Mugen Souls is an incredibly interesting video game, in every sense of the word. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to think of another game that’s like Mugen Souls, it’s literally that strange. As I neared the end of my time with the title and approached this review, I had a bit of a hard time trying to formulate what I thought of the game into words.
It’s not that I thought the game was terrible, as the majority of people that reviewed the game though. I actually, for the most part, liked my time with the game. It’s just that it was so different it was hard to review it like I normally do for other games.
I think it’s because this game is Japanese, through and through. Straight up, it’s probably one of the most Japanese JRPG’s I have ever played, complete with scantily clad, underage looking girls, humor that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense sometimes (at least to us Westerners) and ridiculously long and detailed battle scenes.
I think that those reasons are why I liked this game as much as I did. The JRPG genre is an acquired taste. If you don’t go into a game like Mugen Souls knowing it’s going to be offensive (due to the above mentioned scantily clad, underage looking girls and strangely sexual sense of humor) and full of stuff considered odd to western gamers, like this delightful dance.[youtube id=”77Hwxr9iBJc” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Then you will be in for a rude awakening. I guarantee if you don’t come into this game with an open mind, you will be offended. It’s just how it goes. However, if you’re willing to think outside the box and look at Mugen Souls knowing that it’s unlike anything western gamers have likely played, you’re in for a bit of a treat (even if only for the sake of playing something different).
Okay, let’s get into the actual details of the game.
As I mentioned above, Mugen Souls is a JRPG where you play as Chou-Chou, the undisputed god who is bent on conquering the seven different worlds and making everyone her peon (kind of like a servant that’s obsessed and infatuated with her). She has the power to change her form to better suit the personalities of those she wishes to make her peon based on what kind of female they find attractive (sadists, klutzes, graceful girls, etc.)
If the story sounds silly, you’re right. It is incredibly silly. One thing I appreciated about it though, was that it never took itself too seriously. Sure, the dialogue was sophomoric and full of sexual undertones, but it’s supposed to be that way. I also appreciated how often the dialogue made me genuinely laugh, from a gaming standpoint. For instance, early on in the game, when Chou-Chou is trying to conquer the first world, she comes across a hero who is like the stereotypical male RPG gamer. He makes a girl wear nothing but a bikini and when she expresses the fact she doesn’t feel comfortable wearing just a bikini, he mentions that only the hero of the party has control over what clothing and armor the people in his party wears.
As a gamer that frequently plays RPGs…that made me chuckle. I mean, who knows how many hours I have sat, customizing the armor of my party members in, for example, Dragon Age Origins. The dialogue in Mugen Souls is full of funny little observations like that that only RPG gamers will understand and appreciate.
I don’t know, maybe I’m immature for laughing at stuff like that, but whatever. That’s the way JRPGs are and I play games for enjoyment. I knew what I was getting into when I sat down to review the game.
Another thing I appreciated about this game was the depth of the combat systems. There was a ton of different ways to battle that broke up the monotony that usually comes with turn-based battle systems. For instance, there is a feature called blast off, which allows you to bounce enemies off of each other and the environment to increase damage.
There’s also the ability to link attacks. So, say you want to attack a monster and you have two other members of your party near you, you can combine all three of your strengths together and unleash a super attack for additional damage. When combined with the blast off feature I mentioned above, battling can get pretty fun.
The one gripe that I had about the battling was the Moe Kill feature. This is basically the method with which you convert monsters to peons in battle. It involves choosing phrases that you think will please your foe based on their mood and personality type. You can help sway the peon turning in your favor by switching forms to a type that turns whatever monster you’re fighting on based on their personality type (for instance, switching to sadist for those that have the sadist personality).
I found this battle feature cumbersome and not well thought out. Sometimes, it seemed like no matter what personality traits my foe had, if I picked a matching phrase or even one that I thought went with it (for instance, picking to strike someone who is a sadist) it wouldn’t work. You have to find that fine balance between personality and mood and frankly, I felt as if the game handled it in an unnecessarily hard way.
Overall: I don’t know what exactly to say about this game, really. I mean, it’s clearly not for everyone. If you don’t walk into it knowing that some of the things inside may be considered offensive and that it should be taken for what it is: a weird a** JRPG, then you won’t have fun. However, if you’re an open minded gamer who’s not put off by strange, immature, often times sexual humor, then you may very well have a good time with Mugen Souls. Plus, if you’re able to look past the humor, you find that Mugen Souls is a surprisingly deep and long RPG with tons of customization options, a decent battle system and a fun, silly story. What more could you want?