A few months ago we reviewed Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception, and in that review I stated that it was great, arguably a game without any flaws, thanks to its standout fully voiced dialog scenes, and the writing that accompanied it, however I did also state that it is not a game for everyone. This is because Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is fundamentally a visual novel first, and a SRPG second. Whether that’s good or bad depends on if you are comfortable with lots of text before getting into any action, and the sequel, Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth the same… actually, scratch that. It requires more comfort with long dialog heavy cut-scenes. In discussions with other members of our editorial team I referred to it as a visual novel first, second, third, and a SRPG forth. It’s a game that requires a lot of patience, and time. During the review process I spent more of my time playing on the Vita while capturing footage on the PS4, and on numerous occasions I just left the PS4 capturing dialogue scenes for the review while I did other things. With some of these scenes lasted more than an hour. That’s an hour plus of just sitting and reading dialog while listening to the captivating voice acting and sound effects… I personally liked it as it felt like watching anime on the tele, but I can tell that this particular aspect of the game is definitely going to scare away some potential players.
So the first thing you should do if you’re considering buying this game, is ask yourself if you are capable of sitting through the games many long dialog scenes. An easy way to evaluate that is to know if you like watching anime, then if you prefer Japanese dub over English, and lastly how long you spend watching anime in a single sitting. These questions should help you understand if this is a game for you. If you like watching anime with Japanese dub over long periods at a time then you my friend are going to like this game a lot.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth continues from where Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception ended. In this sequel, civil war is on everyone’s lips now that a usurper has seized the Yamato throne and seeks to conquer all before him. The plot sees Koun leave the party after losing Haku as the politics and unrest threatens everything around them. In this entry all the plot-lines from the previous game are tied up nicely, and the journey to the end was a deeply engrossing one. The atmosphere created in this game is easily one of the best I’ve experienced to date. The music is magnificent, and so are the sound effects. And as any visual novel fan would know. Audio is a primary factor for a great visual novel, and this game has it in spades. This exceptional audio also extends to the characters, who are all extremely well voiced, and they each have a certain amount of debt that can effortless draw in the most passive, or none gamer, as this is probably one of the best games for viewing/ Streaming… couple game night anyone?
Graphically it’s pretty much identical to Mask of Deception. Which isn’t a bad thing, because that was a very pretty game. The character portraits used in the dialog scenes are all very high quality. I would have preferred to have their lips and eyes move, especially due to the length of the dialog segments, but I’m not gonna bump the game for this because of just how good the audio is. Oh and I feel It should also be noted that the artstyle used in the visual novel segments, lends itself well to the healthy amount of fanservice the game. As for the battle segments, the game uses these adorable chibi style models on grid based maps. This is what would be considered standard in this particular genre, and Mask of Truth doesn’t break that tradition. As you play you’ll battle in different location that I found to be detailed enough to help set up the ideal atmosphere for the plot.
The gameplay sections, though not the primary focus of the game are still so well done that it got me thinking that this game could be split into two games, that would still do pretty well on their own. Controls are very standard in battle, like; X to select an option, circle to cancel, left joystick for selecting a spot on the grid, and right for moving the camera. This is very simple, right? Good. Just don’t go rushing through your decisions. There’s a lot that can go wrong all from one rushed decision. Battles are not timed, so take your time and strategize the best moves to ensure your opponents demise. This is a game that requires patients and lots of thinking to get the best results.
The game even has your standard information glossary that covers quite a lot about the game’s lore and characters, Which are a must have for games like these that bury the player in deep engrossing plot. It also has more battle options including battling your team, and replaying past battles for experience. Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth even has cross save. A feature that has been increasingly missing from many new games that are available for both the ps4 and PS Vita. The game even allows for players who played the previous game to import their save data before beginning. And yes, you are going to need to play the first game before playing this one, because this game is story driven, and knowing the story of the previous game increases the enjoyment of this one.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is a perfect sequel to Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. It continues the engrossing tale started in the first game, all the while improving on certain gameplay elements to build a setting that should captivate most who play it. Improvements like the enhanced battle mechanics that allow for certain characters to team up for devastating attacks. The game is arguably perfect if only if you are interested in reading hours of dialog before you even need to press a single button. If that sounds appealing then make sure you get the previous game, complete it, then get this one. If not then this is not the game for you.
The copy of Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth used for this review was supplied to us by it’s Publisher Atlus USA.