Ray Gigant is the second of the two Experience Inc titles to come to the west in as many weeks and is a shining light of hope after the disappointing Stranger of Sword City. Coming from Acttil this time around, Ray Gigant is definitely one of the stronger titles from Experience Inc and might even be one of the best games its in genre!
Ray Gigant follows a humanity that’s left fighting for its survival after mysterious and fearsome monsters known as Gigants suddenly appeared and ravaged some of the world. Military forces around the world tried in vain to stop these terrifying monsters but a single teen in Japan, Ichiya Amakaze, somehow manages to take down a colossal Gigant that had decimated most of Tokyo. How did Amakaze manage to defeat something that an entire Military could not? A mysterious power known as Yorigami, unfortunately, this wasn’t a conscious effort on his part but the result of losing control and rampaging. Nonetheless, Tokyo was saved but the threat still exists and Amakaze along with other Yorigami users now fight against the Gigants trying to protect what they have left and bring peace back to the world.
Of the Experience Inc titles I’ve played so far, I definitely feel Ray Gigant has the best story going. There’s an actual sense of threat constantly looming that the other titles never had. That feeling is essential to telling a compelling story and one that people will want to see through till the end. The story also delves into some of humanity’s ugly sides with Yorigami users from other countries getting in our team’s way. Looking to give them a better chance at survival these other countries look for any opportunity to better prepare themselves even if it’s at the expense of others. Humanity’s selfishness is a very real theme within the game but it becomes clear that humanity needs to work together if they want to bring peace back to their planet and defeat the Gigant.
I’ve become a huge fan of dungeon-crawlers in recent years and Ray Gigant has given me everything I’d want from a dungeon-crawler and more. As with most dungeon-crawlers, you’ll spend a lot of time exploring dungeons. Enemies in this game appear on the map and are set in fixed positions; they are denoted by skulls in three different colours. Their colour doesn’t necessarily represent how strong that enemy will be but rather how much action points (AP) will cost. Yellow enemies are normal, blue gives you a reduced cost on AP and red enemies will cost a lot more. Walking into an enemy will immediately initiate the battle.
Battles are turn-based, but not in the normal sense; instead of one action per character or enemies, you can attack multiple times within a turn. At the beginning of your turn you have a set amount of action points, usually, 100, which you can use to perform a range of different attacks across all three members of your party with up to five actions per character. Be careful though, use all your AP in one turn and you’ll only recover a portion for your next turn. This even carries over into the next battle, you can regain AP each and at the end of battle depending on how well you performed. This is where picking which enemies to fight can have a big impact on your ability to survive in dungeons. Red enemies will make you use up a lot more AP per move than normal battles which makes them considerably harder. Yellow is normal so you shouldn’t face many difficulties but depending on the number and strength of those enemies things could get tricky. If you’re low on AP blue enemies are a blessing as they allow you to attack with a reduced cost in AP which means you can clean these up fairly quickly and rack up bonus AP at the end of battle.
Characters can equip up to three abilities at first but you’ll soon unlock the option to have different sets that you can switch in ability giving you a greater range of attack etc. at your disposal. During battle the leader of the party can trigger the special power of their Yorigami known as SBM when the counter reaches 50 or 100. The higher the number the longer the SBM both have their uses in different situations. When triggered you enter a rhythm mini-game, stringing together a long combo will allow you to inflict more damage upon your enemies. As you battle naturally another counter continues to rise and once it’s been activated you’ll enter a state called Parasitism. This’ll then start to use your HP instead of AP to attack, once it has activated though it can be reset by winning the next battle just be wary of which enemy you take on.
Apart from being a dungeon-crawler, the thing that attracted me to Ray Gigant was the visuals; the character artwork and the post-apocalyptic style looks great. As with most Experience Inc games, Ray Gigant is heavily anime-styled but it’s not as clean-cut as some of the others. That’s not a bad thing, Ray Gigant has real charm and its characters feel a lot more lifelike that previous titles. The 3D dungeon designs, as you’d expect, aren’t the highlight of the game but do the job. The real joy is in the character sprites during battle, no longer are our heroes hidden away but actually on screen and in full motion except for attacks which is a shame but still a joy nonetheless. There’s no doubt that Ray Gigant is a very visually attractive game which only adds to its already huge appeal.
Japanese voice over only here, to be expected, but they do a brilliant job at bringing the lively cast to life. Ray Gigant, to my surprise, features a fantastic soundtrack, I don’t know why I expected a plain and unforgettable soundtrack but thankfully we don’t have that here. Each theme is a real pleasure to listen to and its make traversing endless dungeon a lot more enjoyable being accompanied by some awesome tracks.
Ray Gigant is easily my favourite Experience Inc title and quite possibly my favourite dungeon-crawler RPG so far, a huge thank you to Acttil for bringing it to the west. Ray Gigant managed to excel in so many areas from plot, gameplay, visuals and sound which I find is a rare thing these days. If you’re a fan of dungeon-crawling RPG or just looking for a new title to try out on the Vita then Ray Gigant needs to be high on your list.