So I traded in my 3DS for a Playstation Vita (aka the DM productivity killer.) I decided to go for a new RPG, and Conception 2 was the latest one out. This is an odd little game to say the least.
All around the world, things called Dusk circles exist. They are manifestations of the desires of humanity, and have a nasty habit of spilling out monsters to attack people. A multinational corporation and the Church ally to locate teens aged sixteen to eighteen who have been blessed by the Star God with power to fight them. You’re one of the recently discovered, and what’s more, you are God’s Gift; a star power user who can produce enough ether to allow people to survive inside a dusk circle. You, along with seven young women, are humanity’s best hope against the Dusk.
Then it gets a little weirder.
One of the things that you have to do is “classmate” with the young women to produce star children. The children are fairy-like creatures (think the avatars from Baka and Test) who have different jobs and aid you in battle. This is where the dating sim element comes into play. You keep your relationship up with the women so you can produce strong allies. Your children have a level cap, and when they reach it, you classmate more and release the old ones to build up your city.
Yes, you make babies. Yes, it’s awfully a lot like sex. The cutscene is brief, with the girl of your choice arching her back while in a neon silhouette, and then your fingers interlaced. Then, you fall over in the chair laughing as you hear “Congratulations! On your new arriv-al!” sung, and your kid pops out of a matryoshka-a Russian nesting doll. It doesn’t really help that you and your co-star child maker have a conversation after that has them both exhausted, glad they “conceived,” and hoping for the future. Also releasing them to become independent when they become “old” enough.
It’s pretty nuts. There’s some other innuendo, but mostly mild. Typical anime fan service. All of the girls are typical anime types. There’s the normal girl, the awkward buxom class rep, the magical girl, the class teacher (who is no more than eighteen,) the spacey girl (whose voice actor makes her really slow and annoying,) the loli tsundere (whose voice actor makes her hilarious, and has some of the best lines,) and a possible ojou-sama. The dialogue isn’t so bad, and the supporting characters get some nice subplots too.
Gameplay…well, did you like Persona 3? Do you want a worse copy of it? It’s interesting because you can have three additional teams of Star Children besides you and your current paramour, and there’s some interesting dynamics of positioning your extended nuclear family. Most of the gameplay so far has been dull though, and the game introduces many mechanics that I outright ignore. Like there’s a chain system where you can slow bosses down by building a gauge, but most die too quickly to do so. Elemental system is there, but usually just spamming any attack in the enemy’s weak zone works. Bring a lot of mana potions, and just spam spells and special attacks. The loli’s area of effect attack is a lifesaver, especially if you are running with less than nine babies.
There’s a lot of dungeons, some main, some optional. Since you have seven girls, you often need to grind some to get them leveled up. There are fetch and kill quests for rewards, and you’ll always be rotating your crew in and out. The lack of strategy makes this a bit dull, though. Enemies are time consuming kills rather than hard ones, and there’s often four in a room. If you are okay with mindless leveling, it’s not bad, but it’s there. And then you need to constantly make new babies to replace the old babies who grow up and leave the nest, and then you get babies with new jobs…
I found it interesting that the Church so far is the good guy, and the source of the power to fight evil is a deity called the Star God. I’m a little worried that we’re going to see them become villains, but it’s different so far than the usual “Church is the enemy!” motif in RPGs. The religion hasn’t been all that deeply explained, though.
The last thing is that the writing isn’t that bad. Very anime dating sim. It’s weird because the fantasy elements feel a little light, but the relationship parts are nicely done.
So I give it a thumbs up. It’s a little risque, but not overbearing. It’s blatantly inspired by Persona, but doesn’t have that game’s depth. It’s not particularly bad though, and it’s a fun little RPG ride. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to bring the kids into the dungeon to level them up.