JP title: 解放少女
Honestly, I originally wasn’t even going to review this one since it’s neither VN, nor JRPG, so I figured many of you really wouldn’t be interested in it. But then I suddenly had the urge to write something, so here I am, writing about an action/shooter game I beat recently. Totally exploring new horizons with the blog, yessir! Breaking all the rules! PLEASE BE EXCITED.
Also, I guess it can’t hurt to have one more review of a relatively lesser known 3DS title that may or may not get lost among all the bigger games. I mean, Crimson Shroud was also excellent and I barely ever see people talking about it! Which is a shame.
So, let’s talk butts.
I mean, storyline. Liberation Maiden starts off with a premise that is so outrageous I can’t help but love it to death. So, get this. You take on the role of a young lady called Oozora Shouko who becomes the president of New Japan and fights evil in her flying mecha robot thingamajig for great justice. This is because her dad, the previous president passed away. But that’s really not important right now because you’re here for two things, the high-speed chaotic action gameplay and the lovely skin tight bodysuit, not necessarily in that order, mind you.
In terms of gameplay, LM is mostly a touch screen-focused affair, so be prepared to gently caress that lower screen with the stylus. And I do mean gently, otherwise you might end up like me: despite being as careful as possible, after only an hour of play, my screen gained a respectable collection of scratches, primarily due to two things (however! keep in mind that I have a screen protector installed on mine, which, from what I’m told, scratches far more easily than the actual screen, so it might have just been me).
The first is that shooting enemies is done by pressing the stylus to the touch screen (targeting), then releasing it to fire. You can target multiple enemies at the same time if you hold the stylus down and sweep across the screen, so that once you release it, Shouko will be shooting missiles at all of them at once, Zone of the Enders style. Once enemies grow in numbers, you’ll pretty much be scratching with your stylus all across the screen to be able to catch and target all of them. You’ll basically be holding the 3DS with your left hand while constantly having the stylus in your right in order to target and shoot things — this control scheme feels weird at first and takes some getting used to, that much I’ll admit, and on higher difficulties, it might even frustrate. My wrist actually started hurting after a while. Also, from what I can tell, there is no option for left-handed gamers, either, so if you’re a lefty, that’s something to keep in mind.
The second thing that might make your touch screen weep is the so-called Sacrifice Drive, which is a gimmicky technique used at the end of each level to deliver the finishing blow to the boss — you basically draw lots of circles on the touch screen in rapid succession to symbolize the drilling movement of Shouko’s special move. So that’s sort of an “I really don’t wanna do this to my poor screen” moment, every time it happens. On the flip side, every time you do this, kickass music plays in the background as you take down the big bad boss, so at least it’s satisfying… in a way.
Combat is based on the following mechanic: the more you go on the offense, the more vulnerable you become. Shouko’s mech has a bunch of shards floating around it that are used both for deflecting attacks and shooting enemies, so the more you use up to attack, the less will remain to protect you, consequently forcing you to think twice before spamming missiles at the boss, because it just might fart some laser in your face as retaliation when your shields are down. Think of it as Shouko having to shed her protective skin in order to attack her foes, like a sci-fi snake of sorts. A very pretty snake with a lovely voice.
There are a total of five missions, each of them taking about 15 minutes to complete. As you can tell the game isn’t especially long.
However. Maybe it’s just me sucking at these type of games, but I found some of the bosses of the campaign fairly challenging, so that might definitely boost play time a bit, unless you switch down to Easy mode. Overall the game definitely shows its low-budget nature as there are no myriad of weapons (only two, the homing missiles and a laser), no overly complex boss encounters, and even the missions are fairly simple and straightforward, plus the 3D graphics are kinda, well, horrible — but that doesn’t stop them from being fun, especially if you enjoy soaring the skies and blowing shit up all over the screen. Also keep in mind, however, that for most people this game will probably be a one-time experience — unless you 1) want to try yourself on various difficulties or 2) have a grudge against your 3DS touch screen, you’ll probably beat this, uninstall it, then move on with your life.
Also, did I say the music was cool? If not I’ll say it now: the music is cool.
The English voice acting is actually really damn good as well (I’m mostly talking of Shouko’s voice here) — one of the best I’ve heard recently, in fact. Which was surprising, because I tend not to like English voice acting in Japanese games.
In any case, while Liberation Maiden is far from being a masterpiece, it’s still moderately fun as far as low budget titles are concerned. It has action, it has some nice music, *and* it has a cool, strong-willed heroine — its biggest shortcoming, all in all, is its length. Oh and the ending kinda sucks, It’s sort of a a major cliffhanger. So I guess it’s a good thing, then, that the game also has a visual novel sequel (at least I think it’s a sequel) called Liberation Maiden SIN, available for PS3 (and soon Vita) but only in Japanese.