Mugen Souls Z Review: fun combat wrapped around a convoluted mess of a story
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Mugen Souls Z is a fun RPG that doesn't try to be serious. As such, it leaves the storyline convoluted, messy, and boring to sit through. If you have the patience to get through it though, then the combat system, character customization and all the extra goodies more than make up for it.
- The fact it's not afraid to be different, and pushing societal buttons with its cast
- Deep character customization
- You have your own Gundam!
- The convoluted, boring story that is little more than banter
- The seemingly recycled environments from previous Compile Hearts games
Combat itself is quite fun, and helps alleviate the boredom produced from the story. Four characters can be used at a time, with others in the reserves that can be called in to replace deceased units. It is your typical turn-based affair but with extra elements on the field. One of those elements is the orbs that add buffs or debuffs to any unit within its radius, thus changing a battle completely each and every time. In addition, there are special kinds of moves, like ‘blast-off,' which allow you to knock the enemy around the battlefield like a pinball, hitting other enemies and orbs.
Outside of the main story, the side-quests help make use of those combat elements. There is a Challenge World, testing the player’s skill at using combat mechanics, such as utilizing blast-off to pull off specific goals. Another is the Mugen Field, which is like a gauntlet. Betting mugen points, you fight wave after wave of enemies, with rest stops after so many fights. The more you bet, the stronger the enemies and the further you can fight. Sometimes that gauntlet forces you to use your own special Gundam, again changing up the pacing of battle into a one-on-one rock-paper-scissors kind of affair.
The music in the game is better than most in my experience. Inside combat I was enjoying listening to the score, and it got me pumped up to want to brawl with foes, and get into combat as much as possible. Outside of combat the aural presentation has a more cheery, non-serious NIS style of vibe. That is okay, though, because the entire game does not take itself seriously, so thematically there is no problem to it, as opposed to if it had a serious narrative like Mass Effect.
Sadly, Mugen Souls Z's visuals are not as strong as they could have been, and the design of enemies falters due to that. It feels like a copy and paste of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, as the battlefields, enemies, and backdrops all look similar. Are they a total copy? Obviously not, but any fan would notice the similarities. As such, this poses two questions to those who played Neptunia. If you liked it, then it won’t be a major problem. If you didn’t like that game, then the similarities will be disheartening.
Mugen Souls Z is a game for those who just want to have fun. If you’re hypersensitive about issues revolving around sexuality then this game will just cause so many rage triggers that Tumbler will explode. While the story is a mess and uninteresting, the combat system and all the little extras make up for it. Compile Heart fans will have no problem getting into it, but those needing an RPG story to wow them and change their world view will not get what they are looking for.
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