Anyone unfamiliar with the original Nintendo DS game of 2007 or the more current Japanese Anime cartoon around this franchise is going to be initially bewildered by this game.
It’s a brain-busting swell of hard-rocking 100mph soundtracks, colourful frantic visuals, self-obsessed storytelling and difficult-to-break references for the newcomer.
But underneath it all what we ultimately have is a very decent role-play game.
One that’s slotted deep within a graphic art-style modern Japan and filled with wild fights and a totally bonkers storyline.
Players take on the role of Rindo Kanade.
He’s a teen Shibuya resident who, along with his pal Fret, gets torn away from normal life to fight in a deadly game of psychic powers called the “Reaper’s Game” run by death’s reapers themselves.
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In a bit of a life and death World Cup, teams take to Toky-style streets to fight it out with special powers they garner through various pin badges.
The winners progress, the rest die.
You also have to complete little tasks and puzzles.
So early on, one game is to find four skulls hidden on a busy traffic interchange. It’s fairly rudimental stuff but the mix of challenges keep things interesting and help to break up the repetitive turn-based RPG attack system.
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As you’re on another psychic plane, you can also interact with some of the city’s denizens, listening to their thoughts.
It builds up a picture of a bustling metropolis with people of all persuasions and all kinds of personal problems.
The campaign is dense and full of backstory that will leave you baffled unless you’re all caught up on the original game.
That makes it difficult to penetrate if you’re new to the series and may well put off some gamers.
But the unique wild anime style of the visuals, combined with the speed of storytelling and full-on soundtrack is very appealing and addictive.
The gameplay is fun, slightly basic at points, but it will scratch that JRPG itch for gamers this summer.
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The frantic attack system as you lurch from shockwave strikes to time bombs to take out an opponent, teaming up with your buddies, is quite thrilling.
And linked attacks between characters really deliver the damage.
You’ll spend much of your time exploring the city, scanning for baddies to battle through your in-game phone, like an evil version of a Pokemon hunt.
And a win does get your fists pumping.
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But you’ll also be checking out eateries to boost your powers and tinker with the latest fashion trends to look cool.
It’s all a bit odd, but wonderfully Japanese.
And I found myself enjoy this crazy game the more I played it.
If you’re in the mood for something weird, different looking and of the RPG variety, give it a go.
For those wanting an easy, predictable game to settle into – ignore.
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