Utawarerumono: Mask Of Truth’s Battle System Is More Complex

By Jenni . September 12, 2017 . 12:00pm

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Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth are both primarily visual novels. From time to time, as the story requires, a battle will come up that lets you directly guide units through important altercations or major battles. In the first game, these fights can be rather rudimentary and simple. You have the option of enjoying harder versions of these fights to better improve characters, but there isn’t the same strategy and stress that comes from other, similar games. While Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is not going to tax people the way Disgaea or Fire Emblem games do, this latest installment makes marked improvements to the formula that make these fights far more enjoyable.

 

At its core, Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is a turn-based strategy game where units move on a grid and act according to their speed. Each map has an objective, sometimes tasking people with defeating all units, specific ones, or reaching a designated area. Characters have skills that can be used under the right conditions, as some abilities can’t be used after moving. If you are familiar with a strategy game, you can hit the ground running. Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception introduced a few unique elements to the formula. These are action chains, which let people deal multiple hits with attacks that can have added effects in the combo, and an Overzeal system, which causes characters to enter an enhanced state after performing enough action chains to fill a gauge and recover their status, remove action chain zeal cost, gain elemental affinity bonuses, and perform a Final Strike finishing move. These features mostly remain the same in Mask of Truth, albeit with a few touches to accommodate cooperative elements. People get 26 story battles and 20 post-game fights to go through.

 

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Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is a very character-driven game. In Mask of Deception, we were introduced to all of these people and saw how they bonded and interacted with one another. Some are siblings. There are master-servant relationships. Some characters are in various levels of the military, with one in charge of the other. Not to mention the friendships that form. The co-op attacks take this into account. The Co-op Chains are more informal. Any two characters can team up in this way, so long as they are near each other and an initiator. They do more damage than usual and cut through enemy skills.

 

It’s Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth’s Co-op Finals that are extra special. Like the standard Final Strikes, they require the initiating character to be in an Overzeal state and end up doing significant damage with a flashy animated segment accompanying it. The applicable partner character has to have the correct assist set and be within range of the enemy before the Overzeal character begins. What makes it stand out even more is that only specific characters can do these Co-op Finals together. It draws upon the lore the game is developing to make things happen. This means all of these pairings have deeper significance to them. Oshtor and Nekone are one, because Nekone is his “sister.” Oshtor and Kuon do as well, because of their relationship, and Oshtor and Uruuru and Saraana also do since they consider him their “master.” Kuon and Anju developed a bond of friendship in Mask of Deception, as did Kuon and Nekone, leading to Co-op Finals here. Munechika is Anju’s established guardian, so they have an attack. Nosuri and Ougi are siblings, which means they will work together. It really gets you thinking about how the characters interact and appreciate how much they obviously mean to each other.

 

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What I appreciated most about Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth’s battle systems are the Munechika’s Trials and Red vs. White fights. The former are stages you need to unlock and are always rewarding. These are designed to teach you how to play the game. You get items for completing them successfully and have opportunities to better yourself and your characters. It encourages you to level up characters and learn more about how it works. Red vs. White automatically decides teams from your characters and sends them off to fight one another. I think I would have appreciated this more if there was an actual need to really level grind in Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth. I mean, there are times where it can feel slightly more challenging and complex, but it still is not a really difficult game and there is no real need to level grind.

 

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth may not have the biggest focus on battles, but it does kick things up a notch from Mask of Deception. It plays upon the two games’ focus on character development and relationships by adding co-op attacks and specials that have people working together with greater results. And the supplemental battles do offer educational opportunities, as well as ones to improve the cast. It would have been nice if it offered more of a challenge, but the fights that are there really do help break up any monotonous moments.

 

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.


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