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Review by Dustin Murphy
-Very easy control scheme to work
-Graphics remain almost identical across all platforms
-Recruiting characters adds high amounts of diversity between all characters
-Dialogue remains hysterical and well-knitted for its sense of humour
-PS Vita and PS4 do not share a cross-save function
-Framerate issues on PS Vita will be noticeable when exploring
Originally posted on Kickstarter as a game with a rather interesting concept, Citizen’s of Earth was one that did not reach its goals, and ultimately seemed to die out because of it. This time around it’s not the case thanks to well renowned publisher Atlus. Intent on seeing the game succeed, the developer took some notes that do deserve an honourable mention; first and foremost is the mentioning that fans of Earthbound will definitely be able to take a bit of a notice on the game itself. With revolving around recruiting new team members, taking on enemies in the open world, and even solving random “missions/quests” players will up their antee against any enemies that seek to stop them in their path to victory. But does a game that focus on classic takes and mechanics as well as other deciding benefactors help this game succeed?
Starting on a high-note you, the player, are introduced to the new Vice-President of the World whom has decided to return home and relax after a rather long campaign. Much like other classic RPG’s of the sort, the game allows for players to edit every characters name to their choice. Doing this allows players to enjoy a focus on a game that matters to them in some form of another. Though that’s only the tip of the iceberg. After naming your starting party, it’s time to take on one thing – righting all the wrongs in the world and ultimately making the citizen’s happy. This includes taking on mediocre quests such as finding a Mascot’s spirit, helping a woman get your publicity out with her pictures by showing off the good deeds done, and even helping programmers get their equipment back from their work. Though this is oddly not done by the Vice President himself as he stands back and lets his family and cohorts do the fighting all on their own. Sounds about right though for the personality that this character is making a satire of.
Much like in previous games, players will remain exploring, unlocking new zones, and even helping citizens with their troubles at hand. As stated this is all done by grinding out quests, which some actually require players to just grind out certain enemy types, but while doing so there is something helpful that happens. Players will find themselves earning experience in order to up their party members and making them all the more powerful. Doing this means new abilities to take out enemies, easier time fighting high level opponents, and well quite a bit more of a twist on what a character’s role is in the long run.
For some fans, they will easily be able to notice the games solid nod towards Pokémon with the games “Daycare” system, which in turn in this game is replaced by sending characters to class where they can learn new abilities, levelup, and even come out more useful than before. One thing that is troubling though is the game having a very limited party system, which leaves players with only three members, and sets them to focus on a team build throughout the game. Another one? Players will easily find themselves swapping out team members on a constant basis in order to fight through certain enemy types at an easier rate. This isn’t required, but definitely is advisable so that players know their strong and weak points through each zone as new enemies will be exposed through the adventure in doing so. This also means that players will get rather familiar with this games rather unique energy building combat system. Instead of starting out with a form of energy or ‘mana’, players are given an energy point, which allows for their party members to ‘cast’ a unique ability that pertains to them. This can include a healing ability, a stun ability, a defense ability or even something as simple as a elemental type ability that will cause enemies to find themselves quickly defeated and getting an energy restoral for using an enemy’s elemental weakness. It can easily said that this is a direct nod to some of the games most successful RPG’s and even a renowned card game to date.
Even as mentioned before, the game nodes towards some of the industries largest RPG’s out there such as Pokémon, Earthbound and for some fans the card game Magic the Gathering due to the games turn based energy system. During combat, players will notice the rather psychedelic and trippy wavy colour themes that will remind people of something from Earthbound or a rather trippy poster someone could buy at a store. Unfortunately, to some, this is quite easily a headache, which is something I learned all too quick after having spent countless hours between both the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 versions. Unfortunately, a lot of this was due to having to progress through the campaign on two different platforms to ensure a solid review could be given. Sadly, many of the games many focuses, features, and ideas are taken from other games, which works quite well. Though it would have been interesting to see a game that didn’t use as many classic tropes as it did and took to a system all of its own. Granted this has been done with a mind blowing art style that sticks out rather graciously against most modern games, and even gives players a classic feel for games that made themselves well known on the Sega and SNES days of 16-bit and 32-bit systems.
In a way the entire game itself is rather charming, fun, and even was a nice way to kick up my feet and explore a uniquely crafted world that offers plenty of diversity. Unfortunately all that is charming is not all that great. Some of the games features are ones that can be quite troubling and allow for folks to find themselves cringing in turn. Even with a rather unique art style that is always popping out, I found myself frustrated with the quest system, which fails to mention who players should turn their quest into, which means it’s time to do the retro way of quest tracking: pen and paper. Yes, you read that write, I ended up finding myself writing quite a few notes until I got the groove of what quest went where, and how to complete it. After having done each quest twice, it wasn’t hard to get the hang of things after sometime, but it did feel unnatural to have to keep my own personal quest tracker where the game should have provided one.
With all the aforementioned features and even interesting parts of the game, Citizen’s of Earth is fun as well as hysterical in many ways. Though at times it tries to take itself way too seriously or not serious enough, which at times makes the game feel unnatural or even a bit phony at times. Though with that aside the game does a great job at the nods it gives from other games and makes them work quite well. This is something I find rather enjoyable as the game itself seems to work quite well and gives a rather enjoyable experience across both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. The only downside? Buying the game across multiple platforms means that the game has a restrictive save access that will lock it to that version only due to the lack of a cross-save feature. Even with that aside the game itself is a solid title that Atlus should pride themselves upon publishing.
Review Score: 7 out of 10
Authors Note: Our review copy was provided to us on the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita by Atlus and was reviewed on the two platforms. The game is now available in digital format on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U for 14.99 USD.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.