Xblaze Lost: Memories (PC) Review

By Athanasios 24.08.2016

Review for Xblaze Lost: Memories on PC

The idea for a plot-heavy visual novel to act as a counterpart to a fighting game might seem strange. However, the lore of BlazBlue is extremely complicated, especially when compared to other fighting titles. Thus came Xblaze Code: Embryo and Xblaze Lost: Memories, both of which became instant classics in the hearts of diehard BlazBlue aficionados. The question posed by this review of the PC port is simple: should anyone else bother with it?

This is the tale of "Me;" a girl with magic powers, whose mission is to find her little sister, who seems to have been lost in a weird plane known as the Phantom Field. In there, she will meet the wacky/comedic - and sexy - sidekick known as "Nobody," who will constantly get on her nerves due to her overexcitement, crazy shenanigans, and tendency to ask personal questions very often. Oh, and, yeah, as expected, Me is the typical tsundere of the story.

There is a second storyline here, though, and that is the storyline of Es; a powerful creature with the body and face of a simple cute girl (minus the impressive melons), who does espionage on behalf of a shady man, for reasons that are unknown to her. After all, she was created and "programmed" to obey his orders no matter what. How do these two plots connect, though?

Screenshot for Xblaze Lost: Memories on PC

While Me is, undoubtedly, the protagonist here, Xblaze Lost: Memories also delves into the events of the previous title. How? Well, Me will get to find certain memory shards inside that mysterious dimension, which will basically retell the story of Xblaze Code: Embryo, which, like Memories, shares the same universe with the BlazBlue series, and acts as a prequel. The good thing is that the Es part feels less like a harem anime like it used to, since this mostly focuses on the way Es discovers the power of friendship, as well as how she struggles with whether she must continue her mission, or just have a normal life.

This is also the most "visual novel" part of the game, since there's no interaction other than pressing a button to move the whole thing on, and yet, unlike most in the genre, there are no stationary portraits and backgrounds here. Instead, characters animate, the "camera" frequently changes angles, and, generally, everything looks great. That isn't to say that the excitement lasts for long, though, because graphics and sounds tend to get recycled after an hour or so into the adventure.

Screenshot for Xblaze Lost: Memories on PC

Unfortunately, the Me part is not that good. For starters, while initially cute and funny, Nobody's behaviour will soon become tiring. Secondly, nothing really happens most of the time, since Me's quest relies heavily on finding memory shards in order to move on, which, basically, are snippets of Es' story. In other words, the Me section of this tale makes the player feel like an observer of someone else's life, instead of someone who actively affects what's going on.

Now, a thing about plot-heavy video games, whether that's Telltale series or any generic visual novel, is that it's better to have no gameplay than having a subpar one. Take Xblaze Lost: Memories, for instance. Finding the aforementioned shards requires moving the chibi-fied version of Me around to "search" for them, something that doesn't really require any skill at all! It's just a cheap way of making the quest feel more interactive and long - just like the dull multiple-question quizzes at the end of each of the few chapters.

Screenshot for Xblaze Lost: Memories on PC

The real question, however, is this: who is Memories aimed at? Well, for starters those who've gotten tired of seeing the same anime plot devices used all over again, along with multiple plot threads, pseudo-drama, one-dimensional and stereotypical characters, plot twists that are visible a mile away, plus a heavy dose of new sci-fi/fantasy terminology, are best to avoid this. Will the rest be able to enjoy it, though?

Honestly, anyone not interested in what happened before BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger will have a hard time following the events that unfold here, and while the game manages to eventually close most of the plot holes, either via the in-game scenes or the helpful "wiki" library available, few will appreciate that. In fact, it almost feels as if this will not even please the fanbase of BlazBlue, since it seems to be tailor-made for those who liked the original Xblaze.

Screenshot for Xblaze Lost: Memories on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

It's hard for a niche title to be more… niche than Xblaze Lost: Memories. Is it made for visual novel fans, for BlazBlue aficionados, or for those who want a deeper insight into the events of Xblaze Code: Embryo? The main feeling it gives is that of a product of high quality, which, unfortunately, is hard to get invested into, especially since its target audience seems to be very, very specific…

Developer

Arc System Works

Publisher

Aksys

Genre

Adventure

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 Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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