Brave Story: New Traveler is a game you'll want to like. A role-playing game in the mold of Final Fantasy, it has all the ingredients of its Final forebear and even some helpful touches of its own. The problem is that New Traveler takes its cues from ancient entries in the genre and suffers from maladies long ago cured. You'll wander through labyrinthine dungeons tangled with dead ends and random encounters in the name of thwarting evil, as well as coming of age. If only this game took its own advice and grew up.
At least the story writers are abreast of recent trends. Like so many RPGs these days, New Traveler's tale begins in modern-day Japan, with your hero sitting on a park bench next to his girlfriend playing on his PSP. Your dog, Kratos, chases a frog, perhaps under a log, and your girlfriend follows. You, too busy playing your game, fail to notice anything is amiss until she's been afflicted with an incurable curse of the darkest magic. Whoops?
Meet Yuno, your catty sidekick.
So, you go on a quest into the realm of Vision (that's a place, by the way) seeking the Goddess of Destiny so she'll grant you a wish. To gain an audience, you must capture several gems and attach them to your sword (this tells the Goddess of Destiny that you're serious and aren't going to wish for a Coca-Cola or a million heads of lettuce). Once you get your wish, your girlfriend will wake up and probably dump you, but that's OK because minutes after arriving in Vision, you run into a sexy kitty girl. You know the type: the scantily dressed, sassy girls you always wish the heroes in these Japanese RPGs would go for, but never do.
You and kitten girl eventually find a big lizard guy to team up with to hunt down the gems while killing monsters, capturing bandits, as well as generally saving the day. This is almost always achieved through typical turn-based RPG violence. Your characters can attack, special attack, and perform team moves. The latter two use BP (read: mana), which, in a cool twist, normal attacks replenish. This basically means you'll be able to completely whip your foes with special attacks two or three fights in a row before cooling down and killing them the old-fashioned way to build up some more mana.
The Team Moves, as you might imagine, are special attacks that include two or three players. They cost BP for everyone involved, but tend to damage every enemy or apply a powerful, party wide status boost. Most importantly, they're a great way to quickly get out of random battles without running away--you just kill everything in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, like every other aspect of the combat, team moves don't require any timing or input. There are no button presses for extra damage, you just set it and forget it.