overwhelming and the player needs additional time to attack a particular stack of Grocks. The player typically will only get 1 of the item to use a single time, and after that it’s use it is gone. Players can now get Streetpass data for this game. Basically you will get a high score and can see that players high score.
Visuals & Sound
I found this section to be difficult to talk about the second time around. Unfortunately not a lot has changed in this area. In my previous review for the first game, I noted that the 3D effects were well done. I still stand by this for the sequel. I critiqued that the rock structures, mines, and the sky are very basic and probably could have been more unique and detailed – and I can still make the same judgment for this game as these areas have not improved. The addition of the train is new however, and it fits in nicely and it looks like it belongs in the region. The tracks look like they belong in a western along with the style of train.
The sound section also hasn’t really seemed to be updated either. A lot of the same sound effects and even the short themes were pulled from the first game. They did touch up some of the sounds with new effects to enhance them a little bit. The new sounds with the train and items work very well and match up. Again, I will voice my complaint that the game does not have any voice acting and the player is presented with plenty of boxes of text. It would be add a lot more to the game to hear voices that go along with the text or replace the text overall.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
Overall, the game is a safe sequel game to this new series. A lot of the visuals and sound remained the same or similar with only some elements added. The majority of the changes took place with the gameplay by adding in a computer character along with usable items. The AI of the computer ranger was somewhat limited as the ranger could only do one task during the day, and oftentimes during the battle at night would head to the back of the map after the first Grocks leaving the closer dens to generate ones for Dillon to cover. This can be problematic since Dillon may need to fight alongside his partner to complete some quests leaving the town mostly undefended. I would recommend this game to fans of the first game and also those that enjoy action/tower defense types of games.
+New usable items
+Trains to protect (sometimes)
+Additional help with extra ranger
-Early difficulty spike
-AI for Ranger not the best
-Difficult ‘Face offs’
-Lot of the same graphics and sound from the first game