Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Game Republic
Release Date: 2/22/2011
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This is one of those reviews where there are more bad things than good to say about a game so I will start with the good. The story is interesting with you playing as both Gretchen (a witch) and Heinrich (an executioner) are stuck together under the worst circumstance. Heinrich executed Gretchen and several other witches for allegedly spreading the plague even though they didn’t. An evil man named Faust wants the Anima Del Monde for himself to become immortal. Gretchen curses Heinrich as he cuts her head off that he will be immortal. After suffering for a hundred years Gretchen needs to stop Faust and the witch’s hellbent on destroying humanity as payback. She seals Heinrich in a knight’s contract that he cannot leave her side or they both die thus one of the game mechanics.
That’s about where it stops being good. Well, using Gretchen’s witch powers during combat is fun, but everything else is a total mess. To start with the combat let’s talk about this pile of a mess. You can use Heinrich to do basic light and heavy attacks while holding down RT and the face buttons let you control Gretchen’s powers. This is simple enough except in execution it fails. Heinrich never seems powerful because it takes dozens of hits just to kill one enemy so you constantly resort to only using Gretchen. Animations are stiff and sluggish so you can’t break them to attack a different enemy. When you fall each character bounces a bit before slowly getting up and in the meantime, you’re getting killed. Sure Heinrich can’t die because he’s immortal, but you have to constantly babysit Gretchen because she is your health bar. You can carry her to heal, but she also can’t keep up with you so you carry her almost 80% of the time. You can use a special power that will wipe the screen of enemies (and thus the Nudity part on the back of the box) or make Heinrich super powerful. The worst part about combat is when Heinrich actually gets stunned and you have to tap A about 50 times before he gets up and in the meantime, Gretchen is getting killed. Unless you can hit the A button like your convulsing in morbid pain you will throw the controller every ten minutes. Did I forget to mention the poorly designed quick-time events that give you a fraction of a second to react?
Heinrich has no aerial attacks so you have to rely on the only two air attacks from Gretchen, but her powers have cool-down periods based on what level you’re using. Boss fights are interesting because they vary, but the mechanics are just absurd with some knocking you outside invisible barriers, or not leaving any window to attack after being stunned. They feel clunky and unpolished, but the terrible camera doesn’t help that gets lost in corridors and has a mind of its own. If you think combat is difficult wait until you hear about how bad navigating the terribly designed levels are.
The levels are bland, boring, and hard to navigate because there are no hints on where to go, the map is useless, and you wind up running around in circles trying to figure out where to go. Load times between each level don’t help and they are pretty long. There are even loads sometimes when coming out of the pause menu and that is just not acceptable in this day and age. The overall mechanics just feel dated and something that you played in the early 2000s. The graphics are terrible and horrifically outdated, and the voice acting is cheesy and spotty at best. So the only thing going for it is the story and using Gretchen’s awesome powers.
With unfair mechanics aside, the overall experience is only for people who like a serious challenge or are just that desperate for an action adventure. There are a ton out there that are better so you won’t be missing much if you skip out here. It’s sad that a game with such potential was poorly designed, and with an open ending, I’m scared to find out that we will get another plate of crap. I sure as hell won’t eat it, but will you?