When you think of RPG’s, you think of Persona, Final Fantasy, maybe you’re a bit old school and think Dragon Quest, Utawarerumono? Nah that just rolls right off the tongue. For the handful of you that recognise this titles name from its first game, this game, Mask of Deception is its technical sequel to a game that came out over 10 years ago, I won’t blame you if you do not recognise this nor can even pronounce the name of the game. However it is here for better or for worse, so what does it bring with it?
First of all, if you are here for new or exciting motifs in your games, this is not the game for you, within the first 5 minutes we have trope after trope thrown at us, memory loss, last second rescue by a beautiful female, cat girls, sexual and sensitive tails? it’s a massive what’s what of anime tropes. Though I can see some people loving this, myself? Not so much, I’ve gotten a little bored of all of these from the generic stream of anime or anime style games of recent years, and do wish a more interesting take would be released.
With an opening very similar to a handful of anime and manga I can think of, the game continues down its…cliché story, and slowly but surely brings us to gameplay.
Honestly the best way to describe this game is as a very similar to fire emblem or maybe Disgaea, you have a heavy reliance on grid-based combat, where each character is moved around the board towards one another, and then perform attacks or special moves to wipe out one side, however as I said before do not expect much in the way of new ideas here, it is pretty straightforward in its execution and makes it pretty simple on that from the get-go.
The only real addition here is a very simple combo mechanic, where you can press face buttons during attacks to modify damage that you deal, really it isn’t anything amazing, but it could be enough for some to further the enjoyment of the game somewhat.
There is a heavy focus on voice acting within the game, and I feel like I have been spoiled of late, with the excellent voice acting within Persona 5 or Final Fantasy, the voice acting here feels…cheap and amateurish, made worse by the constant attempts at screams, which sounds more like the voice actors were attempting to keep their scream as quiet as possible whilst recording, making it feel unnatural. Though credit has to be given where it is due for games that attempt to give full voice acting throughout the game, it’s something that is definitely not seen all the time.
Similar to other games that have come out recently, the graphics here are really nothing special, it feels like Atlus really are not making use of the full power available to them on the PS4, it seems that a limit was reached during the PS3 era, and they are very reluctant to move past it. Even Persona 5 really doesn’t look that great graphically, though made up for in style, here it lacks that, with generic characters and backdrops you cannot help but notice the blurry textures or the clearly jutting out polygons. Whilst playing this game it makes me feel like all those others made for the PS4, clearly downgraded to be simultaneously released on PlayStation Vita, and very much affecting how the games look, made worse by larger TV’s exposing the design flaw further. However, when it comes to the design of the characters there is no doubting the skill of the drawer, high resolution, clear full body drawings of monsters, landscapes and characters, makes the game feel more like a visual novel game that the RPG it actually is.
I would also like to take this time to say, there is currently £10 of DLC for this game, or £7.50 if you buy them all together. It is all Swimsuit costumes. This is a game that knows exactly who their audience is, and knows exactly what they want to part their money with, bravo.
This is a game designed and directly aimed at anime fans if you are not a massive anime fan I really do not see you enjoying this game. Is has tropes out the ass and a story that does not go much further than basic plot devices, with a heavy reliance on the attraction of the characters or between the characters themselves. However, with that being said there is something to enjoy out of a pretty standard and old-school RPG and the heavier focus on story elements can be quite enjoyable over time. If you want a solid story with some gameplay added, this is the game for you, however, if you want gameplay with story added this…will disappoint, 6/10.