Lately, I’m in a constant cycle of stress and depression. It wakes me up in the morning and kept me from getting a good night’s rest thinking where did I went wrong or what path I should’ve taken to get a different outcome. At this time, I’m still struggling to find the answer to those questions and I will most likely still need more time doing so. Now, this is nowhere near a bit just to introduce the game and it’s merely myself served on a silver platter. Because in this day and age, it’s important to appreciate the best things in life and grasp them ‘til you can’t do so anymore. Normally I would’ve loved to keep this private because this isn’t something you’d want to hear however I do feel like I need to put myself into this more just to give a better setting to how Mary Skelter Finale among other games and some newfound friends have helped me get a momentary recluse to the pains that life brought my way.
In a way, it’s almost inevitable for you to get struck by life’s greatest challenges. It becomes a constant chase of cat and mouse where you’d either have to run from it your whole life or face it head on to get some closure. This is where gaming and friends had got me through the roughest of the thorny patches of grass or the fiercest of waves in the darkest and deepest of seas. Mary Skelter Finale being the third game in the franchise was just one way I can distract myself from the sadness I face for the past couple of months. Being a game that is pretty much unplayable without any sort of knowledge beforehand made it more likely that I had to visit the game’s included “Before Story” which is a collection of both of the earlier titles’ stories to give you a better insight on what Finale has to offer. And with it being a game that I could just play on handheld mode on the Nintendo Switch made it much easier to play whenever or wherever that is. I could literally be in bed crying my heart out due to depression as I read through each and every line. It also brings a lot of bonus material from a novel that you can dive into or just the many character designs and artworks included in the gallery.
However, when it comes to its actual core story is where it really felt underwhelming and sad. The thing with the Finale is, it didn’t seem like it was anything but an extended after story. There are leaps between different parties considering they were actually separated as they left the Jail which is a living organism that created a literal hell hole that constantly spews out creatures called Marchens that lives to torture and slaughter humanity. But this constant back and forth between different perspectives made the first few hours of the game a heavy slog to pull through due to how much of a read it can get and with most of it being a prisoner to the usual traps of JRPG storytelling— dragged and often redundant.
And since most of them got separated as they arrive on the surface where even tougher enemies lie in wait, its gameplay loop is also a bit of a mess which makes it more confusing and convoluted as you’d have to constantly “zap” your way through puzzles to clear obstacles and fulfil objectives. It’s basically a system that lets you switch through different controllable parties and while it does give you a much broader insight into what other things could be happening elsewhere, it also kind of makes it uninteresting as you’d have to switch through parties quite often which makes its novelty wear off far too quickly due to how mundane most puzzles work in the game anyway. However, there’s an interesting bit to its gameplay which is really about switching job classes to make a character fill a different role. Despite its lack of balance for different parties throughout your adventure, it’s a welcoming idea that the game has a way to cope with that.
Visually, it still has that Idea Factory art style which if it isn’t too criminal to say is something I do honestly enjoy. Cutesy preteen girls in an even cuter and quirkier set of garments make for a pretty eye-catching visual flair. The quirkiness even follows suit to their overall personalities and unique design. Just look at Red Riding Hood for example which starts off in an oversized hoodie and an even more oversized pair of scissors but ends up being the big bad wolf for some reason if the big bad wolf was a bit more revealing, to say the least with its fur. It’s also worth noting that there’s a solid cast of both English and Japanese audio for the game so you can enjoy either one as you breeze through its long winding scenes and dialogue.
Overall, Mary Skelter Finale despite its rough story arc and retelling while also having the convoluted party switching is interesting in its own way if you enjoy a long read throughout its multiple sides of the story. I can’t say that this is something I would personally recommend if you aren’t going to fully invest in its story but the content it has to offer does paint a pretty good picture to consider despite its shortcomings.
- Developer: Compile Heart
- Publisher: Idea Factory
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game which can be purchased here for £44.99.
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