Occurring in the same world as Blazblue- XBlaze Code: Embryo occurs many years (Oh say about 150 years) before Blazblue. Being a Blazeblue fan I had to check out the Demo of this game to see what it was about. I love the mythos of the series and this promised to shed more light on it. And with the new game being only $19.99 I figured I’d check out the demo at least before putting down my hard earned money.
I will go ahead and warn you though:
It is NOT a fighting game.
It is what’s called a “Visual Novel” which is very popular in Japan and has only fairly recently started to trickle it’s way over to the states. They’re most commonly found on the DS (in it’s many incarnations) but has occasionally made the foray onto the home console. Basically it’s a cross between animatics with fully colored and rendered, largely static, scenes and characters where only the eyes or the occasional body part moves. It’s an easy import too as all you really need to translate are the words at the bottom of the screen. However, most companies are leery of bringing them over as I think there is some notion that the videogame populace of the Americas would not understand it or don’t like to read. Some people find it cheap, and I get why they would say that. They think: Videogame = action, guns, RPG…something with more mechanics.
This does not fit the mold.
I personally love visual novels. I’m a huge fan of Virtue’s last reward with it’s diverging story lines and multiple endings and Lux-Pain was awesome and yet heart wrenching. So I am a fan of well written ones. This one starts off a bit slow, to be very honest. Like the first set up episode of a action anime where things happen but it’s vague and, due to it’s limitations as a visual novel, doesn’t show detail and fight sequences as a anime would, seems almost dull. The rule of the game (if there is one in these productions) is to gain various endings via selections of choices. Choosing different choices changes the direction your story will proceed.
XBlaze Code: Embryo adds the added mechanic of your character reading his “Toi” (pronounced: ‘toy’) and learning more about people and various articles. If he doesn’t read updates he is ill informed about things and thus his choices become limited as a result.
Game Play Vertic: So if you like to be much more active in a game other than making choices and watching a static anime, I suggest you look else where.
Character design: Because I am always studying them…
Toya Kagari Our main character:
He has all the trappings of a hapless main character who will turn around and save everyone, even though he likes gardening and hates fighting. Typical. His character design is funky to me. I suppose it’s because he’s always tipping his head but I just think his eyes are too far down on his head and they remind me of one of those creepy all gold lucky cats.
Hinata has the common obliviousness factor (that I suspect hides something) and the almost TOO typical steriotype of HUGE glasses+HUGE eyes =HUGE boobs. In the demo they where never used as a gag but I suspect it’ll happen eventually. Probably in the form of a obligatory bath scene or bathhouse visit.
Akira is very typical and the more outgoing one of Toya’s group. His somewhat trendy design and straight on gaze does a good job of portraying that.
Es is the typical robotic female that does not show much emotion nor really have opinions. Though I do think there is a reason for this. My initial suspicion? She’s more of a creation than a born person.
I’m only just glossing over some of the other details (and characters) as I only got to play the first chapter and part of the second chapter before the demo ran out.
Would I buy this game as a visual novel lover?
Well, maybe, if it was ten bucks. But not twenty. Even in the very beginning it dragged on just a bit too long and even I, who was expecting the static images wished for some more dynamic ones especially during fight scenes. But the images are pretty to look at. A Google search will do just as well for the eye candy and read up on it at the Blazeblue Wiki to figure out the story. Which is where I am headed right now.