Citizens of Earth (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 27.02.2015 8

Review for Citizens of Earth on PlayStation 4

Admittedly, whenever there's a knock on the door from a prospective political candidate campaigning for an upcoming local election, the usual reaction is to keep quiet and feign an empty house. The few times this seemingly odd vetoing system has foregone, the result is ending up locked in a protracted, mundane conversation about the local bin collection times, the amount of dog dirt on the pavements or the worrying lack of iron gates on the back alley. There's a lot of insincerity, forced platitudes and both parties involved feel like the time could have been spent doing something a little more worthwhile. It's fair to say that if there is a politician charismatic or inspirational enough to coerce one into representing them in a series of confrontations then the paths are yet to cross. That said, it's hard to know how anybody would react to a home visit from the Vice President of the Earth himself during a full on charm offensive.

For those harbouring fantasies of being the one who knocks (no… not Walter White), Eden Industries' retro flavoured RPG Citizens of Earth, which was rescued from failed Kickstarter obscurity by Atlus, takes the newly elected 'Veep' on the mother of all recruitment drives. To be fair, the Vice President isn't big on boundaries and doesn't so much knock on doors as straight up barges into folks' homes, which would ordinarily lead to trouble, but thankfully the generally passive populace of his constituency seem willing to let it slide. Considering that the VP possesses a plastered on smile, a sharp suit and a fancy line in patter, the enlistment of the local rubes to the party should be as easy as taking candy from a baby, right? Well, not exactly.

All 40 recruitable citizens have a set of criteria to be fulfilled before they even consider pledging allegiance to the plucky VP, and while the majority of these tasks are relatively straightforward fetch quests, some will occasionally involve completing a mini-game to pass. One such mini-game involves an infuriating Dance Dance Revolution clone, which needs to be completed to recruit the Musician (Top Tip: don't attempt this after a few beers). Each recruit brings its own set of skills and talents to the party, which unsurprisingly range from useful to... err... useless. For example, enlisting the car salesman gives access to a car that will speed up travel around town; the homeless guy has the 'gift' of finding treasure in the trash; and the strongman can shift heavy rocks, enabling access to previously blocked off areas. Bizarrely, some of the characters' talents exist solely as a game function, which means having the school mascot on the team is the only way the player can change the difficulty on the fly. Likewise, the musician's loyalty brings with it the option to control the music settings.

Screenshot for Citizens of Earth on PlayStation 4

Being a smart politician involves utilising the available resources to take care of business, while at the same time maintaining enough distance to be able to walk away with an unsullied reputation. The Vice President is no chump and savvy to the game, which is why all citizens recruited to the cause get sent to the frontline to tackle the many agitators loitering around the world. Citizens of Earth sports a fairly robust, if uninspired, turn-based combat system, which sees our hero pick three recruits to accompany his investigations into the strange hometown occurrences, and take centre stage whenever conflict arises. Battles can take place with multiple enemies at once, and dependant on who the Vice Prez is rolling with, there will be options to heal, buff and de-buff allies, as well as attack selected enemies.

As expected, each participant has a health bar, which, when depleted, takes them out of the battle altogether, and three energy blocks, which can be expended on powerful attacks, but will charge up one block per turn with weaker attacks. Should all three members of the Vice President's team fall during a scrap then the battle is lost. Recruits will level up with continued usage, which in turn increases health, unlocks new attacks, and, by proxy, strengthens the VP's effectiveness against the opposition.

While it makes sense to methodically rotate the team to ensure an equal distribution of strength, the reality is that the higher level characters will get used the majority of the time, with the newer, lower level recruits only seeing action when the regulars get knocked out. Any health-depleted team members will stay down until either revived by another recruit with that particular skill (at the cost of a turn), or until the VP returns to a friendly bed, which will rejuvenate the entire collective entourage. There are consumable items that can be either found or bought around the world, which can have a variety of buffs or effects for the individuals that use them (providing the VP has recruited the appropriate person, some of these items can even be made).

Screenshot for Citizens of Earth on PlayStation 4

Citizens of Earth has a few issues holding it back from being a truly essential RPG, and at times it can be a wholly frustrating experience. For a start, it can be wilfully vague in giving direction, with little to no pointers in how or where a task is to be dealt with. Early on in the game, the player will quickly accumulate twenty plus recruit missions, though it soon becomes apparent that there is no real strategy to completing these (or indeed some of the chapter tasks, for that matter), as the majority of time will be spent wandering about aimlessly, which, in the spirit of exploration, isn't a bad thing in itself. While the map does show the location of characters that can be interacted with, it's one step up from being useless, though, and as such, missions tend to be completed by accident/blind luck, rather than any efforts on the player's part.

For example, checking the Vice President's agenda at the start of chapter three gives the fairly non-descript objective of 'Discover the whereabouts of Moonbucks.' In itself, that's a fairly straightforward request, and courtesy of a series of glitches (more on those later), stumbling across the missing Moonbucks in question was managed. Attempting entry to the mislaid beverage vendor led to a message popping up reminding of a previous conversation held with a Hippy Guru regarding the item required to enter the fictional franchise. Up until this point there had been no sighting of a Hippy Guru, and as such, no conversation. Slightly puzzled by this unforeseen hurdle it seemed prudent to refer to an online guide, which revealed that the area containing the missing Moonbucks normally only crops up at the end of chapter six?!? Despite actually knowing the location of the missing Moonbucks, then, the Veep was forced to hit the streets again to search for the right undisclosed character to speak to that will open up the next item in the agenda.

Screenshot for Citizens of Earth on PlayStation 4

Having been made aware of the unusually high glitch count on some of the other formats from numerous colleagues at Cubed3 towers, it seemed that this personal Citizens of Earth experience started out comparatively problem free, bar one or two display issues upon entering certain houses. Unfortunately, this was short-lived, and sixteen hours into the campaign the game ALMOST forced abandonment altogether, due to an auto-save kicking in after glitching into a dead end. With no option to escape or progress the story, it was made all the more frustrating armed with the knowledge that should the Pilot or Firefighter had been among the VP's recruits, then there would at least be an option to teleport out of this mess. They weren't.

Thankfully, upon returning to the game a week later (after anger had subsided), the predicament was ironically rectified by another glitch that threw the Veep's entourage BACK into a part of play area that could be escaped from. Unfortunately, this was only the tip of the glitch-berg, as on more than one occasion the game would suddenly lock up mid-battle, or the Vice President and his gang would get trapped in the scenery, or even just disappear from the play area altogether. Each time this happened, the only option was to switch the console off altogether, which, unsurprisingly, resulted in a loss of progress since the last save point, which is frustrating enough for even the most tolerant of gamers.

Screenshot for Citizens of Earth on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

For the most part, Citizens of Earth is a curiously addictive romp, with the ability to elicit the occasional chuckle. However, it would be remiss not to slap a 'Buyer Beware' warning on it, due to its many issues, which is a real shame, as when it decides to work, it's a fun little time sink.

Developer

Eden Industries

Publisher

Atlus

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

lol, i cant believe ME of all people ended up rating this game the highest.

Insanoflex said:
lol, i cant believe ME of all people ended up rating this game the highest.

Looks like all of our scores came down to how annoying the glitches we had to deal with were.

For the record I did enjoy it and it would likely have got a 6 if I hadn't been messed about by it so much

Losing progress 6 times then almost forcing me to abandon it altogether has a habit of sucking the goodwill out of the task at hand Smilie

Froze on me only 2 times on wiiu lol

Try 70+ times on 3DS. I'm very conflicted over my final score at the moment...I've never played such a broken game before.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

incredible.

Wow ... sounds like I got off lightly

It almost became part of the adventure Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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