Review: Ray Gigant (PSV/PSTV)

ray-gigant-review-banner-psv-yr10

Platforms:

  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
Title: Ray Gigant
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.4 GB)
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: acttil, llc.
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment / Experience Inc.
Original MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: T
Ray Gigant is exclusive to PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation Vita download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

The world of Ray Gigant tells the story of Earth as it’s attacked by the Gigants – giant monsters who have come to destroy the world. Humanity’s last hope lies in Yorigami, a sentient life form that allows humans to wield great power to destroy the Gigants.

Gameplay:
The game starts with the story of Ichiya Amakaze, a survivor of a major attack by the Gigants in Tokyo. Amakaze was able to retrieve an ancient relic from the museum, which turned out to be a Yorigami. Now, Amakaze is one of only several humans who have the ability to act as host to the Yorigami.

The Yorigami appear as different jewelry or medallions, but host a powerful life force. In the game, humanity has created cloned Yorigami that your allies use to fight.

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Probably around twenty hours in, around Chapter Eight or Nine, you will get to play as a new Yorigami user’s story from their perspective, and I’m pretty sure that there is also at least one more character story later on as well.

The game itself is primarily a dungeon crawler with a turn-based battle system. At different times within the game, you’re able to explore the different dungeons which are not randomized.

Also, unlike other recent dungeon crawlers, there aren’t any random battles. Enemies in the dungeons are indicated by a floating icon and are divided into four different varieties: light, regular, heavy, and deadly (bosses).

… potions and food are unlimited …
The dungeons are not particularly special. The first time you enter a one, the details of the dungeon are hidden, save for enemy and treasure locations. You are able to leave at any time by accessing the map screen. However, once you leave and return, the enemies are revived.

So far, each dungeon I’ve explored had only one save spot. These allow you to revive all of the enemies, so if you want to grind levels, you can use this feature rather than leaving the dungeon and returning again.

The battle system is pretty unique in that each time you complete a battle, your HP is returned to its maximum. Also, potions and food are unlimited, so you can use as much health replenishing items as you wish.

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When you start the battle, you will notice that there is an Action Point (AP) gauge that is set at one hundred. Each action you take expends some AP, so you can only do a limited number of actions per turn, up to five maximum. The AP gauge is shared across yourself and two other teammates.

I find that the turn-based battle system here is pretty fun overall, but it can be frustrating because it’s not very customizable. You are able to switch back and forth between your teammates to put their attacks in a queue.

Each team member will go in a seemingly random order and dispense all of their attacks. While you can choose to target a specific enemy, you cannot spread out your attacks to multiple enemies.

… no way to optimize your attacks …
One very frustrating problem with the battle system is that when I had a specific set of enemies, I could not command one member to focus on a particular enemy while my other characters focused on other enemies.

When you program your attacks, all team members will attack the single enemy until they’re destroyed and you have no control over which enemy is attacked next. The lack of specific enemy targeting creates a problem when you have an enemy with a specific weakness.

If you have a team member with an attack that exploits that weakness, you cannot ensure that the correct attacks hit that specific enemy. In other words, there is no way to optimize your attacks to make them the most effective.

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Another pretty cool aspect to the battle system is that you will eventually get a Parasitism mode which can be good or a bad thing. When you reach a certain point in the game, each battle will increase a Drive percentage which is displayed before each turn.

When your Drive gets to 100%, parasitism takes over and the AP gauge becomes irrelevant. However, in parasite mode, each attack consumes health, so you must either use food, magic, or attacks that replenish health after each turn.

Parasitism can also backfire when you get attacked first by an enemy, taking your health too low, and your character’s queued attacks take your health all the way down to zero before you have a chance to revive.

… engage this mode and defeat monsters easier …
If you are infected with Parasitism, you can use some of your SP gauge to cancel the effect. Also, if you’re able to make it through the battle, you will automatically end Parasitism mode and your Drive will be reset to zero.

Later on in the game, you will also be able to enter Parasite mode by pressing the trigger button. So if you’re running low in AP, you’ll be able to engage this mode and defeat monsters easier.

The last unique aspect of the battle system is the Slash Beat Mode (SMB). This is similar to a rhythm game, where you must align floating circles with their targets.

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You can enter this mode by hitting one of the trigger buttons when you have fifty or one-hundred points on your SP gauge. The difference between the half and full attack is how long the SMB Rhythm portion lasts.

If you successfully hit near or on the target, each will count towards the effectiveness of an attack. The attacks you use are the same as your normal attacks, and can be assigned to one of three buttons in the main menu.

Later on in the game, you will gain access to a second command set which can also be accessed within SMB mode as well. For example, you have regular attacks at first, and you can map them to the Square or Circle buttons.

Later on, you will gain access to heavy and elemental attacks, so you will be able to map those to your alternate command set for different types of enemies.

… create new weapons out of your skill tree …
Aside from the dungeon crawling portion of the game, there is also a sort of affinity system where you choose dialog options with the different love interests in the Academy.

There doesn’t seem to be any sort of meter that shows your affection with the different characters, but it does seem to affect how the story plays out.

The character progression system also has its strengths and weaknesses. As far as weapons, there aren’t really any shops or anything like that in the game – it’s all controlled from the character status screen.

The weapon system and the character leveling system are combined. As you defeat enemies and open treasure boxes, you’ll get various gems that allow you to level up your weapon types and crystals that allow you to create new weapons out of your skill tree.

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I’ve never played a game before that managed weapons the way this one does. I’ve had plenty of games that used skill trees, but never have they reused the various tree elements to strengthen and create new weapons.

The weapon system also kind of has a randomness to it because all you can really do is spend a specific amount of crystals to draw a new weapon. Sometimes you’ll get a new one, while other times it will simply enhance a weapon you are already carrying.

One problem that I had with the weapon system is that at certain times I’d get a dialog that stated that my character could not draw any more weapons at the current level.

… no shortage of crystals …
However, there’s no indicator on the screen that I could see that indicates whether or not I can draw another weapon. So, while the weapon crafting system is unique, it’s also pretty confusing.

As for the other aspects of the character, such as spells, skills, and increases to character attributes, they are also managed by the gems and crystals. However, the gems in the other areas are used to reallocate the crystals you have spent previously.

The only issue with the reallocation system is that it seems as though there is no shortage of crystals. I was able to max out my character without much trouble so I really don’t understand what is the point of redoing the skill tree.

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When you’re not inside a dungeon, you’re not very free to really do much. While the dungeons are in a first person perspective, the outside of the dungeon areas are kind of a menu-driven section where you choose which room to go into.

When you go into various rooms, you may or may not encounter a chance to have dialog with your teammates and other people in the Academy. Normally, after all the dialog sequences are over, you really don’t have much you can really do except save the game and continue with the story.

At certain points between chapters, you’re able to re-enter the dungeon for training. When this happens, some of the treasure chests are respawned, giving you the opportunity to get more resources for character development.

Overall, the gameplay is pretty good with some annoyances. I didn’t find it to be too grindy, which is good since there aren’t any different difficulty settings that I could find. I think if you’re a big fan of dungeon crawlers, this might be a good one for the collection, but it’s best to keep your expectations in check.

… pretty much the same dungeon with a different layout …
Visuals:
As far as visuals go, they’re pretty standard for dungeon crawlers on the Vita. The graphics in the first person perspective dungeon exploring are nothing to write home about.

In fact, for the first three of four dungeons, it’s pretty much the same dungeon with a different layout. It’s not until much later in the game, probably around Chapter Eight or Nine, where you begin to get to explore different-looking dungeons.

On the other hand, the graphics in the battle system are pretty interesting. The main characters are presented in 2D but are in a third person perspective.

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When you’re selecting your actions before executing the attack, each character is animated in sort of a unique way. The framerate seems a bit low, so the character animations look a bit slow and choppy.

The enemies in the battle system are also kind of unique as well. Each enemy looks like it’s created from a series of 2D pieces that move independently, so it kind of gives each enemy like a strange animated effect.

The animations of the enemies remind me of the animations you see in LittleBigPlanet, except with a more cel-shaded look.

As for the hand-drawn sections of the dialog portions of the game, I found the character art style to be pretty neat looking.

… only Japanese voice tracks …
Audio:
The soundtrack is good, but nothing too outstanding. The dungeon music got a bit repetitive, so I wish they would have switched it up a bit through the various dungeons. I think I’m around chapter nine, and up until that point, the dungeon music has been the same for all that time.

As far as the voice acting, only Japanese voice tracks are available and the game is subtitled. There isn’t a whole lot of spoken dialog, so it shouldn’t be too big of a deal for people who prefer to have English voice tracks.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
I would say that if you’ve played all of the other dungeon crawlers on the Vita/PS TV and want more, this might be an interesting one to play for the story.

While there’s nothing really groundbreaking in the game, it does seem to have some unique battle mechanics. If you’re looking for tons of character customization and deep battle mechanics, this may not be the one you want to get.

Overall, Ray Gigant is a pretty unique and interesting game with a pretty good story. It has a few unique aspects to the battle system, but also has some annoyances, particularly the inability to target specific enemies with specific attacks.

There was nothing in the game that really drove me too crazy, so overall, I guess I’d say it’s a pretty mediocre experience.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

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Written by Jason Honaker

Jason Honaker

A software developer for over 15 years, originally from St. Louis, MO and currently living in Seattle, WA. Started gaming in 1979 on the Atari 800 8-bit PC. I play all sorts of games, but am partial to RPGs and 3rd person brawlers and shooters.

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