I have no idea if I will actually finish this game. From what I’ve heard, it only takes about 15 hours to complete the main story, so there’s a good chance that I will. But the fact that I’m asking myself this question only two hours into the game is probably saying a LOT by itself. Curious? Read on.
First of all, the characters aren’t likable. The story revolves around Toki, a princess whose fiance gets murdered on her wedding day. So she goes back in time in an attempt to prevent this from happening. Residing in the same body as Toki is another spirit named Towa. In typical anime style, one of them (Toki) is innocent, sweet, and naive while the other (Towa) has a more masculine and “tsundere”-type personality. The fiance (whose name came up as Zack when I was given the option to name him) is pretty lame. Again, his character type is pretty typical. He’s a pretty pathetic excuse of a man who is easily bullied by the women around him. He spends most of his time thinking about girls and their physical attributes and while he seems to be devoted to Toki, he’s constantly fantasizing about every other young or attractive female that he sees. The other characters all seem to fall (too) perfectly into anime character stereotypes. For example, Wedi, the wedding planner (seriously!), wears glasses, has big breasts, and is constantly tripping and falling down.
Second, the voice acting is TERRIBLE. When given a choice, I ALWAYS play Japanese games with the original Japanese dialog. There are two reasons for this. One, since I understand Japanese fairly well without the need for subtitles, hearing the original dialog allows me to grasp the nuances of the conversations. Japanese is a very nuanced language and sometimes simply replacing one word with another word that means the same thing results in a completely different meaning. Two, most English voice acting is horrible. In this game, the Japanese voice acting is also horrible. While I AM getting a more nuanced picture of the relationships between the characters, the voice acting is just as cringe-worthy as the English.
There are some silly and amusing quests and NPC’s. For example, I had to do a fetch quest for an old eccentric named Schrodinger. He had a box. With a cat. Or not. He rhetorically asked me what would happen if we put ANOTHER cat into the box.
The battle system is simple to use while still allowing the player to be reactive to what’s going on. It is possible to guard, dodge, range and melee attack, and perform special skills. As is my habit, when I was given the choice of Easy or Normal, I put the game on Easy. When I’m playing story-based games, I don’t like the game play to get in the way of the story.
Seems More Bad Than Good, Right? So What’s the Problem?
Well, I wonder if it’s SUPPOSED to be bad. The game clearly isn’t taking itself seriously with its overly stereotyped characters and ridiculously silly quests. And as of this moment, I’m REALLY ENJOYING it. It’s so bad that I’m amused by it. We’ll see if that feeling lasts, though. It’s possible that it will get old very quickly. That’s why I’m not sure if I’ll actually finish the game.
So if you’re into JRPG’s and are curious about this game, unless what I just described sounds enjoyable to you, I’d pass and pick up Tales of Xillia instead. (I’ll be playing that next.) After a quick Google search about the game in Japanese, I was unable to determine how this game was received in Japan. Famitsu gave it a 32 out of 40 and according to their site, it has an average rating of 61 (which is at least better than the 40 it has on Metacritic). In any case, I’ll let you know if I end up playing through the whole thing.