Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Game Review: Lux-Pain (Its a Rollercoaster!)

Long ago I read about Lux-Pain in Nintendo Power. The premise seemed pretty interesting; some sort of negative parasitic emotion named “Silent” is infecting People. My character (your average quiet, kinda broody, dreamy looking grey haired guy) Saijo Atsuki is part of an anti-Silent group named FORT and has the power to see people's emotions and purge them of evil ones.

Awesomesauce! I thought. So as soon as the game came out I got it... I could barely stay awake through the first 2 chapters it seemed like a total snooze fest, A whole lotta dialoguing and monologue-ing with very little of anything else, and I quickly set it aside to play everything and anything except it. However every time I went to get another game I'd see it there and much like the little emotional wormy-things that infect people in the game, it kept trying to worm its way back into my DS.

So I finally gave in and started playing it again. This time I stuck through the dull parts and I was rewarded. Twenty-Two and a half hours later (I take my time when I play games, I don't like rushing) the credits were rolling and I was spent.

The game is divided into Episodes and up till about episode 5 or 6, it’s not that great but stick through it and it picks up and sucks you in.
Now I'm not going to lie, in order to get through this game you have to have a few qualifications.

  • First, the ability to sit through massively long and pointless exchanges between high school students and their angst and/or love of food.
  • Two, The ability to look at nonsense sentence and turn it into sense (previous experience with bad subtitles preferred)
And there you go point 2 is the greatest downfall of this game.
The game is mostly text, an interactive novel along the lines of Phoenix Wright (without the spiky hair the "Objections” and Edgeworth's awesome cravat) and Time Hollow (another underappreciated game, more on that later).

There is quite a bit of voice acting throughout the game and its well done, VERY well done. I think only one character didn't speak quite like I thought he would based on looks but aside from that, the voices suited the characters, the emotions were well done, no over acting or "phoning it in". However, The volume is really low even with it up all the way and what the characters say does NOT match what is written at 99% of the time.

The localization of this game is what kills it. The text goes from being misspelled to being ridiculous and undecipherable. It’s pretty bad. For example, a female cop is consistently referred to as "he".  Either they screwed up or she's a trap! Lol

If you can get past this HUGE blemish in the game it’s got a good story with a few surprises and twists. I don't want to give spoilers or anything so I'll just say that just when you think you've figured something or someone out, the game throws you for a crazy loop (crazy in a good way)
The story is full of a wide range of emotions, sad moments, funny moments, touching moments and the characters are pretty well fleshed out personality-wise.

Once I picked it up the second time I couldn't put it down and played it straight through to the end over 2 days and since I did miss a few things here and there I've actually restarted it again.
Of course, when I say “played” I use the term loosely.

Game play boils down to scratching over people’s faces when you are told to in order to uncover the “worms” and then you hold the stylus down on said “worm” until you extract it and it becomes a random word or phrase which you then imprint on the person to find out their jumbled up and sometimes pretty twisted thoughts. Occasionally the phrases you extract combine to reveal a bigger infection, an actual  “Silent” and you must defeat it by tapping or rapidly scratching at glowing squares that appear on the touch screen”. Not exactly the deepest or most challenging game play but it works well to break up the story.

My biggest problem (aside from the localization which I got used to after a while) is a problem I've had with quite a few games lately...the ending. (Don't worry I'm not going into spoilerific detail) I'll just say that this game suffers from the "I spun this story and now have no idea how to wrap it up" syndrome.

And that's why I call it a rollercoaster.
Starts out bad, picks up, localization drags it down, story brings it up, and the ending drags it down again.
Could it have been better? Yes.
Does it deserve the awful reviews it got? Yes and No
Would I recommend this game to others? Most definitely, if you get past the rough spots it’s really great.
Would I buy a remake of it with good localization? Day One Purchase.

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