Video Game (Demo) Review: Conception II

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Make love, not AND war!

On a slow news day, you’ll hear reports about every cat stuck in a tree in town. The same applies for the transitionary period between anime seasons when everything is ending and there’s nothing left to blog about. Not that we haven’t been bringing out posts every day, mind you. I’d usually be writing about Phi Brain at this time, but there are no more episodes for me to comment on (as much as I loathe to admit that). So why not review a demo of one of those Japanese games where you laugh from just hearing the concept of it?

I had first heard of Conception from Karakuri as one of the many strange games she’s come across. At the time it wasn’t localized, so I just knew it from secondhand stories. It’s a mix of a dating sim and a turn-based dungeon-crawler that has the novel concept of forming an army made of…your offspring. Yes, it is your task to “classmate” (i.e. have sex with) all of your female companions to create a legion of babies to help you fight the monsters that plague the planet. There’s a lot of sidestepping here to dodge the whole explicit sex issue by saying the babies are technically monsters and having them pop out of little matryoshkas as fully formed toddlers. Fully formed toddlers with guns, swords, and sometimes (I still don’t know why) animal ears and/or tails. Regardless of whatever magical spin they put on, we all know what’s going on…and it ain’t exactly painting a picture of pure innocence.

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Some families go to Disney World. Others dive into the depths of life-threatening dungeons.

It’s an endlessly silly concept that I’m really surprised was deemed acceptable for us Westerners, but I’m glad we’re making progress. The more ridiculous Japanese games we get, the better. However, I doubt this will sell very much because the concept has a laserfocus on the otaku audience. Not everyone will feel comfortable with the whole classmating thing, the fact you get to have “touching” sequences with the heroines when you get close (it wasn’t shown in the demo, but they made sure to tell us), and the almost embarrassingly skeevy dialogue. To narrow that market down even more amongst those elect otaku, there’s no Japanese audio for hardcore fans of the original seiyuu. To narrow it down even more…it’s not a very well-designed game.

The demo starts (thankfully) at the beginning of the story, introducing you to this new, monster-fighting, baby-making school you’re a part of. You meet the main heroine and immediately see up her skirt. We’re off to a great start, aren’t we? The cutscenes actually drag on for quite a while before we get to do anything other than hit X until everyone shuts up. It’s pretty offputting, especially for a demo where they could easily give us an edited version with only the good bits.

They make up for these lengthy explanations by immediately allowing you to “classmate” with the girl you literally just met. You have thriplets off the bat and they’re ready to fight. Easy as pie. The joke is that she is not an exception: you can classmate with girls you’ve never even really spoken to. They will gladly accept your advances without any seduction whatsoever. I mean…that’s great, but really? No effort needed at all?

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Chlotz is a true bro.

Getting closer to them gives your offspring a boost, but my experience talking with the girls was frustrating at best. I tried speaking to Chloe first, saying “I came by to say hi” out of the options and had a nice conversation with her. I checked her status after and she was suddenly in a bad mood. The same thing happened with Narika. I don’t think I’m picking bad options either because the girls were responding positively. It’s a reallllyyy weird system. It’s disappointing that they give you all of these interesting girls to talk to and then the dialogue ends up being so stilted. As a result, the only satisfying part is making babies because you can choose their class and have them fight for you later on. At least that makes sense.

Unfortunately, the battle system isn’t much better. It’s alright, but they do a really bad job of teaching you everything by unloading info in a series of text walls and confusing diagrams. The babies group into units of 3, so you don’t even feel like each of your children have their own personalities. They’re just one hive mind. Similarly, you and your female companion attack at the same time.

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It looks like we’re fighting in a very large and empty tiled bathroom. Maybe we’re just lost in Ikea?

The core system is simple: you pick from 1 of 4 angles to attack your enemy (front, behind, or the two flanks). Enemies are weak from back attacks, but you get a chain combo and a speed boost if you attack from more risky positions where the enemy winds up for big attacks. Other than that, just about everything is the same as a typical turn-based RPG. It’s not very fun and doesn’t involve much strategy, from what I can see. The first dungeon spoiled me with tons of potions, so I didn’t have to strategize at all. Fighting monsters felt like a tedious grind and I was only level 5. Five levels in and it already felt like I was working too hard! That’s not a good sign.

It’s certainly not a broken game, but it certainly isn’t all that fun. The classmating concept is so scandalous that it brings a lot of joy in of itself. Even though interacting with your female classmates often doesn’t go as expected (while talking to Narika, Chlotz barged in and totally embarrassed her and put her in a bad mood…which wasn’t my fault at all), it’s a nice touch. You get a lot of options of girls to talk to right from the beginning if Fuuko isn’t your cup of tea as well. But then what’s the point of playing a mediocre dating sim with an okay battle system? It’d be better to either find a better RPG or a better dating sim…or a mix of both. I guess I’m saying that you should just go play Persona and pick up the demo to enjoy the temporary novelty of banging a bunch of girls you’ve just met and throwing an army of babies into a monster-filled dungeon. It’s one hell of a conversation starter at a party.

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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13 Responses to “Video Game (Demo) Review: Conception II”

  1. Karakuri says:

    Yes! I remember playing the first one and naming my children really stupid things! Good times.

    …The combat system wasn’t that great either in the first one. It really doesn’t really get more interesting, either. But you’re totally right about it being a fun concept (to talk about at least).

    • d-LaN says:

      I’ve seen ppl saying Conception I have better writing than Conception II. Kara, what do you think abt Conception II writing?

      Also there isn’t a Mahiru-like character in II right? Cause frm what I heard of her she pretty much an annoying b*tch.

      • Karakuri says:

        To tell you the truth, I got bored of Conception I (which maybe speaks for itself about the writing) part of the way through, and I have no interest in touching II. So I couldn’t really give you an assessment.

        I was never that annoyed by Mahiru. …Though to tell you the truth, I never really interacted with her. I went after the nun, the ojou-sama, the twins, the librarian and the genki girl for the most part (aka pretty much everyone other than her xD).

    • Overcooled says:

      Yes! I finally got to try it for myself! Ah, I lament not giving them dumb names now…especially since it was just a demo and there would be no time to ever regret it

      Well, guess I’m not missing much. Seems like they didn’t learn from their mistakes and just kept it the same. Still, it was cool to make an arm of babies for a bit!

  2. akagami says:

    Well, that’s an interesting concept. Let’s go around and classmate everyone! (it’s the 60s again).

    • Overcooled says:

      The concept alone was enough to sell me on it. Usually dating sim games try desperately to avoid even any mention of babies :B

  3. anaaga says:

    They will gladly accept your advances without any seduction whatsoever

    Bwahahahahahaha those sluts. Even my Sims are not this slutty (and I get slapped a lot too every time I want to do someone)

    • Overcooled says:

      These girls are ready to have sex and save the world. The world should be GRATEFUL that they’re this willing to have sex with me =w= You go, girls.

      Wow, didn’t know Sims had a system like that. I clearly have not played The Sims.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    It’s been a while since you wrote a post about a game, even if it’s a demo. I have to admit, the premise sounds odd but in a way, this makes me think of the Sims my brother and sister are so fond of but I never understood the appeal. Karakuri sure does run into some “interesting” games.

    • Overcooled says:

      It has! I usually take a long time to finish games due to school, and by then I feel like talking about the game isn’t as relevant :/ Feels nice to be able to talk about games again, even if it is just a demo.

      Yes, how fitting for me to post this on her birthday.

  5. d-LaN says:

    Wow, the reception to this game frm what I see on9 resemble Neptunia so much it hurts frm all the whining/dumb. You either will like it or hate it for various reasons. (Though bad writing, dub whining and ewmakingbabies are the most cited reasons)

    But apparently it sold pretty well in Japan.

    The character designs are pretty good though. I have my eyes on Fuuko, Torri, Chloe and Feene.

    • Overcooled says:

      I assume it’s selling well in Japan because it combines dating sims with fighting, and most popular games are just one of those things. Conception puts equal emphasis on both. It’s a great concept but ultimately ends up being mediocre because both aspects are just poorly designed in terms of game mechanics. The bad writing doesn’t help (although I suspect the dub is a lot worse than the original). I wanted to like this game so badly, too!

      I must say I really liked the character designs too. They’re all so cute!

  6. Kyokai says:

    This should have a nice boat ending. 😉

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