Sunday, February 23, 2014

Game Review: Liberation Maiden

Shooter; 3DS (eShop Download); Level 5/Grasshopper Manufacture; 2012
So this review came out of no where. I'm not in the habit of buying games even if they are on sale for really cheap for the sole reason that I don't have any form of income besides what I might fine while walking down the street. Even if the game is only a few dollars I'm hesitant to get it because it could escalate into a hefty sum if I buy too many "cheap" games. However, after a few days of contemplation and the fact that, the Level 5 sale was going to end soon, I decided to plop little over $3 to get a game I had my eye on ever since it was announced: Liberation Maiden. A game made by Level 5 using the whacked out brain of Suda 51. So before I venture forth to try to find $3 on the pavement outside, I'll give you my review of Liberation Maiden and was this game worth my lunch money.

If only every President's first act in office is to Pilot a humanoid Mech and Shoot some enemies.
100 years into the future, Japan's once beautiful homeland has been taken over and corrupted by the massive nation known as "The Dominion." In response, The Japanese government restructured itself and elected it's first President to wage war against the enemy; however, during his inaugural speech President Ozora was assassinated. Following his death, First President Ozora's daughter, Shoko, was elected as the second President of Japan. Her first task: Pilot the Liberator Mech Kamui, and take out the enemy bases that occupy her nation.

While the story has the traditional Suda 51 twisted charm, what with the President of Japan's job is to pilot a giant mech and all, the plot itself is really unimportant to the game. Besides some beautifully animated anime cutscenes at the beginning and end of the game, the story is nothing more than "Those bad guys, blow them up." It's actually rather odd considering when you unlock the gallery to the game you get more backstory and world building than is ever in the actual game. There was actual thought put into the plot, except that the game is just happy with you going from one stage to the next shooting everything in sight. Well, at least the story doesn't interfere with the action.

Liberation Maiden's gameplay is pure and simple arcade shoot-em-up destroy everything in sight action fun. The game is split up into classic arcade Stages with each stage revolving around flying around destroying enemy bases. Each enemy base is built around a Lesser Conduit Spike, after destroying the three in each stage you gain access to the Greater Conduit Spike that serves as the stage's boss. The controls are simple, you fly around using the Circle pad (your altitude is fixed so no ascending or diving unless the game does it automatically), strafe with the L button, and attack with the touch screen. You have two major weapons to use; A Lock-On weapon that locks on as you move the cursor with the touch screen and fires when you release, and a Laser which fires continuously as you press on the touch screen. However, be careful as your shield uses the same power meter. If you use all of your power to fire then you'd have none left for defense. You get more Shield strength (and in turn more attack power) the longer enemy kill chains to link together. You also have a Beam Sword which serves both as your massive bomb attack and as your last line of defense should you fall near fatal with it charged. In addition to taking out the enemy spikes, Shoko is also tasked with purifying the land, which involves blowing up designated buildings and other structures and replace them with... Trees. Also each stage has a "Sub-Mission" that doesn't need to be completed to clear the Stage, but offers better completion by the end of the game. These Sub-Missions are not only different from stage to stage, but also change from playthrough to playthrough which offers a little bit of variety in each time you play the game.

Controls change slightly when fighting Greater Spikes as you are now rotating around them.
There are two issues I have with this game. One of them is an issue you will only have if you fall into a particular 10% of the population: This game offers no Left handed controls. The game requires you to use the Circle Pad with your left hand and the stylus with your right hand; however if you are Left-handed, like I am, it's awkward to use the stylus in your non-dominant hand (Try writing anything with you opposite hand and you will see what I mean). This is even more baffling since the face buttons and the R button don't do anything, so to make them movement and strafing as well would have been an easy fix (even if using ABXY would offer less control than the Circle Pad). Left Handed users CAN get use to this control scheme, but it always felt like I was less effective at the game because I'm using my weaker hand to do precise shooting. The second issue is with the game's length. Even with the mind set that this is an arcade shooter, the game is incredibly short. There are only 5 Stages and the entirety of the game can be beaten in a little more than half an hour. There are 3 different difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard and the Hard difficulty setting is going to put you through the meat grinder) which does extend the game's longevity, but whether that is worth it's price is up to each gamer to decide.

Liberation Maiden can be described using only one word: Fun. The entire game is a blast to play and really recaptures the essence of arcade shooters. The only real sticking point with this game is its length verses its price. The game is designed to be played over and over again for high scores and unlocking pieces in the gallery, but for something that can be beaten in half an hour it's tricky to recommend at it's normal price of $8. I got the game while it was on sale for $3 and for it's content and how much fun it was to play I think I got my money's worth. For it's normal price I give the game a Recommendation; however, if it goes on sale again or permanently drops in price to $3-4, then it is Highly Recommended.

Until next time.

-Crescent, Stay classy Japan.

No comments:

Post a Comment