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.
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?
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.
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.