Because "Mugen Souls 2" was too sensible.
First time using this little cubby-hole to store my thoughts-in-transition. I've always enjoyed coming to this wing of the forums to see how the reviewers are reacting to the games they're covering. In the case of Mugen Souls Z there is no review embargo and I can be pretty free with my thoughts before the review is published, so I figured I'd take the time in between play sessions to detail a few things.
A bit of a preamble before we start: Mugen Souls isn't a series I'm tremendously familiar with. I had no idea what the battle system, characters, plot, or aesthetics would be like before I actually sat down. All I had to go off of was Wheel's review of the first game
. Which, as you can guess, left me with a few questions and concerns.
- Could it really have been that bad?
- Would the sequel be better?
- What the hell is Moe?
Now, you may be wondering "why isn't Wheels reviewing this game?" The answer is both simple and hilarious. The simple explanation would be that he vehemently did not want to after playing the first. The hilarious one would be that he was *almost* did use an unlabeled code that Macstorm sent to him purposely, but was smart enough not to redeem and no one else on staff wanted to take his place
. Until I came along.
I made a little deal with Wheels that if and when I posted the review of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
, I would take a crack at the series that touched him in all the wrong ways. Everyone was intent to hold me to that promise. So here we are. Fun fact:
I was sent the review code to me with the message "Nice knowing you..."
Not having played the original Mugen Souls is a bit of a double edged sword. I am not going into this game with a bad taste in my mouth and can really give it a fair shot. RPGamers who also haven't played the original will likely have a similar experience to mine. We can cover the new game mechanics objectively and still have room left for me to cram in my opinion. Sadly, we can't make comparisons to the original game. Which is where I suppose I might let the people who DID buy the original down. Sorry for that.
Anyhow, let's get the awkward out of the way first:
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I find Mugen Soul Z to be needlessly pervy. I mean -- no judgement if you're down for scantily clad little girls with inexplicably huge busts, but for me it is a bit off-putting. The bath house scene depicted above was only about 45 minutes
into my first play session, and it caught me off guard. Some of the sexier designs I had seen early in the play-through I could and did overlook simply because they weren't center-stage, however this sequence was a pretty blatant attempt to appeal to *ahem* certain audiences. All of that is fine if it turns your crank, but I here to do a job and figured I'd break down how this is going to factor into the final review for everyone's peace of mind.
In light of recent games like Bayonetta 2 getting lower scores from certain websites due to over-sexualization and the objectification of women, I wanted to state openly the way I'm going to approach things here. Mugen Souls Z's review score will not be directly affected by the sexual imagery present in Mugen Souls Z. Mostly because I'm not here to preach morals and don't feel like I should have to put down a game because not everything it does will appeal to me. With that in mind, Mugen Souls Z's score may be indirectly affected if the story focuses too much on sexual sequences/suggestive dialogue or the imagery on display takes away from the game's overall aesthetic appeal. The final score this game will receive, in accordance with RPGamer's review standards, will be only reflective of the overall quality of Mugen Souls Z. To be clear: I will not be bumping the score down a point or half a point because what I'm seeing on screen makes me uncomfortable. Instead, I will dedicate some time in the article to discuss how uncomfortable the imagery made me and why.
I was intent to touch on this point before the review went live because it is important to understand perspective. My perspective is one of a reviewer who just wants to do a job well and isn't interested in some of the more colorful imagery present in the game. Yours might be as a fan of the series who thinks the imagery is endearing and innocuous. Others may see it as offensive and gross. My goal is to write a review that will be useful for all parties in determining whether to buy/rent/play this game at all. It isn't to appease any agenda or aggravate any group.
"To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."