Published on November 24th, 2012 | by Duke0911
Review: Liberation Maiden
Developer(s): Level-5, Grasshopper Manufacture, and Vivarium Inc.
System: Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo eShop)
Release Date(s): May 31, 2012 (Part of Guild01, Japan), October 4, 2012 (Europe), October 25, 2012 (North America)
Guild01 is a compilation of four distinct games: Liberation Maiden, Aero Porter, Crimson Shroud, and Rental Bukiya de Omasse; each of which are designed by a different individual. For Japan, all games were released as one, but in North America, each game will be be released separately (with the exception of Rental Bukiya de Omasse, which is currently the only title not to be announced for Western release). The first of these games to be released in the West, Liberation Maiden, which was designed by Goichi Suda; is now available on the eShop, but is it decent enough to try?
The story starts off with an animated cutscene of the newly appointed president of New Japan, Shoko Ōzora, paying respects to her father, who was assassinated during his term in office. While enjoying the peace and quiet, “the Dominion”, who have been waging war and conquering other countries, makes their move to conquer New Japan with their fleet of destructive armory. Being only a High School student, Shoko takes the responsibility of fighting the invaders herself; using the liberator, “Kamui”, and guidance from her First Secretary and Guardian, Kira. The story overall is average, in that it works, but it’s nothing spectacular. The voice acting, however, is quite impressive, and the cutscenes, created by Studio BONES, are also pleasing to the eye. Though there are only a handful of these in the entire game, any fan of Japanese anime will surely appreciate the work put into these. In fact, the overall presentation, musical scores, and graphics of the game is nice, though the 3-D effect is almost nonexistent.
If you’ve played either Zone of the Enders, or Sin & Punishment, this game will no doubt be easy to pick up. You control Shoko and “Kamui’s” movement with the circle pad, flying through the air the entire time, and after holding forward for a while, your top speed increases. Shooting is done by holding the stylus on the touch screen, and moving it around to control the reticule on the top screen. Depending on your weapon equipped, you’ll either lock on to multiple targets with missiles, or fire a constant beam of energy. How much energy you can use depends on a circular gauge that surrounds your health gauge, but that’s not all. This energy can also act as Deflector Nodes, taking hits for you while reducing the size of the circular gauge. If you’re out of energy, obviously you can’t attack, but you can get more. In order to do so, you simply have to shoot enemies, projectiles, etc, in order to start a multiplier. The higher the number, the more energy you receive. This also accounts for the blade, which has its own separate gauge, and can be used to clear out dozens of enemies and destructible objects. The only drawback is that when used, it can’t damage bosses or lesser spikes, which would be helpful in hectic situations. There is another use for the blade, however, it rarely happens. If you’re hit with an attack that would normally finish you off, the Liberator will instead counter with the blade. Extremely useful, but again, it’s a rare occurrence.
There are a total of five stages in the game, and they follow the same general format. You’re given three missions, and at the end of each mission you’re are tasked with destroying one of the Lesser Spikes mentioned earlier. Once you take down all three, you must take down the Greater Conduit Spike, and finish it off with a situational move known as the Sacrifice Drive. With the exception of the final stage, which has one of the most challenging fights I’ve ever come across in any game, this is how the game is played. There are side quests in the first four stages, and they change depending on what difficulty you’re playing on (Easy, Normal, Hard). I find that that the variety of side quests is nice, but I question why the same treatment wasn’t given to the main missions of the game.
Without a doubt, the lack of content really hurts the overall experience of the game. You can easily blaze through the main game on any difficulty in less than an hour. There’s a built in achievement system where you can earn “Honors” after meeting certain criteria. With these honors you can view character artwork and the animated cutscenes. You can also play any stage freely to try and beat your best times and scores. After playing the game for about five hours, there was nothing else to do as far as new content. Granted, the game overall is enjoyable, but I was left wanting more from it.
Liberation Maiden, as a standalone title, is an okay game. It’s presentation is pleasing to the eye, the gameplay is solid, and presents a well balanced challenge to players. However, as far as content goes, it’s very disappointing. Once you finish the main game, there’s very little to do aside from trying to beat your times and scores. Though this game was created to be part of a compilation, which may explain why there’s not a lot in terms of extras in this game, you can’t help but get the feeling of wanting more once you finish.
+ Beautiful presentation
+ Solid gameplay
+ Great music
– Lacks extra content
– Weak 3-D effect
– Short length
– Repetitive at times
Final score: 3.75 out of 5