Title: Utawarerumono: ZAN
Publishers: NIS America, Aquaplus
Genre: Action/Visual Novel, Role-Playing Games, RPG
Age Rating: 12
Release Date: 13/09/2019
Price: £49.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Skip this game. Seriously. Skip it. Games like these make me question NIS America’s decision making to localize certain titles. This is a run-of-the-mill action game inspired by the Warriors series, but lacks any of the flair from Tecmo Koei and keeps the repetitive nature of the genre. And on top of that, Utawarerumono: ZAN fails to bring in new fans to the series with a barren explanation of the plot, annoying characters, and arduously, soul-suckingly long visual novel sections that last for minutes on end and yet lack any substance. Once again, skip this, skip this, skip this.
It’s tough to remember any element of the plot, but I will try to explain. This game is a retelling of Haku’s story from the visual novel series, and there’s a war going on as he suffers amnesia. And that’s all I can conjure up. The problem with this game is that it skips through too much of the initial plot to make this compelling for first time players. I didn’t get any conflict or any reason to be invested in this story. And when there are excruciatingly long visual novel segments between short bursts of gameplay, there’s little substance in the writing. It feels as if the developers have created this game for the die-hard fans and no one else. And that’s why I’m so confused as to why NIS America wanted to localize this. Is there really enough of an audience in the West to make the investment viable? The lack of substance and the annoying cliche characters on display are a serious turn off for any potential new fans of Utawarerumono.
There’s also a lack of depth within the combat itself. Like the Dynasty Warriors games, you take out waves of enemies like they’re fodder, but without any of the flash. Each character has it’s own style and weapon, but even with the ability to switch between four heroes at once, it still progresses into a mindless, dull grind to get to the next point of the story. It’s a yawn-fest. There’s an upgrade system to improve the stats on your equipment, but with the lack of an engaging story for those unfamiliar with Utawarerumomo, the drive really isn’t there to keep players grinding. There’s the occasional interesting boss fight, but after the endless visual novel segments that go over menial details and the dull combat segments, it’s tough to recommend for the gameplay alone.
Utawarerumono: ZAN fits the bill with its graphical art style as it brings a pleasant anime art style. The locations lack personality, but the art itself from the characters and visual novel segments well thought out and pop on the screen. The costumes worn by the heroes fit each of their personalities, and the voice acting is decent enough to carry through the traits, quirks, and charisma of each character.
Overall, for someone unfamiliar of the obscure visual novel series Utawarerumono, you won’t be hooked by the storyline or the repetitive combat that lacks the polish or the flair of the games it is trying to imitate. The acting is decent, and the colourful anime art style is a treat, but everything surrounding it is as dull as a filler episode in an anime.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Utawarerumono: ZAN from the PlayStation Store on the following link, https://store.playstation.com/en-GB/product/EP1063-CUSA16041_00-UTAWARERUMONOZAN
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.