June 11, 2017

Blue Reflection Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 6:29 pm by riulyn

Since this game has been announced for English release, I feel like maybe I should write up my thoughts on it? I’ll definitely forget by the time it releases in English to write this up, since I’ve already mentally moved on even after a few weeks.

To be brief, the game is really not memorable at all. Except maybe for very nice-looking character models and for being very easy. It’s not to say that I didn’t have fun playing it, but it was an overall rather shallow experience and so much…so much more could have happened.

Gameplay breakdown

Basically the game is set up with main story segments and free time, in which you do quests and deepen bonds with the girls you become friends with in school. Each story segment is gated by a certain level and reputation point requirement. Leveling up happens by deepening bonds with your friends and getting “fragments”. Reputation is gained by doing quests. Rinse and repeat until the end of the game.

Story

The main character Hinako just started high school. She really loves ballet but recently suffered a knee injury that, even with rehab, didn’t get better so she can’t dance anymore. On her first day she finds her friend Sanae who seems to be acting weird. Hinako is transported into another world. Two mysterious girls, Yuzu and Lime, grant her the power to transform into a Reflector (a magical girl basically). There are powerful enemies that appear to attack the school for some reason. Basically the other world is connected to people’s emotions. Hinako and co. go into the other world to collect emotion fragments and talk people down after they have a highly emotional episode that causes them to get stuck in that emotion. They need to gather enough power to defeat the enemies that attack the school.

Basically make friends, power up, and eventually beat on bad guys. It is, in my opinion, a very shallow main story. There are a few emotional moments but it really only happens at the end. The development between the main trio isn’t bad but outside of that is rather lacking.

Battle System

Who really plays a game like Blue Reflection for its battle system? It’s a pretty standard Gust-type turn-based battle system. On the top of the screen you’ll see a timeline which will tell you who’s turn is next and when. Attacks and skills cause a certain amount of delay before your next turn. You and your enemies can also use attacks and/or skills to knock back someone else on the timeline.

Later on when you’ve saved some girls and they’ve become part of your “crew”, they can help out in battle individually or as a collective. None of the mechanics are hard to understand.

The one thing that’s a bit weird that certainly lowers the difficulty of the game is that HP and MP are recovered completely after any battle. Basically you get all these skills that you barely ever need to use because you can just use a mega powerful all-enemy attack and wipe them all out in one turn. And then use that again for every random encounter if you wish.

Quests and “bonding episodes”

Quests are pretty basic in this game. They are basically 1) hang out with new friend 2) defeat a set number of enemies or gather a set number of times in a certain area 3) deliver items 4) do certain things in battle. They are super fast to complete, at least, though at the same time they aren’t very interesting.

Bonding episodes happen when you have enough “affinity” to trigger them. Basically each girl you friend have something that they are troubled by at some point. Completing these episodes helps you gain fragments which you use to level up and unlock skills. Fragments also can be equipped on learned skills for additional benefits specific to the skill or just general character boosting. I personally found the bonding episodes to be too short. The dates that you grind through to get enough affinity to further a bond (it felt like grinding to me) were good, I guess, for learning some character preferences. But seriously felt like “okay we have this set scenario with buying a watch or a bag…let’s insert character quirk here”.

My opinions on the game

I initially got the game because it looked cute and it wasn’t too expensive to import. The PS4 version for some reason was like $55 before shipping and I was already ordering soundtracks off of Amazon.jp, so shipping wasn’t a huge deal to me even if it was a lot in the end (I was going to pay for it one way or another…and it came in right away). I probably would have waited on the game if the timing hadn’t been right. But I think it ended up being better this way because the game disappointed me in the lack of feels I really got for any character outside of the main trio, but it was good Japanese practice for me. It ended up being a “I’ll just play for a bit before going to work or post work” game and even with doing extra quests (I had way more reputation points than needed) and maxing a good number of the bonding paths (also optional) I think I maybe spent 25 hours on the game? I kind of “grinded” for bonding episodes towards the end so I don’t really have a good sense of how long that extended my play time. Either way, it felt like a short game, even if it somehow wasn’t.

Like I’m glad that the game was all girls and girls being friends and girls not being friends and just girls being girls. It was like a girl harem game since Hinako is kind of the center of all these one-on-one outings. But it really could have had better bonding episodes. Or at least longer ones where more stuff happens? I feel like it was semi-okay for Nights of Azure to be short because it had a focus, but this game really didn’t need to be focused. It wasn’t what we came for. So I can’t really recommend it… It’s just kind of a meh, forgettable game in the end. Fun enough to mess around in, but maybe if you have the time and not a long backlog…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: