#Quickie: Mugen Souls

Summer is tough for the gamer. From about March on, usually nothing comes out in the world of console gaming. When this happens, that’s when gamers get a bit more daring and try out things they normally wouldn’t or pick up niche things they wanted to try. Since I’m a bit of a fan of JRPGS and Nippon Ichi, that’s what I did with Mugen Souls, and dear god… I wish I hadn’t.

The story of Mugen Souls roughly is this entity who resembles a pink haired elementary/middle school girl appears in the vastness of space. She awakens to the glimmer of the 7 worlds found throughout space and entranced by her sparkle, she decides that she wants to claim them for herself. To be the “undisputed god of the universe”. She is found in space by Altis (a demon who was thrown out of the netherworld and converted to half-angel) and Ryuto (a pervy kid who’s stolen a spaceship). Using her ability to make people become her peons, Chou-Chou subjugates Ryuto and claims his ship as her own, and takes of on her conquest of the world. Using her ability to transform into 8 differing personalities, she intends to “Moe-Kill” each world’s hero and demon lord into submission and claim the world for herself.

If there is something that non-anime fans could point to explain why they don’t like it, Mugen Souls would be a great example. It opens up with an overly girly J-pop dance number that to put simply is almost stomach churning. Many of character designs are designed to be overly cutesy. A lot of the gags fall under bad anime stereotypes or fanservice and have a tendency to fall flat. It does manage to produce a couple of laughs by poking fun at some of the things we take as normal in the world of adventure games, so it’s not completely abysmal. It’s fairly well voice acted, it just doesn’t really have a great story behind it.

(Footage captured from personal play for Rage Quitter)

But you will feel like a creep playing it, make no mistake. I said 8 distinct personalities, but what that should read is 8 distinct fetish types. At first I thought terms like Sadist and Masochist were thrown in there to be kind of  goofy with the types, but as you play through the game you really do start collecting people based on their fetish.  Some will make you scratch your head, some might make you uncomfortable, but the real problem comes in when you realize that the main character very clearly resembles a minor. Apparently this game had some controversy in getting localized because of this issue. Huge Shocker.

In the real meat of the game it fails pretty damn hard. It starts of fairly simple, overworld map with monsters to avoid, and engaging them takes you to a Phantom Brave-esq battle system. But as Nippon Ichi games usually do, you are bombarded with tutorials about the games intricacies and to say its overwhelming is an understatement. To quickly summarize. You can attack which has the possibility of teaming with other players for big damage, you can use abilities which can bounce enemies around the map and into other monsters or crystals for big rewards, or you can use Chou-Chou’s “moe kill” to convert them to items or your peons. Peons are used to upgrade your spaceship for the occasional space battles that occasionally come up during the story.

But the game fails its hardest is in its execution. The game is just broken. Even after installing to the HDD, the game suffers from horrendous load times, freezing issues, incredibly choppy frame rates, awkward controls and camera. It just makes for a horrible experience, and this really does more damage than anything else I can complain about. Believe me, there is a lot to complain about on this one.  Cheesy story, annoying grating and unforgettable music, complex combat system, excessive use of fight cutscenes. Perhaps the fact that it’s a virtual unknown release should give it a pass, but this is almost shovelware levels of bad quality.

There are a handful of good ideas and things that I liked that could have made the game fun if they were cleaned up, but there just isn’t enough good here to make it a worthwhile experience. Mugen Souls might possibly be one of the worst games I’ve played in a long, long time. Buyer beware on this one.

You can see just how much venom I spit over at Rage Quitter.


#Quickie: Atelier Ayehsa

Since I grew up in the NES era, I have always had a soft spot for a good JRPG like a Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. A little over a year ago, I did a review for a game called Atelier Totori and basically had lukewarm feelings to it. However, its started an addiction that spanned 3 other games, and now it has moved onto a 4th in Atelier Ayesha: Alchemist of the Dusk.  The super condensed gist of the story is Ayesha is a young apothecary who lives alone since her sister Nio vanished. While visiting Nio’s makeshift grave, Ayesha sees spectral vision of her, and learns from a stranger that Nio still lives and through alchemy she might be able to save her, but she’s only got 3 years to do it.

The gameplay is true to form, traditional JRPG fanfare. The world map has number of checkpoints, and each point is a different location to explore and fight, usually 1-3 screens. You can usually see all the enemies on the screen so its not random battle, but its 3 vs many turn based combat. Since these games are very short, characters only get 4 abilities with a level cap of 50. Because of this, battles can come an go remarkably quickly depending on your gear. There are a handful of bosses that can eat significant time, but ultimately the main “draw” of the game is its item creation. As you play through you get more supplies and recipes  you combine those to create new items, which in turn you can use to make more advanced materials. The game moves at a breakneck pace so you have to keep moving to beat it before the time runs up.

The game is incredibly basic, samey, repetitive, and short.  All of these things can come off as negatives, but I gotta tell ya? This series has me by the balls. I have no idea what it is, but I get completely engrossed in creating items and learning how to do things faster. After I beat the game, I immediately fire it back up to see if I can unlock more or beat it faster. In addition to that? The series has some exceptional music, so much so that I’ve dug up and official soundtrack shortly after playing. And if you aren’t deterred buy some anime stereotypes, the characters have some fun moments too.

I’m completely dialed in into this series and I don’t know how it happened, but frankly I don’t even care anymore. I really get into these, I’ve already beaten it like 3 times and I am still playing it. If you are one of those types who gets turned off by a game with big anime eyes, turn based combat, or can’t get your gaming boner up without staring down the iron sight in first person? You probably should pass on Atelier Ayesha. But if you aren’t bothered those things, looking for something a lil different, and without a massive commitment? I would say give it a try, who knows? It might grab you, it certainly did with me.

You can check out my full review over at Rage Quitter.