Saturday, July 9, 2016

Review #334: Liberation Maiden

 Because Suda 51 is god.
 And here we have another small, semi-experimentational game part of the 'guild' series that, for whatever reason, wasn't deemed worthy of a full, physical release over seas. In Liberation Maiden case, it's a 3D shooter by Suda 51 in collaboration with Level 5.

 The game doesn't do a good job of explaining the setting, but what you need to know is that you play as Shoko, new Japan's president, who must protect her country from invading enemies by piloting her humongous mecha. It's Suda 51 alright. The game is divided into 5 stages, which mostly consist of doing three missions and a sub missions before tackling the boss. It lasts about 1 hour on the Normal difficulty setting, but there's also an easy and hard mode, as well as an Stage Attack mode, if you care about any of those.
 On each stage you are dropped on a medium-sized area filled with enemies, and then you are told your first objective. While you can go fulfill it at any time, you are free to explore and destroy enemies, although the only reward will be more points, so there's no real rewards for exploring. The left analog stick is used to move around, holding the L button allows you to strafe and the Stylus takes care of combat. If you bought Kid Icarus, you'll probably want to use the Stand it came with, since I struggled with a few hand cramps as I played along.

 Interestingly, your offensive means are also your defense! There's two weapons, the Laser and the Gun/Missile. To use the gun, you hover the reticule, with the stylus, over the enemies and then let go, it can also be charged for extra damage, while the laser fires constantly as you move the reticule around. The 'ammo' for these weapons is also your shield, so depleting your ammo, which recharges once you stop touching the screen with the stylus, will leave you open to take damage. Still, getting hit while the gauge is fully loaded will penalize you by reducing its total capacity, which means less ammo for your weapons. You can recharge this capacity by defeating enemies. I don't usually play shooters, so I don't know how original of a mechanic it is, but what I do know is that I found it rather fun.
 There's not a whole lot of story to the game, but Suda 51's flavor can be felt on the gameplay. It's hard to explain the why or how, but you can tell that Suda 51 had to something to do with it, even the HUD feels very Suda 51. Still, it's far from his best endeavors, but I think that can be attributed to the game's original nature: This is a single part of a whole package. It wasn't meant to be a 'complete' game, which explains its simple premise and very, very short duration. Still, there's something to be said about them managing to make the gameplay so engaging when it was meant to be something so simple.

 As it stands, I feel the same way about this game as I did with Attack of the Friday Monsters: It's a great, small game considering what it was meant to be, but I'm sure it would've worked much better alongside the other two games it was released with, as a compilation of multiple games from multiple directors. Still, the small fee of admission is worth it, and it does have a broader appeal than Attack of the Friday Monsters.
 7.0 out of 10

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