E3 Impressions - Mugen Souls

8:22 AM, Jun 22, 2012   |    comments
  • 'Mugen Souls' for PS3.
  • 'Mugen Souls' for PS3.
  • 'Mugen Souls' for PS3.
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Video game localizer and publisher NIS America has a knack for releasing games best referred to as unique.  The upcoming PS3 title Mugen Souls looks like it'll fit that term nicely.

Developed by Compile Heart (Hyperdimension Neptunia, Record of Agarest War Zero), Mugen Souls features what one might expect from an NIS release: an adorable, somewhat crazy anime heroin who's greatest ambition is to take over the world.  Yes, that is the protagonist -- and she'll do it any way she can, including by sweet-taking her enemies into becoming her slaves (no, really).

Gameplay-wise, the game brings with it thoughts of Disgaea and Phantom Brave.  It's not the exact same, however, as Mugen Souls has a more traditional JRPG base to it.  Players actually have environments they can explore, and parties do battle turn-based battles together.  Characters can also do damage based in the billions on a fairly regular basis, which begs the question of "why is Compile Heart even counting at that point?".

In addition to a standard land-based battle, combat also occurs in space between the player's ship and an opposing vessel.  The mechanics of a space battle differ greatly from a standard encounter, as instead of "attack this" and "cast that" spaceship battles are more of a rock-paper-scissors thing.  There is some concern that it might make the outcome of the battles a lot more random than one would like, but the jury is still out on that.

Then there is the whole element of what the Japanese call "moe" (pronounced "mo-eh").  While in concept the element is meant to make the anime girls that make up the bulk of the roster look cute and adorable, it also gives many of them the appearance of adolescents.  It's almost to the point that one might expect Pedo Bear to make an appearance at some point in the game.  While this alone might make certain groups a bit peeved, the fact that the moe protagonist practically seduces enemies to become her slaves just might send some people over the edge.  This issue should be a concern for NIS and Compile Heart when the game releases to Western audiences who are unfamiliar with this element.

Societal issues with moe characters aside, Mugen Souls looks like a game that NIS and anime/manga fans alike should find themselves liking.  The game is a PlayStation 3 exclusive and has not yet been rated by the ESRB.  Gamers can expect to find it at retailers on September 18th of this year.


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