Mugen Souls Review
Note: Before you start reading my Final Verdict on Mugen Souls, be sure to check out my earlier in-depth take on the game’s various systems ( Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV). All briefed? Good, now onto my final thoughts on the game.
Mugen Souls is little too misogynistic for my taste, but I get that most of the slightly sexual jibs, jabs, and jokes are meant to be harmless fun aimed at teenage boys. Still I really don’t want to think about girls that are possibly under the age of 18 taking baths together or playing with each other’s breasts. That aside, the story isn’t really all that appealing until you get into the last chapters of the game where you finally feel that familiar sense of romance you might have experienced the first time you played an earlier NISA game like Disgaea or Soul Nomad. When the game does finally take itself seriously, players understand why this whole adventure happened and what motivates the protagonist and other characters encountered throughout the story to do the things they do.
NIS America’s games tend to offer the kinds of storylines that are all over the place, and Mugen Souls does not deviate from that formula. The game serves up familar JRPG tropes, fourth wall humor, puerile comedy, mild titillation, and bittersweet moments. Mugen Souls covers familar ground, though if I had to pigeon hole the storyline i’d file it somewhere in between the overly sexualized Hyperdimension Neptunia series and the goofy delightful fun of Trinity Universe. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly where I’d put the flow of the gameplay too. Overall I think the voice acting is sterling, the characters are fun, and the storyline is good enough to get players where they need to go.
Speaking of gameplay, Mugen Souls blends a number of components well enough (resource gathering, the whole MOE Kill play mechanic, turn-based combat and ship battles) to keep players from getting bored. Games like these usually end up being mindless grind fests, but there’s plenty of meat on the bones of the storyline campaign to be enjoyable enough so that players could skip some of the extra and more hardcore areas if they wanted to. Most won’t, of course.
I think the different resources players will have to gather makes the game challenging because there are so many things you can spend them on. Later in the game some of those resources can prove to be scarce, giving players the motivation revisit worlds they might have already conquered multiple times to improve your favorite weapon, upgrade your character or buy and develop new characters.
If I had to put my finger on precisely where I think Mugen Souls falls short, it would have to be the incoherence of how the skill system works and the way the game presents information. When I say “presents information” what I really mean is that Mugen Souls leaves players in the dark about a lot of little things. Most notbaly, it does a poor job of explaining how character development works and how to unlock skills. While this will certainly give strategy guide, Wiki, and FAQ writers plenty of stuff to unearth and share with the community, the lack of information adds a layer of challenge that just doesn’t need to be there. And really, if you don’t visit certain areas in the game you might not figure out how character growth works at all without resorting to reading a FAQ or walkthrough. Some might argue that this is the lot you draw when you play an NISA JRPG, but Mugen Souls doesn’t provide the player with a clear understanding on how not doing certain things and not exploring certain avenues can really hold back even the highest level character.
Putting those complaints aside, Mugen Souls is a fun game with a straightforward combat system, likable characters, a decent character creation system that is highly customizable, a light and fun storyline, and plenty of replayability. I think the last point is a very important one for fans: replayability is one of those required bullet points in the feature list of any faithful NIS RPG player. Mugen Souls certainly offers a character level cap familiar to most players: 9,999.
Ultimately it’s hard for me not to recommend this excellent game. It’s got a ton of character; it’s easy to pick up and play and offers plenty of challenges as you explore the deepest corners of the universe. If you haven’t already bought it, you probably should.
Final Verdict: Own It.Explore posts in the same categories: PS3, Review, RPG, Video Games comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.