Review: Citizens of Earth (PS4/PSV/PSTV)

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Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save No
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Citizens of Earth
Format: PlayStation Network Download (PS4 2.4 GB) (PSV 1.57 GB)
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Eden Industries
Original MSRP: $14.99 (US), €11.99 (EU), £9.49 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Citizens of Earth is also available on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Steam. It is NOT a Cross-Buy or Cross-Save title.
The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita download versions were used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Allow me to begin with mentioning that I haven’t played a full-fledged role-playing game in around fifteen years, and even back then I quickly realized the massive amount of time I would have to put into this genre if I had any hope of completing any of the games. I knew that I could easily lose myself into this genre and not have the time for any others.

Part of the problem is my need to scour every single inch of a level, open every chest, defeat every enemy, and collect everything. A condition known in the hallowed halls of PS Nation as ‘Joshing it.’ A certain level of restraint is necessary to eventually reach the end of these games, something that I can cope and deal with in other genres but in this one I would quickly become an RPG junkie. I always admired the genre from a distance yet never gave into its charms. But in a moment of either weakness or madness I asked to review Citizens of Earth and in doing so threw away all of my RPG abstinence chips.

Gameplay:
Within minutes of firing up the game I was laughing at the amusing dialogue and humorous characters. You play as the newly elected Vice President of the World and must take on a wide array of challenges and quests many of which involve fighting. But like any well known public officials who don’t like to get their own hands dirty or bruised, you call upon the brilliantly varied and somewhat stereotypical citizens to fight whilst you watch from the sidelines.

Each character has their own distinctive fighting style and abilities. Some dish out verbal abuse in favor of throwing a few punches which as we all discover in real life, can hurt just as much. A few characters can comfort others in the heat of battle or offer some ‘healthy’ baked goods like donuts and muffins. As their experience grows they’ll learn new moves and sometimes expand their other talents as well which is where this game really excels. Every single recruit can offer a unique talent which can be anything from ordering supplies from FEDUps, baking, researching enemies, faster transport around the map, and even altering the actual game itself.

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Battling isn’t the only way to increase your citizens experience as you can enroll them in school to let them earn it without needing to swap characters continually. Depending on the enemies some recruits are better than others at fighting or protecting the team. You can call on the Conspiracy Guy to find out about the enemies and their weaknesses or the VP’s own mother to give them a telling off.

… adventures quickly get crazier and often quite funny as the game progresses …

Some citizens have extraordinary powers that can be used to change many aspects of the game like a mascot that can change the difficulty and reward or penalize you depending on the setting. If you want it to stop raining just recruit the weather reporter to pick the forecast you desire. You can even speed up the game and change the camera height if you find the right people. But talking some of these citizens into joining your team isn’t always easy. Some require you to find certain object around the map, others ask that you complete a mini game. This can either be a fun little distraction or a troublesome bother due to difficulty or controls.

I’ve quickly noticed that the best thing about this game isn’t the funny and enjoyable story, but the citizens populating the bright and colorful world. It’s a brilliantly diverse line-up of people that make this game unique. I’m addicted to finding, recruiting, and even naming them all and with over forty different citizens it’s going to take a while.

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There are many activities that range from tracking down a lost manager of the coffee shop to finding out who started a protest against you and then putting an end to it. The adventures quickly get crazier and often quite funny as the game progresses, many of which are optional but rewarding. I’m not going to spoil the story or any of the jokes but I can assure you it’s a blast. You automatically accept quests as you talk to certain people and can have many on the go at any one time. You can easily keep track of your goals via the Agenda section in the Start menu so don’t worry about keeping track of what you should be doing all the time.

Controls are easy to master on either PlayStation system but I ended up favoring the Vita as you can quite often use the touch screen to make quicker selections and play wherever you wish. Now that I’m comparing the systems I should point out that this game is not Cross-Save compatible, which in my opinion is a huge disappointment as I would have loved to have swapped my save game between the two systems. For the people who choose the PS4 version it works great with remote play and seeing that the button configuration is identical, you won’t have any worries there either.

… not just an RPG but a whimsical look and everyday objects and professions…

There is an Auto-Save but I found myself doing a dual save routine, where you have two saves and alternate each time, so you always have a slightly older backup just in case you have worked yourself into a dead-end or bug. A trick I learned in the good old days of gaming when there was no proper testing or patching in games. This worked out for the best as I sadly ran into a part of the scenery and got my characters permanently stuck. The Auto-Save and my own last save had been done as I walked into the offending area. luckily I only lost an hour when I resorted to the older save. This was very annoying regardless and I’ve already mentioned it to the developer.

Citizens of Earth can entertain and amuse you frequently but if you allow it, can also become a monotonous trudge through scores of enemies as you try to reach the next objective. Finding the balance of difficulty and matching up the right recruits to the enemies can avoid much of the monotony. You can also attempt to run around some opponents therefore avoiding the confrontation completely, but in doing so you miss out on the XP. Equipping or using the right items can also help, especially later in the game.

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Visuals:
There have been a few other RPG’s with a cartoon styling but none as playful and fun as Citizens of Earth. With a style reminiscent of Earthbound seen through the lens of today’s generation of systems this is a welcome and refreshing change to the usual games I play.

I really like the visual style of this game, it feels so happy and fun. Every enemy and character is wonderfully animated and comical. It becomes not just an RPG but a whimsical look and everyday objects and professions. There is a healthy dose of graphical effects and lighting which add to the polish of this sometimes, simple looking game. It looks almost identical on the Vita and PS4 with the exception of softer shadows and smoke effects on the latter system.

… without Cross-Save I see little reason to double-dip …

My only annoyance in this entire game would be the psychedelic backgrounds when in battle, one or two of the groovy patterns leave me slightly nauseous and it can be distracting. This only occurs on the PlayStation 4 when playing on a big TV. This isn’t a problem on the Vita and might not bother other people, I just wanted to mention it. There are a few tiny bugs involving a few bits of background scenery being in the foreground layer by mistake. This has only been a small cluster of rocks on a beach and another insignificant item in a house.

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Audio:
With a fantastic and varied amount of voices and a surprisingly large amount of the text spoken as well this is definitely worth hearing. A few jokes don’t quite hit the mark but overall this is an amusing game. Audio and music are okay, there are some catchy little tunes but the real treat is the voice work. If the music does annoy you it can be adjusted in the menu.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
It feels good to finally playing an RPG after so long, it helped that Citizens of Earth is entertaining and fun. It sadly has a few bugs and glitches, some of which can ruin a game unless you remember to frequently save but hopefully they’ll be fixed in a patch soon. With a distinct graphical style and humor I quickly fell for its charms and got sucked into the genre once more. Thankfully it does enough to satisfy my fix without wanting to look for anything stronger. I’ll leave the hardcore RPG’s well alone for now at least.

I was lucky enough to get both the Vita and PS4 versions and while both are almost identical I would have to pick the Vita as my platform of choice. Sadly without Cross-Save I see little reason to double-dip, which is a shame. Regardless of your choice, it is a great game that’s an excellent entry point into the genre for young and old and has plenty of content to keep you playing for ages.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4 and the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

PS Vita Screenshots

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PS4 Screenshots

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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