Indivisible (PlayStation 4) Review

By Eric Ace 09.12.2019 3

Review for Indivisible on PlayStation 4

With a striking art style, Indivisible has such a hype that a lot of people are going to be talking about it. Published by 505 Games, a company whose name might not be immediately familiar, but has had its hand in many titles, including the more recent Bloodstained. In Indivisible you play a young girl with a special power who goes on a quest to find out about the world. Mixing platforming and a battle system reminiscent of Valkyrie Profile, this has a lot of pieces that can potentially add up to a great result.

So often the case of games that are made with a lot of heart is they tend to end up being greater than the sum of their parts. Ironically, given its name, Indivisible is a unique game in that is the less than the sum of its parts. It is the type of game that based on its art style and hype behind it, is going to generate tons of reviews, and tons of 'best RPG ever' type praises from people that rarely play RPGs. On the surface of it, it might not seem surprising, it has good music, great art, interesting characters, a much-touted Valkyrie Profile battle system, yet one must dig deeper into seeing why it just doesn't click.

In all honesty, this was the type of game this reviewer really wanted to like - the hand-drawn sprites, the battle system, the platforming, all of it spoke to a great experience waiting. Indeed, starting it and fighting some apocalyptic first battle set a cool tone. A few minutes later, upon meeting with the main character, a young girl named Ajna, things rapidly take a serious turn when her village is burned down, everyone else is dead, and her father's murderer gets absorbed into her mind.

Screenshot for Indivisible on PlayStation 4

After a good stage like this set, it proceeds to drop the ball. Given something as mysterious as absorbing someone (especially her dad's murderer) into her mind, and her whole village being destroyed, the story lingers on this point for about four lines before turning to light-hearted jokes, especially when the next character joins. The dichotomy of this is hard to endure at times. Are people supposed to be sad that her whole village got burned alive, or are they supposed to be laughing when the mass-killer is the butt of all jokes? The bipolar nature of the plot is a serious negative, as light-hearted plots are very hard to pull off when death is everywhere in the story like it is here. It is especially odd when one considers the next major character to join is this old shaman woman who makes constant 'jokes' about burning people alive.

Next is the art, something that deserves both praise and some criticism. Randomly clicking the credits button showed the absolute staggering number of people that went into this game. For how many people were a part of it, (there were easily 10 artists alone) the juxtaposition of some quality was jarring. The backgrounds were great, some of them were extremely cool. Furthermore, all the hand drawn sprites really were well done. All the various animations were flawless, it was like a good BlazBlue-type deal. This being said, other aspects looked like low-level fan art.

Screenshot for Indivisible on PlayStation 4

The opening story sequence features drawings merely sliding around, or staying still trying to represent motion, all having a serious lack of quality in them. It honestly felt like a game was made by a very small team of people (and that might have been forgivable), and not an absolutely huge team like the credits show. Many of the character 'talking' portraits leave tons to be desired, resembling more like PS2 levels of quality. This is exemplified by the first joining character 'Dhar,' who's armour looks more like a weird one-piece suit. For how much detail went into the sprites, the portraits look downright simplistic.

Adventuring around plays out like a typical platformer. So many call this a 'metriodvania,' yet it lacks so much of what made those that belong in the sub-genre any good. There is no exploration, as this is very linear. While Ajna gets new moves, they really don't join together into something coherent. It's a new move that it used when the appropriate puzzle comes up, so more like just an ever increasing puzzle rather than expanding repertoire of moves.

Screenshot for Indivisible on PlayStation 4

The battle system has a clear Valkyrie Profile tastes to it. Admittedly, it was a serious draw of the game. Taking place in a real-time situation, players have to alternate sending their four characters in for an attack, and defending at the right time to reduce damage. Systems like this work, and can work well, but there are problems here. First, there are not really levels or stats in any conventional sense. As a result, battles are almost entirely decided based on combos and blocking. As a result even a normal enemy can potentially kill the player easily, and bosses sometimes are rolled without second thoughts. It was clearly designed to be technical, with various timings of blocks, different attacks on so on, but far too often, it is merely easier to just button mash. Especially because there is zero documentation about what attack from what character has what quality, it is far easier to just slam it out and hope it works; and it works largely successfully.

It does not take long playing the game to realize the disappointment it mostly represents. One is struck by the quality this game could have contained. Perhaps it was too ambitious for its own good, because the package presented is merely average on so many levels. Cool graphics don't work when held back by weaknesses elsewhere; just like a cool battle system in theory doesn't stand up when it isn't actually fun while playing.

Screenshot for Indivisible on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

It looks good (mostly), and has all the qualities that seem like it would make a great game. Not only does it fail to come together coherently, yet it also it lacks a sense of magic or "heart" that the art style would suggest it possesses. While nothing is largely technically wrong with Indivisible, it fails to be engaging as a RPG, its platforming fails to recommend it on this front, and the story never goes anywhere significant to offer this up either. This isn't bad, but it just isn't that good either.

Developer

Lab Zero

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

2D Platformer

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   

Comments

DeadVoivod (guest) 11.12.2019#1

So you're the first one giving the game a somewhat bad review. I can understand your negative aspects of the game, but it seems that you find EVERY single one bad, nothing you like about it. I find that overly exaggerated, because I think the game is not as half as bad as you make it. 

DeadVoivod (guest) said:
So you're the first one giving the game a somewhat bad review. I find that overly exaggerated, because I think the game is not as half as bad as you make it. 

I think that's the glory of reviews XD Everyone has their own opinion of the game. I think that Eric argues his point well and a 5 isn't bad, just meh Smilie.

Personally I wasn't sold on it ever since the prototype was released, but knowing it's not too bad means I may pick it up once it goes on sale Smilie I do love the base artwork and style

DeadVoivod (guest) said:
So you're the first one giving the game a somewhat bad review. I can understand your negative aspects of the game, but it seems that you find EVERY single one bad, nothing you like about it. I find that overly exaggerated, because I think the game is not as half as bad as you make it. 

Hey thanks for reading.  In my mind rpgs have two major aspects to them, the story and the battle.  This game sets up a very serious story initially, then proceeds into slapstick which negates its entire premise.  The battle system is an obvivous valkyrie profile clone but worse, and the platforming was simplistic and linear.

Ultimately, the game was based heavily on hype, and it failed to have heart at all.

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