Platinum Games and Nude Maker’s latest game, Infinite Space, is a sci-fi DS RPG based thematically off a novel by Arthur C. Clarke named Childhood’s End. The game has been granted a grand 9/9/8/8 score from Famitsu, although, it has fared worse in the eyes of both Western and Eastern reviewers in general.
Although not many reviews have been published as of this feature, in the West, opinions seem divided regarding the game’s user interface and the way in which it presents you with information. While one site praised the intuitive controls, citing them taking full use of the touch screen, another felt that, overall, the game felt clunky and never clearly pointed out to you what you needed to do to proceed. Due to the game being presented like a visual novel — unsurprising, given that the developer is Nude Maker — one site in particular had trouble wrapping its head around why you couldn’t control characters directly.
Ultimately, so far, the reviews all agree that the story is one of the game’s best traits, although it takes a while to get off the ground.
The two most controversial areas seem to be the battleship modification and the overall battle system. All agreed that the modification was immensely fun, especially given the sheer range of options allowed -– you do everything from upgrading engines to adding laboratories for research or enlarging the cafeteria to keep up ship morale, and then there are the battle-related modifications such as adding armor and weaponry. Adding yet another layer of customization, around 200 characters can join you on your quest, and you can assign them to various positions around your ship, which range from artillery chief to cook. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a janitor job too.)
However, some argued that while customizing was fun, the battles, which is what you’re ultimately customizing for, were a drag. Another complaint was that, despite the claim that you can assign all sorts of jobs to them, each individual character has a specialization, so assigning them to any other job would be silly. p>
Over in Japan, Amazon user reviews gave the game a weighted average of 3.6. Japanese consumers that bought the game almost unanimously agree that it isn’t for everyone, and that the controls are hard to use because it’s very detailed. Clicking just a little too high might end up with you pressing the wrong button. Also, no guidance is given during the course of the game, and it isn’t always clear what you’re doing, exactly. For example, including a certain crew member as opposed to someone else doesn’t seem to reflect all too much in the battles in the end, and you can’t tell the effects of equipping an armor or leveling up a piece of armor. In short, issues with the UI.
All agree that the story is very dense and arguably the best aspect of the game. The only problem some seemed to have with it is that text is presented in a strange combination of hiragana and kanji, such that complicated jargon is written in kanji, but simple words (which would usually be in kanji) are written in hiragana, giving the game an odd feel.
Regarding the battles, some were able to cope with them, while others found them amazingly tiring. Every battle requires you to plan your moves (or not, according to some…); even the small skirmishes, so running into several battles in one round-trip across the galaxy may indeed be exhausting. The game also involves human-to-human battles, which are more or less rock-paper-scissors, which most reviewers found monotonous.
Some complained about the graphics as well, stating that they looked like they were from 15 years ago. As an aside, one review in particular commented that the game would probably have worked better on a console, due to the sheer amount of content within.
So Deep…! (5 stars)
I cleared the game in a week, with 46 hours…
Personally, I found it very interesting. I think those who like sci-fi and space operas will like this game a lot. Someone else wrote about this, but I don’t think it’s a game for everyone…
- It’s true there are many appearing characters and ships, but it was too bad that there were a few characters where their levels were lower than those of the characters I already had when they first appeared so I never used them once.
- Sometimes, the event picture shown was too random, and sometimes when it was supposed to be serious, it was funny instead…
- Managing the ship is an extremely detailed process, so if you play without reading anything, it may be a difficult game. They skip out on giving you everything you need, and there’s a lack of information that about where to go next.
I’ve also seen many reviews on how annoying the battles were, but I feel that if you get used to it, it’s really fun when you can customize your ships and special attacks to change the tide of the battles.
I’m really glad the story was dense. I was always hurriedly playing on forwards to figure out what was going to happen next. Your friends and those you worked with may die in battle, and then there are the Allied Forces and the Empire1… I feel like I’ve seen these titles somewhere before…
2. Legend of the Galactic Heroes or Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu is a series of science fiction novels by Yoshiki Tanaka that has been adapted into a series of manga and anime, as well as a few movies on the side.
A God for Me Personally (5 stars)
Everyone’s review of the game was bad, so I was debating whether to buy the game or not, but when I saw that the ships had grades assigned to them, I felt a surge of nostalgia and bought it. (laughs)
I only played 30 hours of the game, but I already feel like it’s the best. I’ve underestimated the Nintendo DS. I never knew there was such an addicting game. I’ve grown to like Infinite Space an absurd amount, and I couldn’t understand where everyone’s critical reviews were coming from. If one were to say, "a hidden great piece of work," it would be this game.
It’s true that the detailed parts aren’t very user-friendly, and there are times where your goal or destination aren’t very clear, and I won’t deny that there were some impatient parts. However, that might just be because people are too used to the simple games of current times.
The story starts out about a small skirmish between two countries. However, eventually the story expands into a grand tale that involves the galaxy. Rare to the Nintendo DS, there are also parts where characters will die heroic deaths and others will die in horrible fashions. From such a view, I will suggest Infinite Space to:
If you like the ship battles in Star Wars, just go buy the damn thing already!! (laughs) It’s a game for only certain people, but in the end, I’m really glad I got it.
A Bit Unrefined, but it’s Very Interesting (4 stars)
With a relatively unfriendly system, controls that are hard to use if you’re not used to them, battleship customization that could’ve done with just a bit more work, and words that were probably in hiragana for capacity reasons, among other things, there are quite a few unrefined parts in this game, so I can understand why it is harshly criticized, but even so, I feel this was a moving, ambitious game that was done so well with such a small team.
In the beginning, there are only a few ship battles, so it may be a bit simple and monotonous, but starting from the middle of the game all the way to the end, more ships are unlocked and the story gathers steam as well, making it all the more fun.
The battles aren’t as bad as everyone says they are. You can equip various cannons onto your ship, and if you adjust the trajectory of all the cannons of your army to hit the enemy’s ships and volley, you can do huge damage, but that comes with the danger of being hit by your opponent’s volley as well. The heavy artillery ships have large cannons that can only be fired at close-range, and then there are also the long-range small cannons where you need as much distance as possible, so you need to take into account your and the opponent’s range before setting the distances.
In these battles, the action gauge fills in realtime, and as you use powerful volleys, normal-strength volleys, evasive maneuvers, and special abilities, this gauge depletes, so, with your opponent’s range in mind, you try to get as much in range as you can with your own cannons, fire, and then keep or increase the distance between you and the opponent based on how much gauge it has left, and sometimes the perfect strategy for the job is to just abandon all evasions and concentrate all of your gauge on an all-out attack.
I’m sure there are many people who understand only a little even having looked at the official website, so I tried to describe it in-depth. When you buy the game, the tutorial isn’t very user-friendly. Because of that, it may be hard to understand what’s going on, so make sure to read the manual thoroughly.
This game is only for some people, but if you like sci-fi, it’s definitely worth buying. At the very least, I spent three weeks enjoying it.
If you have the patience to endure the beginning, you’ll just find yourself getting addicted to the game. If a sequel comes out and some aspects of it get changed for the better, I’m sure it would be a godly game.
It’s a Game that Really Identifies With Your Hobbies? (4 stars)
Currently I’m a light player who hasn’t played anything other than DS games, so I’ve only played RPG’s like DQ, FF:CC, Genso Suikoden Tierkreis, and Tales. A sci-fi space opera game like this is a complete first for me.
The system is indeed, as everyone wrote, very far from “comfortable” and “easy to understand.” I, too, was anxious about the system itself, so I felt like I wanted to save frequently.
And also, like everyone has written, so I may not have to say this, but it’s kind of amazing how they mixed the kanji and hiragana together. I often had to pause and think just what word they were using. This may only be because I’m a light player who has no experience with sci-fi games at all, but after playing the game, those in the know will probably find all sorts of cracks in it.
Even so, I gave it the ridiculously high rating of 4☆ because … I can’t really explain it, but it was because it was a mysterious game that made me want to keep playing it after I finished it in two weeks even with all the problems.
The story, the characters, and the world, as a whole, created this feeling of romance that stirred up my imagination. It was a game with a strange charm to it that just sucked me in. It may be hard to follow or have lots of problems, like everyone’s written, but I definitely suggest this game for girls. Even though I’m female, there were all these charismatic characters, and the thrilling story just kept building up more and more. I found it all very enjoyable. (I especially fell in love with the last part where the unfolding of everything one after another made it so I couldn’t breath properly)
Also, I think those who like men in the army will like this. (laughs)
The characters and country set-ups are all very detailed. I would like to one day see a compilation book someday of this. That is all for today.
It’s a bit… (2 stars)
I finished the game in 40 hours.
I feel like the game’s balance is bad. From beginning to end, you’re always running out of money, and if you relax just a little, you’ll instantly get a game over. On top of that, a roundtrip has you exterminate pirates x100, which is a bit…
(If you up the encounter rate in config, it’ll be easier … but the number of battles still won’t change…)
If you turn auto-save on, the save time becomes longer than the game time, destroying the game…but if you don’t, and leave it off, then the moment you relax, you’ll find you’ve wasted 1-2 hours… Even if you save frequently, you can still get instant Game Overs in areas where you can’t really save, which is a bit…
It’s rare for games nowadays to have so many places where a player’s choice can get you an instant game over, but, as I wrote above, it’s pretty harsh because of the long delay with auto-saving.
They didn’t have to stick with having auto-save data on the freakishly slow memory card, I feel. (Couldn’t they have made it so that you just continue from the nearest port?)
It’s true that the Tetris-like customization is interesting, but I wish I had twice as many weapons and ship types…
On that point, even if there’s nothing you can do but go on round trips to pick up the strongest weapons or to transfer, but it’s pretty tiring to go back and forth down the same route with the same enemies with no changes whatsoever.
The bosses in the last half of the game gather as many ships as they can, and then they get into point-blank range and dodge everything. Having them win like this is a bit…
The story and the overall volume is good, but one area is small, simple, and easy to get tired of. The title movie and ending song aren’t necessary. I wish they would’ve spent the space and capacity they did on that on the game’s contents instead.
People who should’ve died appear in sub-events. You heal during battles but don’t while cruising. Lv4 and Lv10 armor have the same change in abilities, yet the difference in price is…
The incompletely parts are that and more…
It’s too bad the game wasn’t better.
A Disappointment and Horrible Game (1 star)
I bought the game based off the atmosphere from the commercial. But, what the hell is this…?
Even though it has parts of an RPG (like leveling up by gaining experience), it isn’t an RPG.
They made us use the touchpen, but there’s no intuitive feel to it at all. Truthfully, it’s tiring. Even the simple words are shown in Hiragana, making us feel like the game was directed towards children, but the jargon used is oddly something a fan would use, and they’re kind of outdated. It feels like they’re stroking their ego, going,“Isn’t it awesome to use words like this?”
It’s hard to move the map, and there’s a lot of restrictions which is irritating. The battles are basically watching the shabby polygonal battleships move back and forth and continuing to fire through all the tricks your opponents pull, and the human battles are strangely rock-paper-scissors-based.
Who was the idiot that said a slice-attack is stronger than shooting?
The graphics feel like they’re from 15 years ago. I honestly felt that was impossible. Actually, it’s pretty funny.
Overall, I can’t tell whether this game was aimed at children or adults because it tries to do both. The producer sucks. Although the title is good.
This, along with Fragile on the Wii, are my nominations for the Biggest Disappointments in Games of 2009 Awards.