Mind Zero Review
There really isn’t any dodging around this fact: Mind Zero is a clone of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona that adds a dollop of Etrian Odyssey in for good measure. But heck, those are some flipping good games to rip-off, so we’re forgive developer MindDev for their copycatting. Mind Zero is a game with zero originality, a dungeon crawler with turn based combat mechanics and exploration.
In the game you traverse dungeons that are full of puzzles and corridors. You’ll constantly be on your toes as you’ll never know what’s around the next corner—warp point? Monster? Treasure? Trap? Who knows? But finding out precisely what lies in store for you in each step is one of the game’s charms. It keeps you guessing and always feels fresh, right the way through its generous 40+ hours of gameplay. Though the reams and reams of sidequests can get a little old (and are a large part of the reason for those 40+ hours), and though you will be annoyed as you constantly need to turn back around and explore old areas once again, there’s tons of content here, and the intelligent use of warp points save you from a lot of repetitiveness.
Probably my personal favourite aspect of Mind Zero is the combat. The battle mechanics are truly fantastic. You can call up ghosts (minds) and use cards to boost stats. Clearly there’s a lot of Persona stuff in the mechanics. One nice addition is the ability to swap magic cards in and out of skill slots and to upgrade cards using experience points. As the enemies get tougher later in the game, you’ll need to be careful to make the right decision and switch out the right cards. You’ll need to make use of elemental powers in order to defeat certain enemies too.
The gameplay in Mind Zero is excellent. It’s just a shame about the story. It’s one of the shallowest game stories we’ve seen for a while. A bunch of high school friends have to use special powers to stop evil enemies… that’s as clichéd as boy-meets-girl. There’s nothing original in the story at all, and it gets boring. And the fact that the game ends on a cliffhanger—designed to sell the sequel—even though it hasn’t included enough of a plot for one story, let alone two, it just insulting. The protagonists aren’t even remotely interesting. You won’t care about them at all. To be completely honest, the writing here is about as shallow and uninteresting as a colouring book. Just terrible.
The fact that the story is so bad is made even worse by the fact that the voice acting is great. You’ll love listening to each of the actors speaking their lines. But while you’re listening to them, you’ll also be banging your head against the wall wishing that they the story gave them something worth saying. It’s like asking Al Pacino to play a teletubby.
All in all, Mind Zero is an excellent game that is seriously led down by a terrible story. Provided you can look past the story, though, there’s a ton of fun to be had here.
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