We analyze Spike Chunsoft’s title based on the Re: Zero series by Tappei Nagatsuki, which mixes phases of a visual novel with others focused on action.
Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World has been one of the series that has aroused the most expectation since the premiere of its animated adaptation in 2016, a work of the classic Isekai genre (a term that translates as “another world”), in the that its protagonist, Subaru Natsuki, is mysteriously transported to a fantastic world, the Kingdom of Lugunica, where both humans and creatures of different species coexist and where he meets the beautiful and innocent Emilia, a half-elf girl. After a series of events, Subaru is killed suddenly while Emilia herself dies at the hands of the same assailant, leading the boy to swear that he will try to save her and later appear in the middle of the city as if nothing had happened. From this point is where the story begins to gain interest with the protagonist not only using his mysterious ability, baptized by himself as Return from Death, to face the numerous threats that will put not only his life but also his life at risk. of the people you will meet during your stay in that new world.
This time we get the video game proposal based on the series, the third if we take into account the visual novel Death or Kiss launched in 2017 in Japan by 5pb and the mobile game Lost in Memories appeared in September last year. in Japanese lands. In this case we have a new title that comes from the hand of Spike Chunsoft, responsible for franchises such as Danganronpa or Zero Escape and titles such as Zanki Zero: Last Beginning and AI: The Somnium Files, who provide us with an adaptation that mixes novel phases visual with critical decision making at certain points in the plot and tactical role-playing phases as incentives in the playable section.
The plot of the game takes place a month after the meeting between Subaru and Emilia, which in the anime would correspond after the events of episode 11 of the first season. After returning from the village, Subaru and Emilia notice the arrival of a dragon carriage that escorts an emissary with news regarding the selection to occupy the throne of the Kingdom of Lugunica to inform them that the selection process has been postponed. Roswall decides to send Emilia to the capital to find out the reasons for this decision, assigning Rem and Subaru as escorts. After a series of events, the group goes to the castle, presenting the five candidates to occupy the throne as future rulers: Emilia, Felt, Anastasia, Crusch and Priscilla. However, a sixth candidate appears, the young novice Melty, who is escorted by the emissaries that appeared at the Roswall mansion, Taiga and Sakura. Despite the fact that all of them respond to the dragon emblem, which determines them as candidates for the selection process, Subaru determines that there is an imposter among them, with the objective of investigating the rest of the candidates, which will lead him again to fight against the fate using his ability to return from the dead.
The development of the game mainly covers novel visual style sequences, enlivened with animated portraits of the characters, in which the plot is developed through a linear scheme that is divided into several parts of the action framing a day and that in turn they give rise to different cycles reached a specific point in the plot. During the conversations between characters it will be possible to obtain different types of information about various aspects of the game world, both characters, abilities or even elements that will help to better understand the lore of the game, being able to consult them through the Album option of the game. Unlike other visual novels, Re: Zero – The Prophecy of the Throne has hardly any response selection moments, which boils down to a few developmental splits located early in the game. Although they are not entirely relevant, they do offer access to different additional sequences, once the game is over, or also a summary of Subaru’s experiences prior to the events of the game.
The other aspect of the game is based on the action sequences, which will consist of a preliminary part of instruction in which the characters will determine the course of action. For this, it will be necessary to collect information regarding different aspects that will be related to the environment, either regarding objects that can be used as courses of action to be taken into account. This will lead to momentous decision moments in which that data will become options to successfully carry out the mission, as it may be the case of deciding, for example, that Emilia has the protection of Otto the merchant during the phase or that, on the contrary, he goes alone, or, in another case, decide what kind of distraction is convenient to attract the attention of some guards to be able to contact a character. IF you do not have the specific information to unlock the options, they will not be accessible and therefore the options for success in the mission will be scarce. When playing, the player will control Subaru’s movements only, using a movement system similar to that of the games in the Valkyria Chronicles series with a bar that will gradually empty until it reaches zero, which will end the turn. and will move on to the action of the next character or enemy.
Each phase will be made up of a certain number of turns in which the established objective will have to be met, which will vary depending on the plot with cases such as defeating a group of bandits or failing that, finding clues that determine the presence of a spy in the surroundings of the Roswall mansion, which will make the approach to them different each time. In both cases, it will be necessary to interact with the environment, through points marked with blue flashes, which will show the objects that may be useful or provide information in any case, being in the second aspect necessary, in turn, interacting with the characters to collect the information and fill a bar to the maximum, which will allow to conclude the phase successfully. On the other hand, it will be possible to fail in the mission which will lead to Subaru’s death at that point and that he will later return to the previous point to try to complete it again, something that will also happen when the established turns of each mission are exhausted.
Once the game is finished, the data can be saved to create a save of the completed game that will allow to open the additional options in the routes for extra events of the game while completing the percentage of each of the game cycles. Apart from the information collected in the game, the Album option also allows you to view the character files, which will offer details of them as well as see their different poses and listen to small voice samples while viewing the illustrations that appear in moments important during the course of the game.
In playable matter, it should be said that the game tries to offer some variety with respect to the usual within the genre through mixing the visual novel parts with other action parts in its development. However, the result is uneven, since the visual part stands out for the evolution of the plot, dressing it with animated designs while the action phases are very simple both due to their design, with very sparse scenarios in details, and their development, that despite offering options to vary development, these are insubstantial in practice. For its part, the development of the story is interesting from the outset to see in action the main characters of the series along with other new ones created for the occasion, such as Melty, Taiga and Sakura mainly, but in turn as the plot are obvious bits and pieces that reveal the future of events in a predictable way.
The graphic section of the game offers mainly the usual within the genre, static 2D backgrounds along with animated portraits of the characters that provide a point of liveliness by showing different styles and expressions in the development of the game, while for the action phases, and certain points in which to explore scenarios such as Lugunica, a section is offered that mixes 2D backgrounds with 3D models of the characters, which have a super deformed style with certain reminiscences of Nendoroid figures, offering a striking and peculiar appearance, so that travel or interaction to advance the plot is denoted by bright blue dots. During the action, the scenarios are offered in 3D, some of them detailed, as is the case in the market, but mostly quite simple and without much attraction to highlight.
Regarding the sound section, the game offers instrumental musical compositions to liven up the different moments of the game, although most of the times during development they go completely unnoticed and fail to stand out at any time, thus remaining quite discreet. For its part, the game offers to select between voices in English and Japanese, highlighting especially this latest version with the cast of original voices from the animated series.
Re Zero: The Prophecy of the Throne is, in general, a simple title in all its aspects whose main virtue, and point of attraction lies in the presence of the main characters of the series in an additional adventure outside of the main story . As a visual novel, it is entertaining and colorful thanks to the animated portraits it offers, but its linearity in the development of the story, with few options for alternatives in its development, is one of its great defects. On the other hand, the action phases allow certain alternatives when playing these phases with different courses of action, but at the same time they are limited in terms of execution and to a certain extent simple. In short, a title that is aimed at fans of the series and that they will appreciate in their fair measure.
- The characters are interesting, both Subaru and the rest of the cast of protagonists of the series as those created for the occasion in this game.
- The plot, interesting at first …
- … but as it progresses it is very predictable.
- The development of the game is very linear and with few options for variation.
- The action phases are too simple to execute.
It is not the latest or the most original, it does not have the best execution, but it can be fun if you like the genre. Good, but room for improvement.