Even though the situation has changed quite a bit, Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) are still kind of rare on PC. They still don’t really feel at home on this platform, after all these years of console exclusivity. Slowly, this is changing, with more and more games getting ported to the PC and published on Steam. Some of those ports aren’t all that good, as we have seen with the Tales of Symphonia HD port. With that in mind, let’s have a first looks at the Steam port of Mugen Souls Z, which was originally released on PS3 back in 2013!
Disclaimer: Review code provided by the publisher
I’ve spent a little over four hours with the Steam version now and so far, I have to say the port is a mixed bag. You can change resolutions and the game allows for a windowed mode which is something other ported JRPGs often lack. However, Mugen Souls Z only allows for a resolution up to 1440×810, which is pretty bad. There are no options to turn on/off any details in the graphics, so the game looks pretty much like its PS3 counterpart. PC players are going to be disappointed by this lack of options.
At least you have the choice between the Japanese and English voice cast. While I had no opportunity to listen to the English dub yet, the Japanese cast is fairly enjoyable. Also on the plus side: there’s mouse support and rebindable keys, which is a must for any PC port if you ask me, even though I prefer to use the controller myself.
Now, for the game itself, it’s really tough to say all that much in terms of first impressions, as JRPGs tend to be really, really lengthy. This seems to be the case with Mugen Souls Z too, as the story segments are long, with many lines of spoken dialogue. These long scenes are sometimes punctuated with a tutorial or a short fight sequence during the first hour, so the game takes a long time to really get going.
As soon as you’re out in the field, you can actually get a feel for the combat, which is pretty fast going and has a nice focus on strategy, with crystals giving you different field effects, recruiting of peons and different moods to keep track off. It can be quite challenging, if you really want to get into it.
Unless you have all the DLC. Since I got it with my review copy of the game, I had really amazing equipment and a lot of cash from the very beginning. This makes every battle really easy and I don’t have to concern myself with grinding. This also means I can’t really tell you how difficult the game is after all, but I think I will have a better grasp on that later in the game. So stay tuned for a full review. As it stands now, I’d suggest staying away from the DLC as it pretty much gets rid of any challenge at the beginning.
A word about the graphics: While character portraits look great, there’s little animation during the long visual novel sequences. That’s only typical of the genre, but it really undercuts the story with overly long passages of dialogue that don’t tell you much and completely ignore the ‘show’ aspect of storytelling. While the characters encountered up until chapter 3 are interesting and fun enough, you don’t get a real feel for them, since a lot of the action is just described in these dialogues. When the game decides to show you something, it really manages to show off the art style and is a lot of fun. But that happened rarely in my first four hours with the game.
Right now, I’d say the Steam port of the game is only really worth it if you’re into the genre and dig the artstyle. As written above, stay tuned for a review of the game at a later point in time. If you want to check out my playthrough of the game, you can check it out over on my Twitch and Youtube channel!
Mugen Souls Z will be released on Steam on August 25th! You can find it here!