What other game can you play as ridiculously big busted anime babes, Xenosaga’s KOS-MOS included, beating the hell out of robots with tons of over the top juggling combos and super combos with an emphasis on a hit multiplier and tag outs AND claim it’s an RPG? Seriously, if there’s an answer to that, I want to know. This game is addictive, fun, funny, and is a crossover that surprisingly works, even though the story is fairly unforgettable.
Available For: Nintendo DS
Developer(s): Banpresto, Monolith Soft
Publisher(s): Atlus, Namco Bandai Games
Release Date: 2009
Archetype(s): Action, Crossover, RPG
From its ridiculously long title, you may have guessed that this is a SUPER Japanese title and you’d be right. I’d love to just say it’s an incredible title and leave it at that, but that really wouldn’t be doing the game justice. So where to start with a game like this…well, let’s start with the story. It’s very not good. Now, I don’t mean the characters are bad or that there’s no plot at all. What I mean is the plot varies between generic and unfollowable to the point of being little more than background noise.
Granted, in a game like this, the plot doesn’t matter, but what they try to do with the plot doesn’t really work. The main reason I say the plot doesn’t matter is this is a crossover RPG, meaning characters from different franchises make appearances as well as a few fresh new characters. As a result, bizarre and nonsensical reasons are slapped together, for example, to explain finding Xenosaga’s KOS-MOS and then having her join your crusade.
It often doesn’t make any sense what the enemies are or why they’re even fighting you. The plot doesn’t do a good job of explaining boss encounters either, so often the story folds in on itself and becomes a mess. And yet, I claim none of that matters. Much like with Etrian Odyssey, yes, there’s a plot, but you won’t remember any of it and it absolutely does not matter because where the game thrives is from a technical angle.
In fact, I’d argue that the only negative aspect of the game is the plot. First off, you have some brilliant detailed and animated spritework. Second, you have some amazing music that’s catchy, gets you fired up, and is worth getting the OST for which, if you bought the game brand new like I did, you automatically have included. Where the game really thrives and is exciting is in combat. Most RPGs have a fairly simple and straightforward approach to combat which can get old, but at least is predictable in its traditionalism.
This game, however, opts to instead use a method similar to that used in Namco X Capcom. See, when you have a player take a turn in combat, you hit the action button and you begin a barrage of attacks that form a simple combo. This combo sends the enemy airborne and begins juggling them. With good timing, you can keep them in the air by streaming additional combos in. Oh, but it gets so much better.
As you wail on an enemy and prevent them from touching the ground (which can cancel your turn, multiplier, and lessen enemy damage), a limit gauge of sorts increases. When it hits maximum, you can tap into a super combo that absolutely annihilates the enemy, which is crucial in boss fights and otherwise long battles. Plus, you’re usually treated to ultra pervy boob jiggling and all kinds of flashy effects, so there is that.
You can also tag out with other allies in order to link turns together and keep the combos coming. This is especially crucial for “heavy” enemies. See, different enemies have different weight and initial defense values. When an enemy’s on the ground they have full defense. Sometimes it can be difficult to even get them airborne initially. Once they are airborne, obviously you want to keep them that way so you can deal out the maximum amount of possible damage, especially since tapping the floor even once could regain their solidified stance or cancel your turn and potentially result in a counter attack.
Keeping them airborne can be problematic, however, especially since certain enemies are heavier and require you to link combos quicker, thus cancelling combos earlier so you can link in combos that specialize in juggling. You can also rearrange how your combos work and in what order, so there’s a surprising amount of depth to this already frantic combat engine. All in all, the game rewards timely button presses and preparation for combat in the form of equipment and combo optimization and order.
One final thought and I’m out. So how can a game have great characters, but a terrible plot? Here’s the deal. The game has the characters spouting out hilarious dialogue on a regular basis, often making fun of their breast sizes, being perverted, or just plain being sarcastic. The different characters have different personalities, but all are fairly funny in their own right and just seem to work and fit well.
Again, the plot that brings these characters together varies between not making sense, being slapped together, or just being woefully generic, but the characters themselves are pretty great. It’s almost like having Morgan Freeman read a short story written by an underachieving 8 year old who slapped something together the night before. Sure, it’s voiced well, but the story’s crap all the same.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I highly recommend this game. Yes, the clerk will laugh when you ask him specifically if he has this game, but good goddamn is it fun. If you enjoy JRPGs or even action titles and love to see over the top flashy effects, this will immediately appeal to you. In fact, I can’t think of many people this wouldn’t appeal to. I guess if you adamantly hate RPGs that’s one thing, but I’d argue even those individuals would enjoy this title.