Where to start with Mugen Souls Z. Buried beneath its use of alarmingly young and busty characters, it’s borderline hentai imagery and woeful amount of crashes (did this even get tested?) there is a solid JRPG trying to escape. But by the end, we just gave up digging.
A direct continuation from the first Mugen Souls, after conquering the seven worlds the incredibly annoying Chou-Chou now sets her sights on another twelve worlds to make her “peons”. And that’s about all the set up you get really, and bear in mind, yes, this is the hero of the story you’re playing as. A hero who turns people into slaves and conquers worlds. Go team!
Mugen Souls Z appearing to deploy the kitchen sink approach to game design. Mechanics on top of mechanics, most of which we forgot for large portions of the game, resorting to the tried and tested method of hitting things with swords till they all fell down. If we were to explain all of the battle system intricacies to you then this would be the longest review in Gamestyle history, so let’s try and be brief.
Battles taking place in a 3D arena where characters in your party can be moved, albeit only in a circle dictated by various stats. Also on this field are floating crystals that when in range produce additional stats or skills or whatever. As at its core Mugen Souls Z is still a JRPG so the standard skills, attacks and items are all present and accounted for. But that’s really the only thing that can be called “traditional”.
A large portion of the plot revolves around gods that can be found on each world, and the first one you encounter Syrma has the ability in battle to change appearance mid-battle in what the game calls, wait for it, fetish poses. These are used by Syrma to seduce enemies, which brings various rewards. Then there are the G Castle battles, one on one turn based battles where your giant robot battles another. It sounds a lot more interesting than it is, as the fights basically just become rock, paper, scissors, albeit one that takes forever to end. Also during battles Damage Carnivals can be triggered (damage increases), there are chained special moves, blast offs that can send enemies flying into others, and so on. Confused by all this? So were we and we played the game. If only the developers took one of these ideas and developed it into something worthwhile instead of throwing in a bunch of half-baked ideas.
Now let’s talk about the rather creepy content of Mugen Souls Z. A lot, if not all, of the characters are rather child-like. And there are portions of the game where Syrma who needs to find all gods, throw them in her coffin that she awoke from in order to combine their powers, or something, it’s not quite clear. So with each character getting briefly thrown in the coffin an image pops on screen of said character getting groped by a white-ish slime that appears to be pulling their clothes off. Who says video games can’t be art? Each scene then followed by a trip to the bathhouse, cue more dodgy imagery. You honestly have no idea how hard it was to find an actual image from the game to use at the top of this review that wouldn’t get blocked by a porn filter.
But the creepy, half naked anime girls aren’t the game’s biggest problem, it’s that technically the game is incredibly poor. When exploring pretty much every environment the framerate is just shocking. It’s embarrassingly bad, particularly when it’s neither the prettiest or biggest game. Environments while colourful are a little bland, and the dialogue is mainly presented in 2D cut outs with zero animation. But the main issue came with the crashes. There’s one section of the game which is ridiculously buggy, that when the glass smashing animation before each battle occurs it becomes a flip of the coin as to whether the game will just die or not. It happened four times to us in a couple of hours. It’s a known issue (we checked the forums), but NIS don’t seem to be doing much about it. Very poor form.
With technical issues, an uninteresting world and a creepy aversion to young, half naked girls it makes us hard to recommend Mugen Souls Z to just about anyone. There’s an interesting battle system in here that with a little more focus could’ve shone, but as it stands, there are far, far better JRPG’s available.