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Utawarerumono Mask of Truth Review

Utawarerumono Mask of Truth Review
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Game Name: utawarerumono: mask of truth
Platforms: Playstation 4 Playstation Vita
Publisher(s): [JP-Aquaplus] [NA-Atlus]
Developer(s): Aquaplus
Genre(s): Tactical RPG, Visual novel
Release Date: JP September 21, 2016 NA September 5, 2017
ESRB Rating: CERO-C ESRB-M for Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence

Utawarerumono is one of those series that became a huge hit in Japan but never graced us with its presence in the west. For most, their exposure was through a fan translation of the visual novel or from checking out the anime adaptations. It’s a series I hold in high regard having played the original, appreciating how could blend different gameplay elements but never feeling like a mess.

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth released in Japan a year apart from each other, acting as sequels to the original visual novel released back in 2002. I was excited when I heard Atlus announced they were localizing both entries for western audiences, marking the first time the series has ever been seen over here. I had heard great things about these games from those I knew who imported them, so I was more than ready to get my hands on it.

This game is a direct sequel to utawarerumono itsuwari no kamen which in turn is a sequel to the first utawarerumono game and playing the third game without
atleast watching the original games anime and playing itsuwari is a bad idea even though they do a small recap in the beginning torefresh our memory it doesn’t cover everything they expect you to know the ropes.

There is honestly not much to say about it without going into spoilers and such

If you want to get into this series I recommend starting with the PSP port or anime of the first game

then play itsuwari no kamen however I do not recommend only watching the anime seasons.
While the original anime adaptation of the first game is fine, itsuwari’s adaptation is an halfed
assed mess of fanservice which strays from its source material and skips out on more content
than its prequel adaptation though I have to add that after you have played itsuwari no kamen

the anime may be a nice extra but its not a replacement.

Even if you didn’t play itsuwari its still easy to get into hakuoro via itsuwari’s anime 

but if you wish to go deeper please play the original and itsuwari before hakuoro, trust me

by the end of this game you will feel rewarded for finishing it all the way. 

Since the Utaware duology is being localized the best way to enjoy the series is:
Utawarerumono anime + OVA’s > Mask of Deception> Futari no Hakuoro(Mask of Truth)

 



The cast of characters is a real highlight of the entire game. They’re all strong in their respects, presenting a well-rounded story that’s easy to get into and stay engaged for the entire ride – which is good since a lot of it is reading text. While the game only has Japanese audio, the voice cast is brilliant and helps carry the emotional rollercoaster the plot provides.

There are no weak links to speak of and they all fit naturally into their roles. It’s this alone that helped carry the narrative and kept me coming back for more. It also helps the localization is very strong (at least in my knowledge of the material), with plenty of charming and incredibly tense moments wrapped up in a downright gorgeous soundtrack.

Speaking of which, the look of the game sells it more than anything. All the character designs are pleasant for the eyes and make this an easy sell for any anime fan. It has a unique art style, blending high-quality 2D visual novel portraits with 3D isometric gameplay. Anyone who has played Tears to Tiara II may be familiar with this design.



Personally, I find it appealing, and it holds up well on the PS4. While it may not win any awards for the visuals, the emotive character models and the beautiful portraits were enough to draw me deep into the overall experience.

Another highlight is the fast-paced combat system. As a strategy RPG, it has all the important hallmarks of the genre. You start the battle by choosing which party members you would like to include and decide where they stand in the starting grid. You can take a look at their stats, make adjustments to their equipment (and costumes), and even see what the turn order would be in the first round. The last part is particularly helpful depending on the victory/defeat conditions of the encounter.

Otherwise, the flow of combat is as you’d expect. You move characters around a set grid that extend based on the stats of the party member. Each attack or skill comes with its own range of spaces needed to trigger the move. Once you’re immediately in range of an enemy, the game presents you with all the different abilities you can use. This helps speed up the flow of the encounter by not forcing you to stare at menus all day and makes for some exciting moments.

It also has a system like Lost Odyssey’s Aim Ring system called “action chains.” After starting your attack, a large circle appears around a much smaller one, compressing together as your character attacks. By timing the button press right when the two circles meet, you will deal critical damage.



You’re also granted an opportunity to rewind time in case you made a miscalculation, a handy feature that removes some of the frustration. You can go back as far as 50 turns and preview the state of your party during each turn. The only downside is you’re unable to go back to the point you were at before rewinding, but that is the trade-off. Otherwise, you’re not penalized.

While I talk a lot about the combat, there isn’t a lot of it to speak of. In the first 5 hours of the story, you’ll only get into a battle once or twice. Thankfully, as the game approaches its third act, you’ll be in far more encounters.

But don’t get too excited just yet because like I said before you will spend more time doing reading than in battle though it does get better later on and oh boy this game loves reinforcements to extend them.
Sadly there are no or barely any interesting mechanics in stages except for stage 16, good luck
trying to push him back and in my opinion its easier to defeat him!
Though post game does have one escape and defensive stage were things could get interesting!
That’s the sorta thing I wish was in the main story and not as an extra…
The mock battles are nice and are best to play along side the main story if you get
bored from reading and the game isn’t giving you battles, you could do it post gamefor more
variety of characters since every single playable character is available to the allied and enemy side
but keep in mind battles get longer and to get the trophy it become a pain.

Mikazuchi is so OP… but I still cry when they give me Itaku,  the poor boy is essentially
Maroro V.2 aka no special finisher and an unfinished move set.
I can’t even be bothered to train Itaku and max out his stats with BP…
You need to win it 20 times for a trophy… which does make it annoying but I guess 
the all loot trophy is way worse since you may need to do mugen-enbu multiple times.  
I originally forgot to mention this but Munechika’s trial is the best tutorial mode ever
esp if you aren’t sure how to trigger certain dual deathblows, which trial 16 teaches you.
Of course it also teaches you how to properly use characters and realize how broken they are.

Gotta say this game did have some epic battles in the story especially were Oshutoru(Haku)
and others uses their mask and the instrumental version of  Fuantei na Kamisama plays
which is so hype, I liked how we were able to play as Haku using the mask
but I don’t think the battles were thought out very well even tho its epic. -_-



The game like its prequel has a slow start, while the story is definitely there its often interrupted

for slice of life events since we must spend more time with the harem! no this still isn’t a galge…
because its obvious who really likes Oshutoru(Haku) the most which is Kuon
though it was kinda funny seeing all the girls fall for him all over again, lol.



Speaking of battles again, they’re good but still quite simple atleast in the first 20-30 hours and
you don’t get access to special moves that early either unless you like grind on past battles?
But why would you even grind? the game is easy enough the first time through!
The second half of the game becomes more interesting battle wise, esp near the end.
Postgame is were it actually becomes hard though which once again is a bit of a shame.



The story is good, this is clearly the end of the utawarerumono series the last bits
of the ending were really rewarding especially for a long time fan of this series.
The last parts of the game were super interesting things since the truth was revealed here
and honestly while I had some sympathy for the real bad guy he’s just such a shit lord! yes he
was that bad, much more than any other villain in this game and a sad past won’t save him.
He’s rotten to the core, pun intended. 
Second chances? sure but he blew it because also LOL @ his hobby, but this is all I’ll say.
Gotta say this game was incredibly draggy, there’s a clear plot as to fight Yamato and
restore the throne to its rightful heir but the actual plot doesn’t get started after that all happens
which isn’t untill at the 40 hours mark(give or take a few hours).
Still the villains are just plain annoying the writer sure knew how to make me hate them.
All in all it was a good game though despite my nagging its probably
the best game I’ve played this year based on story alone also the bias
for EruruxHakuoro is real yes they make an appearance and so does Urutorii.



Kuon is so badass, also the scene with the robot asking for a password was hilarious.

My female favorite characters in order: (*duology only, no returning characters)
Rurutie and Kuon > Nekone > Munechika > Anju > Fumiriru > Uryuu/Saryana >
Atui and Nosuri > Sinonon >Shisu.

Male favourites (*.)
Haku > Ougi and Mikazuchi > Kiuru > Itaku > Oshutoru/Ukon > Maroro > Yakutowaruto >
Yashima > Raikou > Wosis/Oushisu.

Rurutie and Kuon best girls next to Nekone, sorry if biased… lol.
Yakutowaruto is a decent unit but I barely used him, after I fully upgraded his BP stat
postgame he turned out to be such a well balanced unit but by then it was too late.
Also why was the need to keep Shinonon so close? I get that they could not leave her behind
but surely she could have stayed with oshutoru’s mom in ennakamui? maybe I forgot
the reason if so oh well but at the end of the game it was sort of weird.
Ougi is so great, I love his ability to nulify an attack if he has the energy! also  he’s such a siscon!
Well then we have Mikazuchi a badass and a great rival, who doesn’t like him!
Itaku is the typical childhoodfirend of Atui but I wish he wasn’t a Maroro v.2.

Utawarerumono is an amazing series, I loved it all the way to the end.



Also I can’t say its an easy game to localize there is lots of text graphics that need to be edited
into english… and let’s not start about the VN parts because oh boy its lots and lots of text
they even had to change some of the names like Yakutowaruto becoming jachwalt…
Yeah that clever but uh IDK about Rurutie becoming Rulutieh… seems like for some names
they just spoon feed us the pronunciation, which is fine but I am like sorry how about no.

Oh well, enjoy some more CG’s, I recommend Utawarerumono as a series but
I don’t recommend only playing itsuwari no kamen and futari no hakuoro.
Start all the way from the beginning please, its worth it.

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth was a pleasant ride from beginning to end. While the pacing can be off with how infrequent the combat is, the story more than makes up for it. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments intermingled with the dramatic punches found within. Combined with the excellent voice acting and the charming art design, and fans of this genre will discover a lot to fall in love with.



 

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