Mugen Souls Z is a Japanese role-playing game, and is the second instalment in the Mugen Souls series. You can tell from the opening movie of this game that it is VERY Japanese (not to step on the toes of a recent review of another very Japanese game): transforming robots, singing little girls, and incredibly bright flashing colours. The opening movie reminds me of the time I got lost in the woods and ate some mushrooms growing out of a dead badger’s spleen, and the fact that it plays every time you load up the game really doesn’t help my head. Although Mugen Souls Z is a sequel it doesn’t take long to get into the story as I quickly understood that the main aim of the game was to conquer the twelve worlds, so don’t be put off if you’re not familiar with the series.
My first impression when playing this game was how pretty it was. Although not usually a fan of the repetitive nature of RPGs, this game managed to maintain my attention due to the colourfulness and fun looking graphics. Another positive aspect is that all of the characters are appealing in their own ways, meaning that the visual novel-type segments of extended dialogue don’t become as boring as they would with a duller cast. However, at times it is hard to judge what the audience is for this game, due to the sexy anime girls being for the adults and the childish dialogue and voice acting being for younger kids – this is likely just another thing that one has to put down to “wacky Japan” and leave it at that. Fortunately the game’s quirky style and lack of an obvious target demographic didn’t put me off.
I was glad to see as soon as I started the game that it was dubbed in English, as if you are playing a game like this with a LOT of text then the last thing you want is to read for hours on end instead of playing a game. This is why it was so handy to have different people read for you in an array of voices, although I did find at times that certain jokes were dragged out which definitely soured my thoughts of the game. And fortunately for purists there is the option to turn on the original Japanese voices. The game’s story, somewhat surprisingly, managed to dodge the typical RPG trap of being full of overused videogame clichés – rather than saving the world you are trying to take it over!
Some gamers may find that there isn’t enough actual gameplay relative to the amount of visual novel segments in Mugen Souls Z, which would be a valid complaint. Although the gameplay comes in small doses it does provide enough complexity to entertain, with unique features like Charm Percentage (which is increased by the amount of little animals you collect) and Fetish Poses (a way to seduce enemies so that you can absorb them, and not as explicit as it sounds!). The only thing that could be considered a drag is when you have to level up due to a particular boss being too difficult, but that just comes with the territory when playing any sort of RPG.
Mugen Souls Z’s soundtrack is nicely suited to whatever the game’s atmosphere is at the time; whether it was a chilled everyday conversation or a pre-battle squabble with foes, the music always seemed to fit the mood. Something else that helped me a lot during the game was the auto text function during the visual novel segments which, if I was feeling tired or lazy, I could switch on and have a rest pressing the ‘X’ button repeatedly. I’d say if you’re an RPG fan who is also an avid watcher of anime then this game is right for you.
Despite the innocuous anime art style which looks designed for children there is a large amount of partial nudity, usually occurring in hot spring scenes, which may affect how much you enjoy the game (whether positively or negatively can be your secret!). I’m going to give Mugen Souls Z 7 out of 10 as it is a solidly good game, but didn’t do much to wow me.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
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