Review: Mugen Souls Z

Release Date
May20 2014 (US) ; May 23 2014 (EU)
PlayStation 3
Publisher / Developer
NISAmerica / Developer
ESRB Teen, PEGI 16, USK 12

Mugen Souls Z –sequel to the 2012 Mugen Souls, a Japanese Role Playing Game which continues where the previous game left off withLady Chou-Chou, ‘The Undisputed God’, having conquered the seven worlds, she now turns her attention to the twelve stars galaxy. The twelve stars are planets each with their own God, based on the twelve constellations found in the Zodiac.

When Lady Chou-Chou and party arrive on the first planet they meet the GodSyrma, who has just awoken from her slumber and is beginning her quest to absorb the other eleven Gods to form the one Ultimate God. Lady Chou-Chou although not one of the twelve gets pulled into Syrma’s coffin and absorbed, eventually emerging a lot smaller and with her powers gone. The player then takes the role of Syrmain Lady Chou-Chou’s stead, following her whims, you must conquer the twelve worlds while absorbing each of their Ultimate Gods in order to become the one Ultimate God and restore Lady Chou-Chou’s original form and power.

Mugen Souls Z is aimed at the anime and especially moe fans of the world. With a cast that can only be described as insanely cute, the game’s bright colour palette, and voluptuous chesticles bouncing around, the fun just never ends, or does it?

In the second of Lady Chou-Chou’s adventures, she is joined by a handful of new characters and plenty of returning characters, which in turn has led to endless dialogue scenes. These scenes seem to have been extended to accommodate everyone even when they serve no purpose to the story. This can leave you repeatedly tapping X to quickly skim through the conversation and on more than one occasion hitting skip to finally get to some action; it is no exaggeration to say that on average, a dialogue scene will take at least 20 minutes with about 5 minutes of gameplay as your reward.

The battle system is the real joy of the game, combining a traditional turn-based system with free-roaming maps and stat-boosting crystals, battles become tactical warfare – or they would, if it wasn’t quicker to just pound your enemies into the dust. While the battle system and world exploration are fun, they are riddled with annoying tutorials that pop up every few minutes. Aptly named ‘Overwhelming Tutorials’, they definitely overwhelm you with the sheer amount of them.

With each tutorial, a new function is added to the game and while a lot of these functions are interesting, there are just too many of them to remember and most lay unused and forgotten. It seems the creators of this game thought it was a good idea to try and include every feature under the sun from customizing weapons and armour, clothes that increase stats to using a hot spring and a combination of shampoos to give you stat boosts in the field. Even the ability to captivate enemies that turn them into peons or items.

While there may be tons of unnecessary features for stat-boosting and customising, there lies a solid RPG base underneath and conquering each world in turn delivers in the enjoyment department. Spaceship battles and the Mugen Field are a welcome change of pace in the game, because who doesn’t want to fight with transforming spaceships or battle their way through floors of enemies more akin to Sword Art Online’s Aincrad?

Spaceship battles take place using your G-castle which transforms into a giant robot, the battles can be great fun even though they don’t possess the same tactical style or challenge that normal battles do. In a very traditional turn-based style you only have four possible moves: a standard attack, a pierce attack, and two shields that can be used to absorb or convert attacks, making the battle very simple in appearance. Ultimately, however, battles come down to your ability to predict your enemies moves, as well as requiring a bit of luck.

The cast of Mugen Souls Z is moulded from every other moe archetype that you can imagine and although it is clear the game is aiming for satire, it feels more of a messy mash-up of mediocre. Players are graced with beautiful, eye-catching visuals which accompany the dialogue scenes nicely, if only the talking didn't go on as long and wasn't as pointless. The game's charm point is clearly the battle system with it's a unique take on the standard JRPG formula, however, the system has too many unnecessary features glued on to the edges for you to fully appreciate the original idea. If you're an anime fanatic or a lover of moe and the cliché of bathhouse scenes then this is the game for you. Mugen Souls Z is not a bad game but it does help to prove that "less is more".
Battle System
Cute Character Designs
Lengthy Dialogue
Too Many Features