Friday, 31 January 2014
Otaku Review: Criminal Girls (PsP)
EDIT: We now have a review for Criminal Girls Invitation [HERE]
The premise of the game tasks you as a warden in hell assigned to a group of female criminals who have been given a chance to redeem themselves and earn a second chance at life by battling against the many enemies that inhabit the tower you must climb. Whether these girls make it to the top of the tower and return to life is largely up to you! The story is a little more interesting than you would believe, with the amusement of Miu (You're superior officer) turning up occasionally to give you a smack. The girls themselves all play a part and each one has enough individuality about them that you'll no doubt settle on a favourite or 2. We also have an added bonus of multiple endings! The girls all ended up in hell for one reason or another, as you'll find out as you make your way through the story, but they are not the most obedient of party members to start off with. This is where the much maligned punishment aspect comes in. Managing the girls and keeping them in line as you continue to climb the tower is vital. The 'Punishment' aspect is actually a lot more tepid than you think, if you was to go off the mainstream press reaction to it. It is basically a set of "mini-games" You can choose to play them whenever you go a Save point, which also acts as a shop & rest point with which to heal your wounds, and choose "Punish". The first one you'll use for example is a basic timing mini-game, though there are 5 games in total that unlock as you progress. An icon will pass over your character icon in the corner and you have to time the push of the button perfectly to maximise your score. Higher score equals more XP towards your characters skill level. That's it. That's the extent of 'whipping' the girls in the first mimi-game. Hitting small icons in corners, so risque (see the first screenshot) Each character has their own skill tree with which to level up this way though, and with a party totalling 9 there's much to do with this somewhat novel system of increasing the characters skills. The girls are also unique in their abilities as each could be regarded as a different 'class' (for example Alice could be regarded as a 'Black Mage' due to her powerful attacking magic and weak physical stats) meaning you'll be switching up your party often to suit your needs. The game features all the usual tropes of your typical Jrpg once you factor in the dungeon crawling structure of the overall game that its a shame it doesn't try to offer much above the standard fare considering its setting, aside from the novel levelling up system. Replayability is surprisingly high though. With a few endings to play for & only being able to choose a singular character to act as your knight in the final battle, multiple playthroughs will be needed to see everything on offer (There's also a hidden dungeon once the game is done) A first time playthrough will set you back about 25-30 hours, which is not too bad at all. Once you've done a playthrough & got a feel for the game the time decreases so multiple playthroughs isn't too taxing. So we have an interesting setting, novel levelling system, dungeon crawling structure & decent replayability. Not too bad so far then.
With the 'Punishment' aspect being more tepid than led to believe, what we're left with is a standard RPG with a couple of novel ideas. Its accessible combat & novel levelling system allow it to elevate beyond average obscurity, but almost everything else comes across as standard. The cute characters & interesting setting keeps things ticking over nicely though and fans of dungeon crawlers or niche JRPG offerings will find enough here to enjoy a playthrough or two due to its multiple endings. At least under all the maligned talk from the western press due to its content, there's actually a game here that's not too bad.
一 二 三 四 五 六/0000
Footnote: Ive enjoyed my playthrough, but then I enjoy quirky Jrpg's. There is no english patch though for those hoping otherwise. There's a few quides online that you could follow while playing to keep you in the loop. Thats if you try it anyway....