Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars Review

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Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars Review

Post  Dwlr on Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:58 pm

First off as a bit of a disclaimer, I do not own this game however I have spent some time with the full game and played the Demo all the way through, so take the rest of the review with that in mind.

Conception is a JRPG that contains a sort of dating sim atmosphere behind the main gameplay. Being part dating sim may be a turn off for those expecting fan-service and the M rating comes from sexual themes rather than the cartoon-like violence, but it's really not so bad. You can skip the suggestive scenes and most of the options to raise the affection with the female characters are pretty obviously you simply have to be 'nice' to them and you seldom have to read the teenage melodrama to figure out which answer is the 'nice' one. The sense of humor is rather juvenile centering around implied sex and childish breast based humor. The fanservice is actually pretty minimal IMO, some of the outfits are questionable (Chloe's battle outfit stands out) aside from that the "classmating" is done using "nude" silhouettes which I really don't find all that offensive, but it is there. The positioning of the characters and facial expression foes back to that "implied sex" however the game claims it's an innocent ritual though at the same time trying to give the impression that it's not with all the girls being embarrassed about it and what have you. If the fan service is an automatic deal breaker, you can stop reading now and leave the game on the shelves if you are able to ignore it or the fan service actually appeals to you the discussion of the gameplay continues below.

The gameplay of conception is your basic Turn Based RPG. You don't have to deal with random encounters so you can somewhat control when and how much you fight while exploring the labyrinths so that's a positive aspect IMO as I really don't care for completely random encounters most of the time. The actual gameplay isn't bad, but I wouldn't call it particularly good either. The core mechanics are surely there, but 90% of the time you're limited to only using basic attacks and the same tactics will let you win pretty much any match so the extra mechanics such as 'chaining' don't really get used unless you are actively trying to use it which will cause you to take needless damage where you could have exploited the weak spots and kill the monster outright instead of 'chaining' it. You're given your choice of 7 heroines to take with you, but the Atk stat becomes so important that you're usually better off just using one Narika until you unlock Feene so you can one round most monsters. The Star Children mechanic is okay by itself, the idea of creating a customized team of 9 units (divided into 3 teams of 3) is great in theory, but it suffers from the shallowness of the over-weighting on the Atk stat. The mother of the Star Child directly affects the stats of the child itself so where the general aptitude affects it the most, the mood of the mother also creates a stronger star child. The class itself is important in that certain children use different weapons and armors just like you'd expect, so the magic classes clearly suffer as they rely on the non-regenerating MP to actually access their magic attack stat and with high enough attack you won't be receiving much if any damage from regular mob if each encounter is played well. Ultimately the gameplay is repetitive and the fact that you have to go out of your way to experience other gameplay mechanics it's definitely not going to win any awards for it's mechanics.

The Good
The mechanics have potential
The characters are fairly diverse among anime archetypes (important to the dating sim aspect I guess)
The animation is well done
Customizable team aspects is nice in theory
Fanservice is skippable
You can infinitely pass time to build relationships with the girls so you're not locked into one girl the entire time

The Bad
Some stats are underused or entirely useless due to 'bad' design choices (everybody is still 'usable' so you can pick your favorite)
The Plot is very predictable
The writing is childish
Customizable team aspects are a bit of an illusion of diversity due to the MP mechanics
You can infinitely pass time to build relationships with the girls so there is no real aspect of having to really work with one in a playthrough when you can very easily get every single one of them to 'love' you in one playthrough

Overall
I'd say the game isn't bad nor is it good. If you factor in the fanservice as a con or you're indifferent to it, there are better games out there. If you like the idea of a little fanservice or a fan of dating sims then I'd probably say pick it up, it's an okay game in it's own right and it has the ecchi you are looking for without crossing any lines into hentai territory. I'm not very optimistic about a sequel when these sort of games fill a niche and don't seek to improve, but with some tweaking I could see Conception 3 being a very good if it fixes some of the minor short comings.

Rating
Overall - 5/10
Art/Graphics - 8/10
Story - 3/10
Writing - 3/10
Gameplay - 5/10

Content Advisory
Sexual Themes - 5/10 (pretty mild, but clearly present)
Nudity - 4/10 (nothing graphic bikini at worst and most characters are actually conservatively dressed, the implied nudity is silhouetted and 'barbie' style)
Alcohol References - 2/10
Language - 3/10
Violence - 4/10
Overall - T (I'd even be willing to go with a conservative E if it weren't for the fanservice, but it definitely doesn't earn it's M rating)
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