This is the newest title in a series of SRPGs for the PSP which started with “Queen’s Blade” followed by “Queen’s Gate” (it rhymes!). Being the third game and the first released for the PS3 and VITA, this is “Super Heroine Chronicle!” (aaah…it doesn’t rhyme anymore!).
Story & Characters
The game follows Mel and Noel, two magical warriors who were in a journey to find their magic teacher, until they came across an amnesic lad by the name of Cloud. They suddenly get engulfed by a mysterious light and are teleported to another dimension where they are immediately attacked by unknown enemies. They manage to fight back and make new allies, but they keep being sent to new worlds with stronger foes waiting for them. Now, they must solve the puzzle behind this mysterious light and unveil the true culprit behind those attacks.
Routes & Themes
Okey, being pretty honest here: If it’s about the story aspect, this sure is a kusoge! But what were you expecting? This is a crossover, after all! It would be a miracle to have a good plot. Unfortunately, this game goes beyond and manages to surpass human levels of sucking! The first thing to be noticed is that, with the exception of Cloud, there is no male characters. Truth be told, this is to be expected, since the game also has a LoveSim gameplay, and Otakus would never forgive filthy women who hang out with more than one man. So, this is like a “IF” world were the heroes from other series never existed…It’s normal for Crossovers to have shitty storylines, but it’s undeniable that it’s lots of fun to see all your favorite characters from different series interacting with each other. However, you better be a big fan of Hidan no Aria or Infinite Stratos, since those franchises are the center of attention for most of the plot, while other characters get one or two chapters based on their respective series and nothing more. Honestly: It would be no exaggeration to say those series own over 50% of the plot for themselves, which makes more accurate to say this is a “IS VS Hidan no Aria” RPG with some cameos.A good part of the events are a rehash from the series in this Crossover. You would think there would be no mistakes, since those titles have good stories (except for Hidan no Aria! That series is stupid!), but they still manage to screw-up, since they have to put someone in the role of the male protagonist of each story, and this rarely goes well. They usually have Aria doing it, but without the protagonist of her series, there’s no one to stop her, which leads to her being a huge bitch with everyone…
It’s not like the original characters do much to fix this mess. The main trio is ok at best. But very soon in the playthrough, you have to choose between two routes, which makes Noel or Mel disappear from the story for a while. They don’t do much during events either, Mel and Noel appear here and there, but it’s rare to have Cloud even appearing during scenes.
Oddities and Trivia
A recurring joke is to point out the unnecessary plot conveniences in Infinite Stratos, such as: “Why you need to fight using such indecent clothes” or “Why only females can use those exoskeletons. The answer is always something like: “You just asked something nobody is allowed to ask”, or “I really don’t know! You should ask who created this whole thing”.
Another very common Meta joke is to notice someone has the same seiyuu as other character. Like Houki from IS who doesn’t like Haruka from Twin Angel because her voice is very similar to her older sister.When Louise first meets with Aria, she complains about how rude Aria is with everyone. In other words: Kugimiya is complaining about how Kugimiya is being very Kugimiya with everyone…KUGIMIYA!For some reason, The characters from Hidan no Aria use alternative names for the legendary characters they should descend from, so instead of Arsène Lupin we have “Liyupin” and for Sherlock Holmes it’s “Olmes”. The reason behind this change is unknown and I thought that those names were already public domain by this point. Maybe finally people started to notice that those little girls are unworthy of those names, specially because they have nothing in common with those famous characters. The weirdest thing about this is that it makes the “H” from Aria’s name completely lose it’s sense…Sometimes, there is a Meta joke about characters from older series being unable to understand the newer teenager trends, and vice-versa.While it is to be expected a lot of shot-outs to other BandaiNamco games and collaborations (like God Eater and the “Tales of”) there are also many other references to other franchises, such as Ika Musume, Evangelion and even Doraemon.
The battle system is very reminiscent of Super Robot Wars. You have little icons representing your characters on a grid map and once someone attacks, the graphics shift to super deformed models. Although there are some tweaks, like the W Impact, which consist in a sequence of buttons that must be pressed to execute an extra combo once all three special gauges of an enemy (attack, hit and speed) are broken.
You can also summon other allies to help with this if they are inside you “sympathy area” which is a special territory that surrounds a character. This gives an interesting dynamic and makes the usually slow-paced Tactics gameplay get a bit more thrilling. To put it simply: It’s very fun!XP is earned for each kill and characters can level up during battles, but if they die before the combat ends, they don’t get to spend their bonus points in the character’s attributes. After each chapter, you can get into a conversation with one ally unit. This section is very similar to a Galge. You even get multiple choices to raise the affection points with the heroine and get special CGs. This is a surprisingly fun read, as most heroines can be unexpectedly charismatic.I could also praise the level requirements, since you don’t really need to grind here, because the level you earn during normal event battles tend to be just enough to face the next fight. You just have to settle for one team and, as long you focus on using only them during every combat, you should be ok.The problem is that the game doesn’t really want you doing that! Which causes you to be tossed in battles with a bunch of characters you never had time to train with. This forces you to take them to free battles if you want to continue the game. I understand the advertising involved here, so it’s natural to make the player use as many different characters as possible, but as a game designer, this is just wrong! It’s unprofessional, specially because they give the fake idea of freedom by leaving all those characters to choose, only to end up restricting the player by forcing him to play with a specific team later one. In the end, this becomes as frustrating as level-grinding and feels just like labor.Taking a hint from games such as Disgaea D2 or Summon Night, there are events that are trigged by ending a phase with a specific team inside each other “sympathy area”. The conversations that follows are usually very boring and stupidly long, which ruins the pacing of the battle, some can take over 5 minutes to end! Like this wasn’t enough waiting time, half way through, the game starts to get very lagged in the isometric map. This is a PS3/Vita game, right?
The graphics during battles are pretty good! At first, you get only some icons that go hopping like a bunny every time they move. But once you attack someone, you get some crazily awesome battle animations with some decent 3D models combined with flash animations. Some few attacks are very lame (which is the case for most non-fighter heroines) and a few are just too damn long (Super Sonico got both problems), but most are very creative and badass!Plot events use 2D graphics in a visual-novel style. There are at least two artists working here, and they try to emulate the style from each series (usually prioritizing the anime version), the problem is that one of the artists SUCKS REALLY BAD! Just pray that you favorite character don’t get drawn by this guy!There is a nice variety of 2D graphics during battle scenes, but not for the main events, therefore, some characters get just two to three poses, which means that Louise never smiles and Higurashi characters never get that psychotic face.There is also an animated opening but, in my opinion, it’s mediocre at best. The music really don’t fit and the scenes are pretty uninspired and poorly animated with dull backgrounds.
The music is another thing that is surprisingly good! Even though I feel like it doesn’t fit much with this game characters, since most tracks are in a Pop-rock style. The opening theme is Dea x Crisis by Yousei Teikoku, and just like their past work with Mirai Nikki, it’s a very fast song with a mysterious and dark atmosphere.
A big minus in this games goes for the fact that there’s absolutely no voice acting for the main events. The only times you will be hearing voices is during attack animations or in the LoveSim parts, but since Galge heroes are rarely voiced, Cloud gets no dub for those parts either.
This is pretty early, but I believe this will probably be my choice for “shit-game of the year”. Yes! It’s pretty bad! How bad? Let’s say that my friend saw me playing it for lack of a better game and felt sorry for me, so he offered me his Nintendo 3DS full of games I am yet to play and even asked if I wanted a new game with it! What an awesome friend!And since people tend to think I am too positive in my reviews, I will let this very clear: DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS GAME! Well, if you’re a super fan of every single one of those character, have a lot of free time and just love to do repetitive labor, then maybe this game could be for you…Just maybe!