I bought this game on a sale because I had read a few reviews on-line suggesting it would be a pretty decent action/RPG type of game, but after having sunk a considerable amount of time into it, I honestly cannot recommend it.
On the surface, the premise is pretty simple: You battle your way through 10 chapters of action as the story unfolds, and you earn Character Points to use in developing your fighter. You can replay chapters to try and earn 100% in them, but at times, it's not clear what this even entails, and from what I can tell, there's no way to review this information once play is underway. This is just one of many holes in the game, however.
On the good side, the graphics are charming and fairly well done, and there are some pretty decent musical tracks throughout the game, as well. You won't have problems picking out the enemies, and it's nearly always obvious when an item has been dropped to pick up. The gameplay itself is fairly straightforward, and there is the occasional side quest to keep you occupied. Combat is pretty much button mashing; there is some nuance when it comes to the block function, but aside from this, you'll basically be spamming your weapon strikes and/or special ability--at least in my experience.
I've managed to get 100% in the first 5 chapters on Normal mode, build up my stats significantly, and equip better items. Yet there is STILL no way for me to beat the final boss. The game has three difficulties: Normal, Hard, and Epic. The game is structured to basically force you to play through every chapter at every difficulty level to be able to complete it. Without doing so, you can't win.
This is my overall perception; a lot could be resolved if the game simply provided an instruction manual! Virtually every single nuance of the game requires you to experiment and figure it all out for yourself. The biggest offense here is the crafting system. You can occasionally pick up blueprints for better weapons and armor; I have about four of these right now. However, I cannot craft ANYTHING yet because of the sheer costs, and the crafting process itself is not explained anywhere in the game that I have found so far! Additionally, you don't just find the necessary items; that would be too easy. Nor are the items themselves even remotely easy to come by. I've had to replay the same chapter where I know I can find a particular element multiple times to earn enough of it. You ALSO have to have in your possession three of the type of item you want to create. Want to craft a new helmet? Well, you have to already have three other helmets in your possession. On top of that, you have to pay a staggering amount of money (tokens), earned primarily by completing chapters over and over again. The item I want costs almost 6600 tokens, which I have now. But I don't have three helmets, so I'm going to have to spend about 1600 tokens to buy two more helmets, spend a ton more time grinding for more coins, and then maybe I'll be able to craft the helmet I need. As someone who is used to grinding in video games, I find this to be absolutely LUDICROUS. Adding even further to this insult is that such items are EXTREMELY rare as far as loot drops from enemies; in fact, you'll virtually never get an item drop from an enemy unless it's the occasional orb that restores all of your energy. It seems that only certain enemies drop such items, and they apparently only do so in pre-determined places throughout the game. So you can't even effectively farm for what you want during your multiple replays of the game.
And this doesn't even go into the truly major problems of the game. The afore-mentioned block function actually requires focus points (the yellow energy bar) to use; even if you're not actually blocking an attack, that meter drains just from holding the button. Once it runs out, you can't defend again until you recover some points by resting. In the early chapters, this can be troublesome but isn't completely insurmountable. However, after you get past about Chapter 4, the enemy barrages and patterns make it to where it's virtually impossible to block every single attack and effectively retaliate. Every retaliation opens you up to another enemy, whether it's from one that's close in (you will likely get surrounded A LOT) or from a long-range monster throwing boulders at you. In later stages, where you begin dealing with mages that can quickly spam you with fire and lightning attacks, you can be dead before you even know what hit you. Some enemy barrages come so quickly and in such fierce numbers that getting surrounded is almost an inevitability. When you're trying to block and retaliate with special attacks, your focus meter will drain very quickly, and it only takes a few hits to kill you at that point. Additionally, some enemies have attacks they can just repeatedly spam, forcing multiple blocked hits and draining your focus points at an extremely high rate, meaning within seconds you can be forced to take the damage and likely die as a result. (This is especially true of the final boss, who has a multi-hitting attack that he sometimes just spams over and over again.) At this point, just trying to complete the game seems like nothing more than an unending slog.
There's also an extremely nagging control problem in the game. I'm not sure if this affects game pad users specifically, but there are maddening moments every time I play where my character just simply STOPS MOVING or simply will not move in a direction I press. I have to let go of the controls and then press again to get him to move at all, and this happens frequently right in the middle of combat. To be fair, I use profiling software with my Logitech controller, so it's possible there's some issue with this setup (which works in almost every other game I play, by the way) that I'm not aware of. But it's another issue that brings down this game. There's also an apparent sound bug that prevents Direct Music from initializing if you have an Asus sound card; make sure you disable GX in the DSP Mode settings of the driver software (my apologies to whomever posted that solution for my not having the link to the thread for this review).
In short, I find this game to be the worst combination of tedium and frustration, with really no sense of completion or even a feeling that at some point, you can actually complete the game. Yes, I have beaten the final boss on Normal mode, but you get the worst ending for doing so; you apparently can't get the "real" ending without beating him on Hard Mode, if not in Epic Mode, which brings me to my original point about forced replaying to actually win. Wanderlust: Rebirth is an unforgiving and at many times unfair game that only leaves me more exasperated after each play session as I discover some other roadblock to my progress when I know intrinsically what I need to do to win. I simply cannot do it thanks to game design that prevents me from even getting any better weapons or armor that would give me a chance in the final battle. I cannot say enough to avoid this game unless it's completely reworked and rebalanced.