Mugen Souls Z (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 06.09.2016

Review for Mugen Souls Z on PC

Mugen Souls Z follows essentially the same premise of its PS3 predecessor, which saw players exploring dungeons getting humorous story and repeating. For those looking for this without much change they will like it, but there is little depth for those looking for more.

Mugen Souls Z is, by all intents, a funny and enjoyable story plagued by a series of problematic elements everywhere else in the game. Being a continuation of the original Mugen Souls, It has some problems as it chooses to follow a different set of characters in the same plot. These characters feel shoehorned in, making the incredibly slow start of the game is among its worst parts. This is not to say the game is bad, because there are many moments that harken back to its predecessor and the humour stays fresh enough that it is not a problem. The issue, however, is that it is essentially the same as the first game, which - truth be told - wasn't particularly good.

Screenshot for Mugen Souls Z on PC

The game's main hook is that the main character can take on different personalities, using these personalities to take over other people in order to win battles. Perhaps it sounds more interesting than it is in practice, but the first game pulled this gimmick off effectively by having each personality be truly different: watching other characters react to the various personalities was a constant source of laughs.

The game, like the first, has a lot going on behind the scenes but a lot of it ultimately ends up being too complicated for such a small impact on the overall gameplay. Each character can learn new skills and gain different traits, weapons can be upgraded, clothes give various stat boosts, item can be refined, and the personality takeover mechanic can be used in battle - these are all options in the gameplay but none of them really make much difference to the overall experience.

It's a common flaw in real-time strategy games that, even when there exists endless theory crafting, dodging and evading options, it's often enough simply just to attack without thinking or planning, and this is exactly the trap into which Mugen Souls Z falls. There are many things to keep track of, with elements, knockback distance, and even enemy personality coming into account - but none of it actually matters when it's easier to just attack.

Screenshot for Mugen Souls Z on PC

Another issue is that, despite the claims that issues such as slow gameplay were fixed, the fundamental formula is unimproved. Whereas in the first game the dungeons were laughably small, the developers have now made them needlessly complicated to the point that the map has to be opened after every turn. Yes, these dungeons are technically bigger, but they are certainly not improved.

One of the other major detractors is the main character herself, Syrma. 'Chou-Chou', the start of the first game, may have been loud-mouthed and at times genuinely annoying, but her various personalities were distinct enough that it was funny watching her be coy or submissive, and so on. In this game, Syrma's appearance doesn't change to correspond with her different powers, and her personality changes are unconvincing, making for a much more lacklustre plot.

Her regular nice-but-naïve personality is fine enough, but the characteristics of her various personalities are often portrayed wildly inconsistently, such as one occasion where she growls while down on all fours and says, with a deadpan tone, '…I am supposed to be a tiger'. It comes across as just plain weird, and really destroys the immersion.

Screenshot for Mugen Souls Z on PC

With those criticisms out of the way - and, make no mistake, they do hurt the game substantially - the story and the humour is actually the best part of Mugen Souls Z. Truthfully there is no substantial, epic plot: it's mostly about the misadventures of the crew, and this is completely fine; some of these stories can be wildly fun, and this game does not disappoint in that regard. From the hyper-stylized cel-shading of the characters to some of their cool costumes, this is all excellently put together.

The humour stays fresh and bounces from all types. There is the typical ecchi/hot-tub humour, lampshading, fourth-wall breaking, self-referential humour, and even a well-done comedic sub-plot for each character, such as an older guy who keeps attracting young girls who all fight over him and the compromising situations the others find him in.

In some RPGs, the battle system is merely the vehicle that carries the rest of the story, and unfortunately that is pretty true here. Mixed with the needlessly large, complex dungeons, it all feels like a chore simply to see more laughs from the story. No one is going to play this game for its battle system or its exploration and, while the story is pretty funny at times, it is not enough to make a great game.

Screenshot for Mugen Souls Z on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Mugen Souls Z is essentially a clone of the first game with a new story on it. For many this will be fine: the humour is mostly at the same standard. The battle system remains largely forgettable, dungeon crawling is uninspiring and some of the main characters are grating. This is the type of game that would be massively improved as an anime, allowing the story to be the main focus - for someone that wouldn't mind ploughing through a battle system that really isn't that good, they would enjoy the humorous story to take a break from so many games that take themselves far too seriously.

Developer

Idea Factory

Publisher

Ghostlight

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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