Lovers of rarities and very Japanese games should take a look at the new production of Aquaplus for PS4 and PS Vita. This is what Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception offers us, the new installment of a saga not too well known in our lands.
As a veteran player, there comes a time when you try to try almost anything that goes on the market, whatever the type. And, like everything else in this life, you discover from titles at all appealing to others who manage to arouse your interest. Fortunately, this work by Aquaplus (I’m going to save myself from capturing his name as much as possible because it costs me horrors not to be wrong) I include it in the second of the bags, being a title as strange as it is quite interesting as long as you adapt to it.
The latter is important to keep in mind since it is clear that we are not facing a massive work that will please and attract all types of users. Rather the opposite. In fact, I think it is necessary to start by making it clear that it is a game that has not been translated into our language (the texts are in English ) and, given its importance, those who do not defend themselves well with that language will have serious problems to follow the evolution of the adventure.
Dialogues and conversations are our daily bread that takes place in Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. Something normal considering that we are facing a full-fledged visual novel where the talks between the various protagonists that shape the plot are almost constant. And because of this, the pace at which everything happens is very, very slow for obvious reasons.
Therefore the story acquires a transcendental and fundamental role in this case, a plot that starts very much to the Japanese. The central character, Haku, is in a borderline situation and almost without clothes, disoriented … and, of course, with amnesia. To save his skin from certain death, Kuon comes into action, the young woman on duty with whom he establishes a very particular friendship that develops as we progress.
Together they will meet new characters (Nekone, Mario, etc.) while touring the Yamato Empire, a place in the middle of the war that will provide us with quite interesting situations and experiences. A well-taken plot that, by the way, will have continuity in the sequel Mask of Truth, a title that will not take long to appear (it will do so in September if nothing strange happens).
Dialogues, eroticism and turn-based battles
In my opinion, what marks the differences between this visual novel and the vast majority of those we can find in PS4 and PS Vita has to do with an important factor: the battles. Do you fight in a visual novel? Effectively. And not precisely basic as far as its dynamics are concerned since these contests take place in turns and offer us a total TRPG context.
As if it were (saving the distances, eye) of a Fire Emblem when it comes time to fight the 3D scenario that hosts the corresponding confrontation is divided into grids by which we must move to our units. Without being the deepest in the world, this system offers us many variations and possibilities, including certain QTE mechanics that reward synchronization: if we are able to press a button at the moment in which we are going to impact the opponent, we will cause it more than hurt. Come on, as in the Paper Mario, for example.
Its plot, fundamental, starts very much to the Japanese
In fact and since I personally like role-playing games, this addition has seemed very successful … at least in part. Yes, because although the fighting is very enjoyable and, again, they have enough crumb, unfortunately, their level of challenge is rather low … and, also, the frequency with which they are noticed is more tenuous than I would have liked, especially at the beginning (later things are encouraged a little more).
Nor do I want to mention another important aspect that the game shows, very Japanese: eroticism. On more than one occasion we can contemplate illustrations and scenes in which some of the protagonists and characters that will appear in the adventure are light clothes. It’s not about anything too “serious2 and, in fact, in most situations, humor is well present. It’s one more element that holds the title, neither more nor less.
All this results in an adventure that takes place as a rule at a very leisurely pace, something logical within its genre. The battles encourage things more, but, as they happen in turns, it is not that they offer us a hurricane of emotion and frenzy precisely. This new installment of Utawarerumono (in the end I wrote it) is not about that. It is a visual novel with certain added elements that bring freshness and variety. But nothing more … not less.
Reviewing its graphic finish, it is a very grateful title within what it proposes. And it is thanks to a proper aesthetic, very manganite with medieval and natural elements on the stages, to which a remarkable color is added. It’s nothing from the other world, but it’s far-reaching.
The sound is at a higher level and each scene (whether static or animated) is set correctly with a large number of sound effects, excellent dialogues in Japanese and a pretty good soundtrack.
Aquaplus has created a very curious work, which offers us a very Japanese script full of monsters, beautiful girls and a number of problems that increase in quantity and complexity as the story unfolds. The language can be a definitive barrier for some users because the game is completely in Japanese (voices) and English (texts), but the truth is that if you like this kind of proposals so niche, this work will end up hooking you because it offers a quality notably in several of its most important aspects.
- Something typical but interesting story
- Turn fighting adds a lot of grace to the whole
- Great Japanese dubbing and remarkable soundtrack
- The general difficulty level is quite low.
- We miss a greater presence of clashes