It's one thing to get crap past the radar. It's another thing entirely to ram through the radar building's front door with a go cart and use it as a shortcut. Yes, Conception II takes refuge in its audacity, because no video game on Earth could possibly get away with this and keep a straight face... right?
I won't be reviewing this game, but it's just so amazing in all the right ways for a troper that I couldn't hold back.
Let's get one thing straight. This game is totally amazing in the same way the anime Date A Live is for me, it has absolutely no shame in itself. I mean, let's be clear about something. The objective of this game is to build relationships with powerful female magical girls (called "Disciples" in-universe), participate in a thinly-veiled ritual ("classmating") that involves the main character and the female holding hands which then results in "Star Children" (it's exactly what it sounds like, not-quite-human children are born), and then the heroines and the star children come to battle with you in one of many labyrinths across the world.
Yep, and it does this all without the slightest hint of shame. It isn't sex, it's a ritual with hand holding! That's what the game tells us while simultaneously deadpanning the double entendre at every turn.
That said, let's get down to business.
Generally speaking, it's done pretty well so far. I'm only into this by about two hours but I've explored quite a few of the systems that the game has to offer. The city system is interesting so far, though I find myself spamming the "rest" button at the dorm to advance a day so I can advance the relationship counters with all the female characters. The more powerful our bonds, the more powerful the children (at least that's how the game lets us justify this one).
There's an extensive suite of weapon and armor that I haven't delved into yet as well as an entire side-quest system that rewards you with powerful items. Similarly, it seems like you can upgrade your city by giving your star children "independence" (even more crap past the radar there) and letting them improve the city on the side.
It's extensive and I've only just started understanding most of the nuances.
Oh ho ho, what isn't to be said about this bunch. Alright, as a dedicated troper, I will personally rattle off the character tropes without checking myself on TV Tropes. Let's see here...
The first character (Fuuko) is the everygirl, the Betty if you will. A prime candidate for first girl wins. Narika is the shrinking violent, she's ridiculously shy. Chloe is a teacher archetype, an older sister of your classmate Chlotz. Ellie is the energetic girl to your MC's savvy guy. Serina is the napoleon complex Tsundere Type A (Taiga got a hair dye job). Lastly (so far) is Torri. She's the resident Rei Ayanami expy and she plays it completely straight.
Much like the rest of this game, the heroines' magical girl outfits (for the combat) are completely over-the-top to the point of narm. I mean, I thought Fuuko's outfit was pretty bad at first, and then I saw Chloe's. Mother of god I almost broke down into tears of laughter. Could this get anymore stripperific?
It's just so bad, and awesome, and terrible at the same time. I don't even.
Let's not even get started on those 3-D engine-generated cutscenes in the game. I'll just go ahead and be upfront by saying Conception II's game engine supports Gainaxing. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest. It's so over-the-top that it's barely fanservice, it's just narm. Endless narm.
Yep, that's a screencap from my game not long ago. The whole "family", as it were, follows you around in the labyrinths. It just goes on to reinforce got how absurd, yet hilarious, this game is.
That out of the way, the combat isn't much to look at... yet. It's a turn-based match where you control not only your character, but the small groups made up of your star children. You can attack the enemy from four sides and take advantage of their flanks (weak points if you will), by attacking them with your units.
It's not terribly difficult to murder everything in your path to be perfectly honest. As long as you take your time to grind some XP and keep your weapons up-to-date, then the chances are you'll be an unstoppable badass in no time.
What can be said about this game other than it's borderline nuts dedication to fanservice, getting crap past the radar, and hilarious narm. The story isn't bad by any means, in fact I see it turning out rather well, but I think that this game's real strength lies in how the developer decided to forgo any thought about keeping this game normal and instead took the concept up to eleven. It's taking refuge in audacity and I love it.
Is this going to win any GOTY awards? Absolutely not, but it's going to be an entertaining game. It's been great so far as the gaming equivalent of a popcorn show and I hope it stays that way.
Thank you Atlus and Japan. Thank you.
You can read more of my articles on Dex's Corner.