Much like when Nippon Ichi released Disgaea THEN La Pucelle in America, despite them coming out in reverse in Japan, Chantelise was released AFTER Recettear in America…and sadly doesn’t quite live up to the fun, strange, engrossing quirkiness of such. Even if you really, really loved Recettear, I simply cannot recommend this title.
Available For: PC
Publisher(s): Carpe Fulgur, EasyGameStation
Release Date: 2011
Archetype(s): Action, Adventure, Platformer, RPG
The indie scene is quite a popular place these days. It often reminds me of independent films; sometimes they’re not quite as good as big budget titles, but often if the director’s heart’s in the right place (or in this case the developer’s), the result is a lot of clever features, quirks, artistic style, incredible story, and whatever else that really wins us over.
Now, I’m not citing anything you don’t already know, but unfortunately for a lot of us, we’re very quick to buy something that’s anywhere between $1 – $30 as long as it has a big “indie” sticker slapped on it, as if it’s a gift from the gods. “Well, they’re poor little indie developers, so it doesn’t matter if it’s just okay because they’re doing their best.”
Unfortunately, sometimes their best just isn’t good enough, making it not worth the purchase price. And again, a lot of us would STILL justify this by saying “it’s only X dollars.” No, if it’s not a good game, it doesn’t matter what the price is; you still got ripped off. Enter Chantelise, a game for purchase on Steam right now from the makers of the immensely popular but still somewhat underrated Recettear.
“Capitalism, ho!” Ah, Recette…you crack me up.
What Chantelise is trying to be is basically a dungeon crawler, but then, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever Chantelise is trying to be it’s obviously failing at, unless it’s trying to be a failed idea, then it’s totally succeeding. Let’s get the positive out of the way first…the game is funny. Yes, the same localization from Recettear rears it’s hilarious ass yet again for an amusing translation.
And that’s it. Oh, I’m digging the art style, as usual, but somehow this game comes off looking rather shoddy because of the texture quality and depth when in motion. The stills are still nice and the music is passable, but nearly every other feature of the game is crappy or just plain misguided. You don’t play as an item shop owner this time around.
Instead you play as Elise, a girl wielding a sword when it’s never explained why she’s wielding a sword, where she learned how, etc. You might think I’m overthinking this, but here’s the deal: the story up to this point was two girls are walking in a forest, BAM, spell…WE START GAEM NOWZ. That’s it. There’s no real backstory as far as I can tell either.
This picture tells you everything you need to know about this game. Now you don’t have to buy it. You’re welcome.
It starts rather abruptly and forces you into several tutorials that are made slightly less boring by the dialogue, but boring all the same. The controls are simple, yet a bit whacked. The camera is positioned in a way that you really have no peripheral vision whatsoever and you can’t zoom in, out, or pan. The camera control isn’t much better with it only offering the ability to lock on to a target or turn left and right.
Locking onto the enemy you want is a chore and getting the lock on feature to go away is an even bigger one. THESE ARE THINGS THAT WERE RESOLVED BACK 10 YEARS AGO IN YE OLDEN DAYS OF ZELDA 64. Oh, but it gets worse. In order to progress in a dungeon, you have to kill all the enemies. All the bland fucking enemies, some with some serious bullshit attacks and defensive stuffs.
And of course there’s jumping, which means terrible bullshit platforming. In Zelda 64 (which I will be mentioning a lot) this was handled easily by having bunny hops and hoisting, meaning there was technically platforming, but not on a grand scale and it was usually pretty obvious where you could (should) hop to in order to progress.
Did you really need more convincing? Really?
But here? It looks worse than Xenogears and the platforming is just as bad (you gotta admit, it was pretty grainy and the platforming sections were bullshit despite it being an otherwise awesome title). This is only amplified by the fact that pickups are few and far between, you wear down your HP quickly, bosses are total bullshit, and the only one thing it does right is it allows you to run past enemies to the next area if you’ve cleared them out before.
Items are ridiculously overpriced and yet you’ll absolutely fucking need them. Game over isn’t that big of a deal as it just warps you back to town with no apparent penalty other than having to trek through the dungeon again, which is more a chore than a penalty. The combat is bland and uninteresting and sadly, despite the awesome localization, so are the characters along with being relatively unforgettable.
It almost feels like they knew the game wasn’t that good, so they tried too hard in the localization department, so you become resistant to what SHOULD be humorous, because you’re not really having fun playing it. And really, I’ve had enough of talking about this.
There are very few saving graces within this title and they aren’t nearly powerful enough to sway my opinion further. This is an utter disappointment because as simple and fun as Recettear is, this one is such a disaster it makes me question what their future titles will hold. One thing’s for sure…I definitely won’t be pre-ordering them ever again.
Since I cannot recommend this title, if you really must have it, scout it out yourself!