Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth PS4 Review
It should be noted that Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is a direct sequel to the amazingly well told Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. If you have not played that game, it should be played through in its entirety before this title is picked up. Both are extremely similar mechanically, and should truly be played one after another.
Aside from having one of the most unpronounceable names in recent memory, Utawarerumono is a one of the more memorable visual novels to have made its way across from Japan. Scattered through are fun and interesting tactical style RPG battles that can be replayed at any time the player is given a break from the dialog, meaning that a change in the pace is never really that far away. With this mixture, what is left is one of the more memorable stories in possibly the last decade.
For those unaware a visual novel is pretty much what it sounds like, a novel that is accompanied by a series of character drawings and animations—with the emphasis on the novel. The game is well thought out, deeply explored, and takes its time creating characters that are almost impossible to forget, even though at moments it can feel like it does take its time doing so. In terms of length the section of the game where it informs the player of what happened in the last game, give a basic introduction to current characters, and battle mechanics took roughly two hours.
Most of the length of the game comes from the depths that the game is willing to go to with storytelling, which is honestly not that odd considering the medium. This is not to say that the combat in the game is lacking in any right, as anyone who has really enjoyed any tactical RPG since Final Fantasy changed the genre will find themselves at home here as well.
Interestingly Utawarerumono was released on both the PS4 and the Vita, and supports the cross-save feature (in the US), something that has not been heavily touched on since it was first introduced several years ago. While it isn’t the strongest selling point, as it does require a player to purchase a second copy of the game, it is nice to see that some companies that are releasing games across multiple consoles are at the very least making an effort to allow their fans to pick up and play wherever they want.
The Utawarerumono does have a high barrier of entry, which cannot be denied. At times the game is very Japanese in the way that it presents itself, it can be overly long in the novel sections, and the fighting sections can sometimes feel like they are forever apart. But when all is said and done what is left is a game that is mainly about storytelling and player experience, and once that hurtle can be cleared the rest feels like nothing. For anyone willing to put in the time and effort Utawarerumono does not disappoint, and is honestly willing to reward for the diligence.