Mugen Souls Z: Too Much Excess Fat

By Jack . June 1, 2014 . 5:01pm

At first glance it’s pretty easy to figure out what one might expect from Mugen Souls Z. It’s an RPG filled with the anime girls that are all the rage these days and developed by Compile Heart, who to put it nicely, has a reputation. I’ve never thought that any of their concepts have been completely irredeemable though, so I was interested in seeing how their latest localized project turned out.

 

Mugen Souls Z revolves around the self-proclaimed Ultimate God Syrma who has joined forces with the previous game’s protagonist, the self-proclaimed Undisputed God Chou-Chou. You see, Chou-Chou got trapped in a coffin that made her tiny so she goes with Symra to conquer a bunch of planets with love energy while riding their giant mech castle through space. I’d keep going but the plot to this game is a joke. I don’t mean that in a negative way either—the plot, dialogue, and really everything to do with story in this game is distinctly comedic.

 

The game inhabits a peculiar space between sexual pandering and self-aware comedy. My theory is that if you’re going to make a sex appeal-fueled product then you need to be uncompromising in your ridiculousness. Mugen Souls Z lives by that directive, tossing around the word “overwhelming” to describe as much as possible, which really might be the best way to describe the game itself, both in terms of combat and writing.

 

In battle, everyone’s actions are turn-based, allowing the usual options for attacking, defending, and skills, but the system has a twist: during your turn characters freely move within a set radius. Every character’s radius is affected by their stats and equipment, adding a strategic layer to how your party is set up. Additionally, how you place your characters is important not only for landing your own attacks, but also avoiding your enemy’s assaults.

 

Movement is really just the tip of the iceberg to Mugen Souls Z’s combat, however. A multitude of subsystems further add to the complexity. The battlefield is littered with crystals that give bonuses if a character is within their range, encouraging specific positioning. You also have the ability to launch enemies with certain attacks, sending them across the field like a pool ball. On top of all that, there are “Ultimate Soul”, “Fever”, and “Damage Carnival” meters that fill up as you battle, all giving you distinct advantages like super attacks and damage boosts.

 

One gameplay mechanic called “captivating” really encapsulates the Mugen Souls Z experience. This involves Syrma changing her clothes and personality to fit a variety of stereotypical fetishes in order to coerce enemies to her side. This mechanic works like a matching game where you change into the enemy’s stated fetish (which is easily viewable before you begin the process) and pick dialogue options that are then scrolled through in a montage animation. Witnessing these captivate attacks perfectly highlights the combination of silliness and sex appeal that Mugen Souls Z tries to capture your attention with.

 

Although Mugen Souls Z has so much going on with its combat, it rarely feels like you need to take advantage of it all. At most you will want to captivate enemies whenever possible to make progress in other areas of the game, other ideas like the crystals or launching enemies seem almost completely optional. Standard enemy encounters just don’t require the complexity that the game offers, with the responsibility to challenge reserved almost entirely for boss fights.

 

Bosses hit hard, but even in tougher situations you have a wide variety of skills and party members to use to your advantage. The way party members work in particular pushes encounters heavily in your favor. You have four main party members out at a time, but are also allowed up to eight additional members in a sub-party, who can swap out with characters as they die. Even as someone who enjoys getting brokenly strong in RPGs, this mechanic feels unbalanced.

 

While battles are unlikely to impede your progress, you can still be held up in other ways. Moving the plot forwards requires you to explore various maps in order to find specific spots where you can captivate the planet itself. Charming some chunks of the planet work just like they do in battle, while others will require specific items or an arbitrary number of enemies defeated.

 

Planet captivation was the lowest point of the game for me. It’s filler that not only slows the game to a halt but also actively makes it worse. Playing efficiently and avoiding unnecessary battles is discouraged in favor of grinding because the system forces you to kill hundreds of enemies regardless. Methods for obtaining certain items are completely unclear and serve more as a source of frustration than fun. Traditional captivation is the only entertaining variation, but even then it can also require grinding or an unusual amount of luck to complete the sections successfully.

 

Another way Mugen Souls Z gets bogged down is in its writing. Every scene of dialogue just goes on for way too long. Characters take forever to make their point and even longer to shut up afterwards. It’s a game that tries to be humorous but strangely gets caught up in the intricacies of its own goofiness and falls flat because of it. Even when a clever joke does get made, it will be overwritten to the point where the conversation actually circles back and explains why it was supposed to be funny.

 

Despite its hiccups, I think Mugen Souls Z has an odd charm to it, but its charm wears thinner and thinner the more you play. The battle system works well enough and there’s plenty of content to keep you busy, but it’s nothing outstanding and the game ruins even those aspects through its overuse of filler. It’s too bad, because I don’t think Mugen Souls is a totally inaccessible concept for making a good game. It just needs more care paid to its design, and perhaps more importantly, someone to trim the fat.

 

Food for Thought:

 

1. The “jump!” voice clip whenever you hop around may be permanently burned into my mind.

 

2. This was my first experience with the Mugen Souls games, which was actually a problem at first because the game assumes you know the vast majority of the cast already. Fortunately, a lot of back story gets summarized anyway, both in-game and through a special option in the game’s menus, but this game is definitely focused more on its pre-established audience than any newcomers.

 

3. As of writing there is a pretty nasty glitch that I (and other people online) encountered in an optional dungeon called the Mugen Field, which causes the game to completely freeze during a long series of random encounters thrown at you. This dungeon is not only good place to level up, but its completion is also required to get the best ending, so hopefully there is a fix soon.


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  • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

    I think really the thing I need to know about is if the game is truly improved over the previous version… Huge game-freezing bug aside.

    Anyone who’s played both games now, what’s your verdict so far? I own the first game, and I could see potential in what it does, but it definitely needed some working over.

    • BUG

      I’ve played both games, it’s definitely much better than the original Mugen Souls, no doubt. It’s hard to play the first game after playing Mugen Souls Z.

      Planet captivation for the first time is probably the worst part of the game (everyone hates this). If they trim this part and just play through normally, it’ll be much better. I blame it on Chou-Chou.

      • Joshua Myers

        I dont mind it XD makes the game more lengthy which is a huge problem for me since i beat most games in like 1-2 days only games that took me awhile to beat are Agarest series and Tales games

        • BUG

          True, the main story is relatively short if I speed run and skip all talking and get rid of planet spots quickly.

          Takes about 1 hour to beat the main Mugen Souls Z story that way. The first Agarest War was pretty long, probably the longest game I’ve played so far.

          • Joshua Myers

            first game took me 4 months to beat Summerill was a complete ass hole! Kept using his 1 shot move so i had to lvl up to where i could survive it 0.o

      • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

        Hmm, okay, it sounds like it did definitely at least improve a lot of things. I might wait for a sale on this, but I’ll probably give it a whirl when I can. Thanks!

        • BUG

          You’re welcome, it’s actually good that you’re waiting since there’s a very bad freeze in the game right now and NISA’s already working on a patch for it which should be ready next month.

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            Oh, they’re confirmed to be working on a patch? That’s a relief! I knew about the freeze, and it was definitely one of the worrying parts, but I’m glad to hear that NISA has acknowledged that it’s a big problem.

            Oh, here’s a different question: Can you give your generic characters clothes from the get-go this time? Making them in Mugen Souls was sorta awkward, having them run around in their underwear until you could buy outfits, and otherwise you’d need to go and get the (albet free) DLC, but it was sorta a pain to go through all of that, especially on the current PS3 store set-up.

          • BUG

            Nah, not on the get go, they served the same purpose as the original game which was being science experiments (the system is different though). One thing’s for sure is that there’s a lot more clothing items as treasure probably because some Captivate Spots ask for them.

            Surprised that the reviewer didn’t mention the custom characters but this is one of the cool stuff that’s not needed to beat the main story, only meant for post game stuff.

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            Huhhh, okay, well, I guess at least it means I won’t need to focus on making generics until I DO get clothes– it was just always a little weird to me!

    • Sentsuizan_93

      First game had it’s flaws, but had some good battle system mechanics let down by load times and occasional animation lag. The first game also requires a hefty time investment of around 300 – 600 hours of gameplay, should you go for the platinum trophy. Overall, first game was a mixed bag of hit and miss. Okay battle system, suffering some technical niggles.
      This however, is far more streamlined and changed for the better, putting aside the Slumbering Boss bug in the Mugen Field. Battle system is improved, and this pretty much rights most of the the wrongs the first game suffered. In fact, I’d almost say this is superior to the first in almost every way.

      • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

        That’s good to hear. I was fortunate that I didn’t pay for the first game (I got it as a gift), so I was concerned on how this game was in comparison. This review, while detailed, is from the view of someone who hasn’t played the previous entry, so it’s hard to truly make a good judgment when going from one to the other.

        I’ll wait for a sale on it, but I will definitely try to look into getting Z at some point. I just hope that NISA patches the bug of this, though.

  • DesmaX

    Nisa’s been doing a pretty poor job with their games lately. My copy of Hundred Knight did crash some times (But not enough to really bother me)

    • http://denpanosekai.blogspot.com denpanosekai

      On the other hand Guided Fate Paradox is a flawless roguelike.

      • DesmaX

        GFP does crash when your each Axel Dungeon (But there’s a simple think that you can do to not make the game crash).

        And I was talking about NISA, not NIS. They’re not beta-testing their games enough, apparently

    • Hound

      Been curious about Hundred Knight. Is the gameplay enjoyable? (not the story or characters.) I heard it was “challenging, but well-made” from a thoroughly unreliable source.

      • DesmaX

        It tries too hard to be different, and that brings some really poor though-out mechanics; but there is good stuff in there.

        I’d recommend picking it up if you’re looking for a JRPG that feels different from the rest. Just don’t pay full price

        • Hound

          Sounds typical of NIS. Usually they just pack it all in and expand rather than really improve and develop some rather unique mechanics.

          I suppose I’ll wait for a heavy price drop like I did for Resonance of Fate. Thank you.

          • DesmaX

            Yeah, it’s best to just do that

    • Joshua Myers

      Yea took a break from it while i wait for this to be fixed and dlcs to hit XD

    • http://twitter.com/puchixseda puchinri

      I feel like their translations have been progressively lazy, so it’s disturbing that they’re getting such problems too.

  • Demeanor

    This is one series I really can’t get into, even as a jrpg harcore fan.
    Speaking of the 1st game, I don’t like the SD proportions, the overly long and repetitive team atk animations, the simplistic effect and animations for attacks, the characters (like arrogant ChouChou or mindless slave Ryuto), the excruciating loading times, the strange way classes work (why do I create a gunner and a fighter without an ounce of explanation and end up with two identical chars in underwear?), the moe system that rarely works, the pinball crystals… etc etc, given, I haven’t gotten too far into the game, but there’s just TOO MUCH stuff that irks me.

    • otakumike

      agreed, one of the few games i’ve completely given up on.

    • Scourge626

      Worst part about this game is that it has a great foundation but cares far too much about pandering to the audience to notice all of the other problems.

  • http://playstationallstars.wikia.com/wiki/PlayStation_All-Stars_Wiki Sackchief

    Yeah, all I want to know is if this is better than the last or not. The “problems” listed are really typical of CH games.

    • Warboss Aohd

      typical?

      a problem should not be typical, it should be fixed with the next game or in a patch.

      • Hound

        Bethesda does just fine by ignoring this logic.

        • Scourge626

          That’s cause someone else fixes their problems for them.

        • Aspenharls

          Yes, but Bethesda can pretty much print money at this point.

        • Warboss Aohd

          perhaps, but they patch alot of it out, and by virtue of a PC release, people mod what they don’t fix back out.

          But the REAL draw for PC gamers with Bethesda games are the modding anyway, as Bethesda gives them free reign to go insane with it.

          This game doesn’t allow for this.

          Again, Bethesda gets awau with this because they patch their games frequently, allow modding……….also like Aspenharis says they print money.

          Compile Heart does not have that luxury clearly, so they need to get their crap together and fix it.

  • Shippoyasha

    This game actually is more visual novel than strategy game I feel. So one needs to expect that going in.

  • Ethan_Twain

    Hater

    • https://twitter.com/DocFishz Jack

      u wan go a round m8 ill rekt u scrub

      • M’iau M’iaut

        If you guys ever want to really hate some truly crappy lollie stuff — I can point ya in the right direction. Just can’t link it here. :P Long live the tweet!

        Let’s just say I know of (and might have) titles even JAST pulled from the market… :P

  • Duo Maxwell

    How was the frame rate of this game? The previous one hurts my head with its horrible frame rate and loading time, and I consider myself an easy going guy with such thing.

    • BUG

      Load times are nearly instant unless it’s 3D cutscenes. Frame is probably 30 FPS which is much better than the first game.

      The framerate in the original Mugen Souls was awful and the load times were long but that’s been fixed in Mugen Souls Z.

      • Duo Maxwell

        Sweet. I think I will consider this one in my purchase list.

        Thank, man.

  • $51888021

    I’m lucky enough to have a buddy who who buys a lot of these kinds of games when they come out, and I’ll check them out sometimes when we hang out at his place. I played this game on his save for a little while last Friday, and… yeah, man, it was kinda crummy. Afterward, I had the same general feelings towards it that I did when I played Conception 2: “These guys had a bunch of neat ideas for cute characters and story/premise gimmicks, but almost no vision for making a good video game.”

    Haha. I know one of you guys who writes for the site (I think maybe it was even you, Jack?) was worried that you were all starting to come off as a bunch of haters, writing about each of the recent stream of mediocre/crummy “otaku games” coming out in the west. For what it’s worth, I just wanted to say that you aren’t the crazy ones here. A lot of these games are really quite lame, and I’m glad you aren’t pulling punches or projecting extreme bias in any specific direction when you write these. Thanks~!

    From what I’ve seen, Akiba’s Trip 2 actually looks like it’ll be pretty darn fun, so at least you guys can look forward to that, right? ( `‿°)

    • Scourge626

      Can’t really see these guys as haters. They thoroughly explain why they have a problem with these games without going into the obvious sexual objectification and perversions rants that others go into and express legitimate disappointment for what could’ve been a good game if the developers actually cared to make a good game instead of selling otaku bait.

      • Shippoyasha

        I don’t see why being otaku game is a negative though. There are plenty of otaku games that are really well made. I still expect them to flesh out the game no matter its appeal is. Because it definitely can be done.

        I still think Conception 2 is pretty decent. At least it is a huge leap above Conception 1. I suppose a lot of these dating sim style games wants to add more game styles to justify a console release.

        • $51888021

          Being an otaku game totally isn’t a bad thing. It’s the practice of selling video games based almost entirely on those merits alone that results in things like this.

          The problem is that a lot (not all, but certainly a lot) of these developers and publishers don’t think they have to flesh out, expand, or improve the game beyond the most basic requirements because people will buy it for the moe and whatnot anyway. Hence, use of the term “otaku bait”

          • Shippoyasha

            I guess Compile Heart is strange that way, because I do feel they are pretty earnest game creators despite cashing in at times. Not to mention they are consistently a bottom of the barrel budget studio and can constantly bust out these releases. I feel the few really serious games they attempted were really good and they have it in themselves to make great games.

            As a bit of a CH fan, I’m not the biggest fan of Mugen Souls, though it’s cute, light fun that likely should have tried to be more visual novel than strategy. That being said, it is still an improvement over the first game with the gameplay mechanic, so maybe they can keep improving on that front as well.

            Also, maybe they can lessen the number of releases in a given year, considering they make as many as 8 games a year, which is a huge workload for such a small time company.

          • $51888021

            >“I do feel they are pretty earnest game creators”

            I can kind of agree with you there. They really might be able to put out something nice if they had the time and resources to do so, but that brings us to the next point:

            >“they are consistently a bottom of the barrel budget studio”

            >“Also, maybe they can lessen the number of releases in a given year”

            See what you did there? It’s kind of sad, but that’s the sort of vicious cycle you can end up in as a lower-tier developer. Your games don’t sell well because they don’t take many creative risks, the competition is too great, and you have to churn them out ASAP just to keep your business afloat. But then you can’t take risks or use time/resources to make genuinely better games because you have no money and can’t afford to fail. I suppose that brings us back to the main topic of using moe as an overly prevalent safety net for sales, ultimately resulting in even less time being spent on designing and balancing the game mechanics, and so… here we are. Mugen Souls Z.

          • darke

            Yeah. That’s always the feeling I get with CH games. To harp on about Conception again, as I play I can see little things where they’ve had enough time to half-implement something, but not had enough time/money to completely integrate it, or add the extra bit of polish.

            Their console-only release thing is definitely something that’s frustrating as a result; on the PC you’d have fans dropping in and fixing the models, or altering the GUI to show what’s needed, but console only? You’re screwed.

          • Shippoyasha

            To give them credit, at least their games ARE improving, even though they could afford to do more even still. It’s interesting to see Mugen Souls delve into the strategy RPG genre, though it’s arguably a lot more difficult to nail down than their more traditional JRPG, card and Wizardry style games they have.

            Also, I don’t think it’s fair to knock them for being moe centric. It works for them, they’re comfortable with it and the fans do expect it. If they were to just drop all moe out of their games, then they just won’t be Compile Heart.

            I think it’s more that they release games way too fast instead of letting them germinate. Then again, maybe their method of madness actually works, considering other game companies are in full lockdown emergency mode. At the very least, I wouldn’t want them to sit on the development of a game for an eternity like Square Enix does.

            Maybe they can find a release schedule more like a Tales series to really make each game pack a punch. But again, maybe the fast paced release simply works for them. A method to their madness.

          • Scourge626

            Compile Heart will stay afloat as long as their parent company, Idea Factory, doesn’t go under. And Compile Heart wasn’t always moe centric. They became that way because it’s a sure sell.

          • Shippoyasha

            What they are doing now is still a huge step up from doing very low budget anime tie-ins though. Moe or no, at least what CH is doing (funded by Idea Factory) is their own work.

          • Scourge626

            They can do as much of their own work as they want, just make it good and fun.

          • Shippoyasha

            That’s the thing. I think they are good and fun. Maybe not exactly ‘great’, but a lot of their new games and collaborations are pretty good. I’m not even disagreeing that they can get better.

          • Scourge626

            And that’s where we disagree. I don’t think their games are good or fun (save the first Agarest Wars and that was barely passable).

          • Shippoyasha

            I played almost all of their recent games and they are legitimately very good to me. Their collaborations with other studios are particularly good as standalones/new-franchises. Mind you, some are just straight imports because I was tired of all the censorship garbage.

        • darke

          I’m really enjoying Conception 2, but I guess unlike the reviewers I have the chance to play it in more measured doses. A bit on the way to work, a bit during lunch, a bit going home (maybe an hour or so a day total?), maybe a couple of hours on the weekend.

          It’s an exceptionally nice filler game when I’ve got a free 10-15 minutes or so. If I were min-maxing it or grinding it for hours at a time I’d be bored silly with it, probably like a lot of the supposedly ‘better’ console RPGs I’ve never finished. :)

        • Scourge626

          It becomes a negative when the rest of the game isn’t good. If the gameplay, graphics, etc. suffer and the only halfway decent parts that have any effort put into them are the tropes, comedy, and dialogue then you might as well just make this an anime cause your wasting my time otherwise. I’m not gonna play a 70+ hour RPG where the exploration, fighting, etc. is filler for jokes, dialogue that go on way too long, and anime tropes, jokes, and scenes that I’ve seen a million times over. Instead of releasing 5-7+ games a year, Compile Heart needs to focus their efforts, money, manpower, and resources on 2-3 games so they can bump up the graphics (they don’t have to be AAA), make worlds worth exploring, create enemies where we have to use their otherwise unnecessary battle system, edit their story more so it’s can be nonsensically funny and not nonsensically asinine (something that could easily be fixed by tightening the dialogue).

          • Shippoyasha

            Dang,ease up on the tropes word. That word is about to die now because it’s being used as a negative too often these days. It’s just meant to be something that indicates a trend, not a slur or an innate negative.

            And I don’t see what’s so bad about the kind of lighthearted story Compile Heart is good at. Besides the cutesiness, the core plots can actually be pretty well made. Mugen Souls’ visual novel style may get a tad long, but it’s an endearing enough story. With a bit more effort, it has a room to grow. Stuff like Neptunia legitimately has a pretty witty dialogue and plot as well. There’s a ton of CH collaborations the past year which all had a lot of endearing, cute qualities with their plot and writing on top of the moe and fanservice. I think it just stands out in this game since the visual novel length clashes with the strategy part. Otherwise, they are better at the writing than they are given credit for, I believe. Especially when so much of their content is comedy based, they don’t get the respect they deserve.

            I don’t even disagree with you that they could maybe have a few less games and really amp up the production values. Though a lot of their games are really standing on their own these days. It’s not like a few years ago where their games were on feeble legs. And to be frank, Mugen Souls is likely one of their weakest franchises (though still fun if one wants a cute visual novel + strategy game). But even this franchise actually improved quite a bit over the last one.

          • Scourge626

            Tropes are a negative when that’s all you do. If you create something and it can’t go beyond a trope, cliche, archetype, etc. then your doing something wrong. Even if it’s a self aware comedy.

            I have to disagree that Compile Heart is good at light hearted stories. They do a lot of them, but the bulk of them aren’t good. They have a good or workable premise, but that’s as far as they get or are willing to go. And I agree, if they put a lot more effort into it, these guys could make really good games. I’ve seen these guys go from crap-tacular to bearable, but then slip to mind numbingly stupid and come back up a bit to “well at least they are trying…I think”. And have to again disagree with Neptunia having good dialogue. Yes, these games are a lot like visual novels, but dear god it feels like each conversation has no foreseeable end to them. They just keep going in an attempt to make sure you understand what they are saying or to make sure you understand their jokes (and in the immortal words of the Joker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ddp1pf_MB8 ). A lot of the dialogue goes nowhere and again the game’s plot was interesting but the game does nothing to keep up that interest (or at least my interest and the interest of other people who tried the game and disliked it). Worlds that aren’t worth exploring, characters that never go beyond classic anime archetypes, etc. And there’s even an art to comedy that these guys just aren’t getting. Admittedly, they do better with each game, but the improvements they make are small and something that could have been easily dealt with had they put more time into it.

          • Shippoyasha

            Not all of their games have lengthy visual novel elements quite like Mugen Souls have though. So it’s not really fair to say all of their games are like this. Not to mention they are experimenting a lot with a whole bunch of genres so that’s probably why they seem to make small steps instead of big leaps with some of their lesser franchises.

            I don’t quite see their ‘trope’ as limiting though. That is their forte more than anything. They can get better within what they do best, not overextend themselves into something totally different and get burned for it. I think what they’re doing is largely admirable when working with the moe archetype. I don’t think stuff like in Neptune is constantly explaining themselves as they play out more like slice of life stories. Maybe they can make more pure visual novels if they are an easier sell, but I think they struck a good balance now.

            And a lot of CH’s collaborations with other studios are pretty robust too. And they don’t have very lengthy cutscenes. Not to mention they are a lot more open to experimentation than they are given credit, considering the company is actually constantly trying new types of games such as roguelikes and idol managing.

            Like I said, it’d be nice if they try to make some more mass appeal games too. But it’s not something they *must* do. They shouldn’t be forced to change merely to do so. Especially not putting all their eggs in the basket like many bigger companies have found out, is extremely risky these days.

          • Scourge626

            Was only talking about Mugen Souls when it came to lengthy dialogues, but a lot of their recent games did the same now that I think about it (all of the Agarest Wars and Hyper Dimension Neptunia series). Again though, they don’t go further with their tropes. They use everything that’s been done with them; that’s not experimenting that’s laziness. And they do explain themselves too much. I’ve seen plenty slice of life anime and they don’t go into that much detail of everything they do. And they are trying new stuff, and good for them. Doesn’t change the fact that they force too much of the anime bait into the game that they forget about the other parts. And I’m not saying they should go for mass appeal, I’m just saying make a good game. Easier said than done, but these guys try to accomplish too much with too little and they do this purposefully so I have no sympathy or admiration for them.

          • Shippoyasha

            The anime appeal is just what they do though. They can’t suddenly make a huge leap without burning both their fans and potential new audiences. They are trying something with Fairy Fencer F and maybe they will keep evolving for broader audiences. They already are with their core games (again, slowly, which is a valid complaint).

            The thing that’s admirable about them is that they at least have a steady release for a lot of different games (other than Neptunia which they are making a lot of spinoffs) now. Even with their spinoffs, their workload is pretty good, especially when other studios basically are sitting on their properties, doing nothing for a decade (Konami, Capcom, Sega, etc). I guess this is just what smaller developers do, sticking with their proven niche.

            I guess CH just has a target on its back because it’s the one studio that has its games localized almost everywhere. Even the localization of CH games are usually pretty solid (disregarding the censorship debacle of a few of its games). While it seems not many other games gets localized. CH doesn’t hold a monopoly on moe/erotic games either. There’s some pretty great games out there that never had the chance to be localized. Not to mention there’s a lot of non-moe/sexual games not making it.

          • Scourge626

            They jumped on the anime bandwagon. Looking at some of their older games there didn’t seem to be a lot of anime inspiration. Again, I don’t care for them getting a wider audience (if they do then cool), but what I want is for them to make good games. A lot of their games I and other people would play if they were just well made. There is improvement but a lot of their changes are things that are standard in other RPGs. Which is kinda weird considering they draw heavy influences from Disgaea but avoided a lot of the things they did right.

            I don’t find their steady releases admirable so much as crazy. Sure, a lot of experimentation goes on with the new types of games they make and what they do in them but during those experiments they forget about what they are trying and go for what they know. And sure they stick with their franchises now, but for how long? It took Konami, Sega, and Capcom years to stop using a lot of their established franchises.

            CH has a target on it’s back because they’ve made their selves known with Hyperdimension Neptunia (something a lot of people wanted to like because of the premise alone) and Record of Agarest Wars (remember their special edition box?).

      • Spicydicey

        Out of interest,why would it diminish their argument if they talked about obvious sexual objectification and perversions rants?

        • Scourge626

          Cause that’s pretty much their only argument. They have other complaints, but it feels like they don’t care about those so much as the sexual objections and perversions. Sure those can be legitimate complaints (and are for the most part), but that doesn’t really tell me anything else about the game.

    • http://twitter.com/puchixseda puchinri

      I appreciate how honest they are too. There’s a difference between being frank and being biased/a hater.

      Your description/feeling on Conception 2 sounds really well put though, and I’m going to remember that way of describing it.

    • Juan Andrés Valencia

      The problem is that “otaku games” aside from being flawed conceptually is that they are also poor representations of the JRPG/Visual Novel genre so of course it only fuels the idea that JRPG’s are stagnating so they have to infuse moe infested characters and plot, fan service and insanely overconvoluted mechanics to sell and stay alive. Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 and Record Of Agarest War 2 are the only two games that I can consider good (Even if the minigames in Agarest War 2 and some of the dialogue and sequences in Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 make me cringe).

      And yeah, there seem to be a decent array of anime inspired games coming soon like Akiba’s Trip 2 and Senran Kagura: Shinobi Versus which actually seem to be pretty fun and technically competent as well.

      • Shippoyasha

        To be fair, devs like Compile Heart was never meant to be a mainstream company to begin with. They may have gotten popular enough to become a bit more mainstream in Japan, but they were always meant to be an otaku/niche gaming studio.

        I don’t think any ‘stagnation’ is because of what CH is doing. It’s that there doesn’t seem to be any money for big console, major dev house release these days. While a few like Square Enix, Atlus and Namco Bandai can splurge a bit on world-release RPGs. While we see nobody else really release anything (especially outside Japan). CH is basically one of the few companies to regularly release games to a world wide audience, so maybe people get a skewed perspective about JRPGs. Some megahits like God Eater and Phantasy Star Online not coming out world wide is a mystery as well.

        And I don’t consider ‘moe’ a fundamental issue personally. That’s kind of CH’s niche and they are frankly pretty good at what they do. They just need to ground it all with solid gameplay and I feel they are hitting the right notes more than not these days. Not to mention they actually have gotten quite far since only making anime-tie in games.

        I just think Compile Heart gets a lot of flack for being a solid niche producer.

        Maybe if they hunkered down to make an epic of a JRPG, I actually think they can pull it off. But it means pulling them out of the otaku gaming niche that has served them so well (arguably having them stay alive in the anemic market). Perhaps they can mix up the offerings if they’re more comfortable doing mass market appeal games. At least they are kind of aiming for that with Fairy Fencer F.

      • Ladius

        To be honest, I think it makes little sense to criticize those games just because some people wrongly assume they represent their whole genres. They are niche games made for a niche audience, and if someone thinks they are huge sellers, or that every jrpg series is like them, then it’s just a matter of politely correcting them, since factually speaking this kind of titles are niche even in Japan, let alone in the western markets.

        Hoping for them to disappear just to silence that kind of criticism, though, would actually make the jrpg scene less diverse for those who like to explore all it has to offer. Compile Heart has also shown they are able to improve their series (like with Neptunia Mk2, Victory and Re;Birth compared to the first HDN, or with Agarest Zero and 2 etc) and create new IPs that are actually well received, like Fairy Fencer F or Monster Monpiece (which, surprisingly, seems to be a nice TCG regardless of fanservice), not to mention how they’ve been working with other developers like Sting or Zerodiv.

        Gameplay mechanics in their games aren’t really more convoluted compared to other niche jrpgs, either, and it’s a bit strange to see people hating on series like Neptunia while being fine with the Senran Kagura games, since Burst (haven’t played Versus yet) was just as niche and low budget as most games developed by Compile Heart, with the same mix of visual novel events and gameplay and heavy assets recycling. To be honest, Senran Kagura also seemed a bit more serious and less self-aware than games like Neptunia or Mugen Souls, even if that may change in Versus.

  • http://denpanosekai.blogspot.com denpanosekai

    First Limited Edition from NISA I skip in a long time. Glad I did.

  • Luis Es.

    I really enjoy this series. I don’t care about the story. The characters have some entertaining dialogue sometimes.. But for me this game like the Disgaea series is all about getting stupid strong and doing the post game content. Since there aren’t really any games like this other then disgaea i really like this game and series. Yes it has its problems but nothing that big.

    • BUG

      Agree with you there, I actually never watched the story and I mostly played the JP version but skipped everything to get to the fun stuff post game. That’s when you could actually have fun with battles, do some insane damage and use everything you got.

      I would say the same for the English version after it has been patched though.

      Edit: I’m not recommending this for anyone but I really like this game personally.

    • https://twitter.com/DocFishz Jack

      Yeah, honestly I think that’s where the game would really shine. I liked how many options the battle system gives you and I imagine the post-game lets you take advantage of them more. It’s a shame that the main game leading up to it feels kind of superfluous if the post-game is the real meat of the experience. I suppose that’s actually not too different from Pokemon games for many people though, haha.

      • Luis Es.

        Well i think the game was designed with making the post game the main thing because it is a bit time consuming getting to that point and i think most people would get bored of the grind so that’s why they have the story there that you can just get through without much effort if you want to while still getting the basic mechanics of the battle/item system

    • Shady Shariest

      Yupo! Disgaea’s do have good writing and characters…
      …But yeah. Powerleveling!

  • NicheGamer

    I’m of two minds on this series, while playing the original I couldn’t help but feel bothered by the amount of “inspiration” CH took from the Disgaea series. From the mechanical similarities of having you build characters to absurd heights to straight up getting the same composer and artist. There were also the massive technical deficiencies and the general lack of polish that stood out as well.

    But at the same time I think they did a respectable job at translating many of the systems from Disgaea a SRPG into a more standard RPG experience. The Mugen Field being a fast paced version of the Item World. The use of team attacks and crystals that create battle conditions reminiscent of Geo Panels. Even the destruction of said crystals being able to put you in more advantageous positions. Its unfortunate that they kept the overabundance of these crystals in the sequel though (from what I’ve heard), since the sheer number of them on the battle field made them more of distraction than actual important factor on the battlefield. I found the sense of humor to be enjoyable enough to keep me entertained despite some pacing issues.

    Overall I felt they may have bitten off more they could chew, but find the first game to be enjoyable enough that I’m at least be interested in checking out what the sequels improved on, which I’ve heard are fairly significant.

  • http://twitter.com/puchixseda puchinri

    I still haven’t played the first but really want to play both. And this is also one of those things where some of the pandering is kind of icky, but if you’re going to be so over the top and silly, it definitely pays off to overdo it and indulge to the fullest!

    Hopefully I can pick both up soon and try them myself~.

    • http://burnpsy.wordpress.com/ burnpsy

      As someone who’s enjoying the second game… don’t bother with the first. The first is absolutely terrible, and there are subtle improvements in Z to make it less aggravating.

      I tell people the same thing about Neptunia, actually. It seems Compile Heart sucks at first installments (even if neither was intended to become a series).

      • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

        At least Neptunia is finally getting that upgraded version of the first game over here.

      • http://twitter.com/puchixseda puchinri

        Oh man, serious? 0v0;

        Thanks for that! Even though I’ll probably give it a try eventually, I’m definitely not worried about giving it a shot now. x’D

  • Slickyslacker

    It doesn’t sound that unbearable. I mean, it’s probably better than Disgaea, albeit still unimpressive.

    Not at all something I’d spend my time on, but the Mugen Souls duology seem like some of Compile Heart’s better products. Maybe Omega Quintet or Destroyer Trillion will deliver more.

    …and I might just import Planet Destroyer Black Heart, because I’ve never played a Neptunia game.

  • Learii

    I hope this game sold good =x

  • TiamatNM

    Good playtest Jack thanks for the read =)

  • Kayriss Wins

    I never get tired of the jump voice overs in HDN: Victory and I played that game in english!

  • AceXSyrmafan24

    I am Stuck on Fake Tioni

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