Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars Review
There is something to be said about the basic ebb and flow that is enjoyed by the JRPG gamer. Most of the time the games that are enjoyed in the genre are nowhere near stellar, life changing, gameplay re-defining events that most people think they are. The true comfort food of the JRPG gamer is the more forgettable instances in the field, something that will invoke the thoughts of anime that inspired it and give enough chances to level grind all of free time away, all the while giving enough neat and different ideas that they have an excuse to drive the player forward. Conception is, by this definition, the best in the forgettable genre to come along in years.
The central idea is that the player character continually breeds children that go into randomly generated dungeons with him and the “mother” in hopes of clearing monsters that are terrorizing the population. The neat parts come from the way that the off-spring react to the parents relationship to each other, their current stats and levels, and several other less obvious things. This makes all of the spawn slightly different, and the levels of the “parents” right around the verge of unlocking a new class always a gamble because their stats may just not add up—for some reason— that time. Interestingly the little ones also have a max level, and sort of show the extent of their worth when they hit it; this makes the only option to literally release them into the wild by granting them their “independence” and creating more in their stead.
One of the key parts of creating the child is the female’s relationship with the player character, which can be modified through various in game events—basically making the non-battle sections of this game akin to some of the more mundane dating games that are popular in Japan. For something that is used to flesh a game out around the edges it is a nice bonus, as most of the dungeon crawling –that you will spend most of you time doing—is kind of forgettable and bland, even though it still suffers from the problem of two people who are clearly interested in each other not being able to express that for, you know, plot reasons.
The strangest thing is that everything seems to coalesce into a thick chunky blob of entertainment that lives and dies by every piece that reaches its tendrils inside of one another. It is one of the rare moments in gaming that the arguments for and against the game fall into the same exact place depending on what you are discussing, mainly in that the people who developed this game knew exactly what they were doing from the word go. At no point does the game make any qualms about who it is or what it is about, and most of the time everything that it attempts to be “thinly veiled” is done less skillfully then nudity in Game of Thrones, which just means that the game was designed directly with fans in mind. If you, like me, are looking for an RPG to fill some time while not taking itself too seriously this is just the game for you; if you are looking for the next Square/Enix master piece you might want to look elsewhere.