Release Date: March 16, 2010
Systems: PS3, Xbox 360
Metacrtic Score: 72(PS3)
This may be the most difficult game I’ve had to review thus far. Not only in terms of the challenge presented in the game, but also in the review process itself. You see, normally when I go to review a game, I try to have it beet, or at lest be on the last mission or two before doing a review. Here, i’ve only longed in 12 hours in what i’m told is a 60 hour game (life and work have been getting in the way a bit more than usually lately). However, in those 12 hours, I noticed a trend that gave me the impression that I had enough to work with to give you an honest review.
This is where my lack of play time is most likely to reflect poorly on the over all review. Most reviews from the time of release stated that the story took a while to get going, and by the half way point it would make since where the plot was going, and where it had been hidden to begin with. However, from what i’ve played, none of the chapters in the game might as well be severed from the whole with how little they each have to do with each other. Sure, before and after the chapter there are some cut scenes that “mysterious” to show that something is happening, but so far there has been little reason to care. However, I could tolerate a game with a slow burning narrative if the script or acting could keep me interest. Sadly, that is also an issue here.
Some of the lines of dialogue sound like they were written by an angstie 11 year old, and the voice act goes from passable to the just awful. Watch just about any anime with a poor Dub and you will have some idea of what you’re in for.
This is why I feel I can write this review so soon. Sure, most games are “combat games” where the bulk of what you are doing revolves around killing/beating enemy’s, but here there are really only two activity, fighting and opening up the game would with “power hex’s” so that you can fight more. Sure, the reason you’re fighting changes, but for the most part that really is all you are doing. For example, in one mission the owner of a clothing store asks you to get some more mannequins, so you go and fight some creatures until you have all the parts for her. In another mission, a chef wants needs some quality meat to please his employer. So, naturally, you fight creatures until one of them drops “quality meat”. Normally this kind of repatriation would be an issue, but here it works well for two reasons. The first is that the combat in this game is fun, and often rewardingly challenging. Yes, the bosses will kick your ass, but when you beat them there is a justified feeling of accomplishment. The second reason this works so well, is because is perfect for abnegation. This is a perfect game to play when you just feel like wasting a few hours without really having to think or put put too much effort into. Sure, it’s not so brainless you can just compliantly mentally check out, but for the most part this is a great time killer.
Unfortunately, there are some rather annoying flaws here too. Once you get the hang of the game and it’s battle system, each fight can be rather fun and rewording. However, in the name of challenge, developer Tri-Ace made some questionable dissensions. The biggest issue, for me at lest, is that the game doesn’t explain it’s self very well. It took me about two hours and a few repeats of the tutorial to understand the combat system and how everything is connected to each other. Not helping matters much is that the tutorial is all text, small text at that. This also extends to the missions themselves. At the time of writing, I am doing a side quest where a woman wants me to retrieve a good luck charm that her late husband lost. That is all the context I know about this mission. I don’t know where he may have lost it, what it looks like, or what it is. All I know is that it’s lost and she would like it found.
The developers also seemed to forget at times that there is a difference between challenging and frustrating. For example, in one mission you have to transport a statue true a dungeon full of monsters. You cannot defend that statue, you cannot clear out the dungeon before hand, if the statue is destroyed you have to retry from that room (witch cost money) and only have the health you started with when you entered that room (unless you pay extra…so much extra that I almost never had the money to pick that option) and you cannot “heal” the statue in any way. And, at the end, there is a boss who, like all the other creatures, will attack the statue instead of you even though it poses no threat and you have been consistently shooting at them. That mission was not fun. At all.
But these annoyances were far enough between, for me at lest, to never really hinder my over all enjoyment of the game. In fact, even when it did annoy me to the point of rage quitting, I was back within a few minutest anyway.
With all that said, the question of the score comes down to one real question: can I, in good conscience, tell you to spend money on a game that is really best played when you have almost nothing else to do? Well, I don’t know you. I don’t how you prefer to game, but I can tell you that i’ve yet to regret buying this, and even though I have no plans to beat it any time soon, even though I really only intend to play it when i’m completely bored at this point, I don’t regret getting it, and I don’t think you will either.
Game Play: 3/5
Once again, really just kind of bland all together. Most of the time the voice acting and dialogue is awful, and the few truly good lines get repeated so much they too become an annoyance. Oddly, however, most of the conversations are text. I’m not sure if that is a pro or a con. The guns sounds fit in well with the world that has been created, but nothing special.
Overall Score 2.3/5
Who is this game for:
with all the negativity, I want to make myself clear, this is a good game, but best played in small doses. So, for those who may not have a lot of time for gaming, but still want to feel like they are accomplishing something as they play, this game is for you. For those who have often come home from work or school and just want to check out for a bit, this is for you.