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PS3 Review: Mugen Souls Z

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Mugen Souls Z for the PS3.

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Mugen Souls Z is a direct sequel to the previous game. The plot revolves around a power hungry God who sets her eyes on a new world. Deformed upon a fateful encounter, she now travels alongside a zany cast of characters to capture the land's eleven remaining gods with the help of the first, Syrma, and her peculiar coffin. While the premise is certainly unique, the delivery remains something to be had. There is way too much incoherent dialogue being delivered every few minutes. It’s monotonous, annoying, and drags the action down.

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That said the action is rather good. Battles are centered on an arena where characters can move and attack once per turn. It's like a more fluid tactical RPG much like NIS' own Disgaea series. Alongside characters and monsters are crystals: gems that can grant stat boosts. Syrma also has the power to turn monsters into minions, or items via a transformation grid. A monster may be more influenced by a certain persona of hers, like the bipolar, or sadistic version for example. It can get a bit complicated as the game marches on, but nothing overwhelmingly so. At its base, anyone can pick it up and have a great time.

Aesthetically MSZ is a mixed bag. On one hand the colorful characters and unique backdrops set the game apart. However, it’s all in the anime style of Moe, which depicts characters as cuter, mini heroes. It may be a turn off for some, but fans of the genre will adore it. Personally, it’s not a favorite, but again, it works to MSZ’s favor. The environments lack depth, which feels like being trapped in a snow globe rather than an expansive RPG world. It’s repetitive to warp around the map, in the same areas sometimes, just to hear more of the story is an annoying detraction from the game’s strongest asset: gameplay.

Mugen Souls Z has such a great gameplay system that is held back by so much. The insurmountable heft of the poor script and uninspired levels leave this RPG a bit stale. It could have worked better if say the game was an anime instead. Thankfully the worst parts can be skipped in order to get to the meaty RPG action center for those craving a new NIS experience.

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