9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A SRPG that falls short,
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This review is from: Mugen Souls (PS3) (Video Game)
NIS America publish games that reside in the niche spectrum of the jrpg genre and Mugen Souls is no exception. The Ateiler and Disgaea series are for me some of the best NIS has to offer and Mugen is similar in some ways.
The story is typical bonkers barmy stuff, conveyed through still or barely animated portraits and perky voice acting. There is plenty of humour throughout ranging from slapstick silly, Benny Hill sauce and occasionally surprisingly subtle comment. The gameplay is focused on a turn based combat that is loaded with rules and conditions and takes a few hundred tutorials to explain. Much of your time is spent grinding levels and acclimatising yourself to the multi layered combat and battling random dungeons so you can level some more and grab some rare loot. So far so NIS America.
The game falls short with presentation along with one of the key game mechanics that is simply awful. Graphics are never a major factor for these games; you're either onboard for the grindy gameplay or not. There is no way to 'kind of' like these games. The graphics though are not just simplistic but squint inducing. Everything is blurred with a framerate that barely drags itself through sparsely detailed levels.
In combat, once more of the game elements come into play (one involves a snooker type strategy of bouncing enemies off each other, allies or crystals) it just becomes a smudged mess, a tussle with the camera in trying to find the best view, figure out what you're looking at through the haze of bright colours and then dragging a cursor over the screen to find out what different combat status effects are in play.
Added to this is the 'Moe Kill', a way of recruiting enemies that is flat out meaningless. Basically your main character changes to a form that a creature finds appealing - this is simple and obvious- and then from a given list you pick three keywords that will make them fall in love, give you an item or buff its health and stats making it harder to kill. What keywords will work is also dependent on its mood and makes no sense at all. Without using an online guide i could never have figured out that a 'Hyper' creature who was Joyful needed me to choose - 'Desperate, Crybaby or Glare' to get it to jump on board, whilst if i had chosen 'Smile' it would have freaked out.
Getting some good loot from a creature requires you to choose a form linked to its own whilst its opposite will make it frenzy. Again without a guide i would have been lost and even with one it is just not a fun gameplay device, yet it is a required constant throughout the game.
The jerky framerate, crowded and blurred combat screens make this a game i struggle to sit through. If you are looking for a deep and heavy strategy jrpg then Mugen Souls has the content and more than enough rules and elements to figure out but there are far better options out there. Disgaea 3 or 4, Agarest War, Cross Edge and the Ateiler games are a few.