Rated Teen; Reviewed on PS3
This was a truly enjoyable game. A simple, engaging story; likable characters and interesting gameplay. In most of the particulars it’s a fairly standard third-person adventure; but a very well done one that oozes charm.
Some might say the length is “too short” but at about 15 hours I felt it actually could have been a bit shorter. I deeply appreciate a game that takes as much time as it needs to tell its story and ends. “Majin” does fall, partway at least, into some of the traps. There’s some backtracking that feels a little too much like work (especially when trying to collect all of the “Memory Shards” which only appear at night) and some of the later levels approach a “been there, done that” vibe.
The combat system is simplistic and there aren’t all that many enemy types, but everything’s varied enough to support the length. Unless, that is, you’re going for the trophies (which I did) where you have to fully level-up. This is a grind of at least a few hours and there’s no defending it: the combat system just isn’t complex enough to support this kind of end-game. Thankfully they didn’t fall into the “let’s add an arena” trap as well. The combat camera is on the poor side due to the complexity of the environments and the fact that the Majin dominates so much of the battlefield, but a poor camera is almost a requirement for this kind of game and it’s no worse that most others.
On the plus side the Majin is one hell of an endearing character and you’ll find yourself talking to him just to hear what he has to say about the current area. As you progress through the game and unlock more of the Majin’s power’s you feel really good about it; you’re helping a friend. The story he tells throughout the game is as classic as they come: you’re going to save a princess! What a princess too: any girl that’s drawing twin swords and kicking ass minutes after being rescued is my kind of girl.
The visuals and audio are superb. The decaying buildings of the old kingdom are covered in flowers and greenery and the architecture is impressive and intricate. There are lots of little hidey-holes and ledges and overlooks. Lots of machinery and options for approaching a situation and enemies. Some of the most impressive graphical touches are very subtle. For example when wounded by the creatures of darkness you start to become them so you leave sticky, tar-like foot prints as you walk.
The enemies are also very nicely designed, especially in their movement. Unaware enemies move lethargically with odd twitches, as if they’re starting to fall asleep. Bosses are especially impressive, each with a distinct personality and design. Some are pitiable, some are despicable but all are interesting. Difficulty (there’s only one – another plus in my opinion) is on the easy side, but not boringly so. Instead this is one of those too-rare nice, relaxing games with a reasonable challenge.
This is a perfect game to spend some stress-free time with. In all the right ways the game reminded me subtly of the masterpiece “Ico”. It’s not quite to that level (very little is) but it’ll do very nicely until “The Last Guardian” is finally released.