Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception Review

Have you ever played a game that compelled you to put down the controller? Ya know? The type that makes you want to do the complete opposite of its intended purpose? Well, folks “Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception” is that game. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Utawarerumono is an Adult Light Novel in Japan. When Light Novels get a video game adaption, despite their popularity in Japan, they tend to get a bad rap here in the US. And let me tell you Mask or Deception does nothing to change this stigma. Up until this point in my Kzoku experience, I have been blessed by the gaming Gods with the task of reviewing 3s and above outta 5s. But that all changes today. It ain’t easy out here in the review game.

Plot:


The game kicks off on a pretty basic note. After a series of unexplained flashback events, here you are, the main character alone, scared, and confused with no recollection of his memory. Complete Memory loss. Except for your name of course! You “play” as Haku, the ever so clumsy always finding his way into misfortune protagonist. As with most LN protags, memory loss is nothing for this guys. So into the woods, he goes in nothing but a hospital gown and his name. And of course exploring unknown territory comes with unknown dangers. Haku encounters a beast that’s ready to end his life. Right before true deathblow, in comes the courageous, clever, and ever so kawaii Kuon (or in the LN world, Waifu Extraordinaire Kuon). After Haku’s near death experience he shows his generosity to Kuon by agreeing to accompany her on whatever it is she wants to do. And thus begins your accent into your Light Novel experience.
Combat:


Folks this is your typical, run of the mill, basic strategy game combat. You have a map, your team vs the foes. You acquire different characters along the way. Each in a specific class that has advantages and disadvantages. Move your character within range of a foe and give em the beatdown. Now instead of a weapon or unit advantage system, Mask of Deception uses an elemental system. Ya know, water beats fire kind of deal. Pay attention to these because being at a disadvantage could be your defeat. Level up by beating up foes. To get more powerful and critical hits, each class has a different command to execute. The more successful commands lead to more experience points which will unlock new moves. If you mess up well fear not because for everyone’s inner scrub, there’s a nifty little rewind feature.

Gameplay:


Okay as far as art goes, the style is good. It has a cutesy yet mature fusion to it. The character designs are interesting. However, visuals can only take a game so far.


Like I said, this game is based off a Light Novel. And boy do they own it here. If you think you’re getting an adaptation of a Light Novel into a game, well just erase that thought from your hyper-stimulated overactive gamer imagination! Cutscenes? Nope. Ability to make choice in conversations? Nope. Ability to freely explore the world and get in-depth the world? You guessed it! Nope. That thing that I said about Light Novel game adaptations getting a bad rap? Well, that’s because they mainly consist of still images, the same recycled songs playing over and over, and undubbed conversations that are longer than I95. And Mask of Deception hits the mark with all of that. Folks this game is 90% talking. 日本語を分かれますか?If you either A. Didn’t understand what I asked, or B. Answered no then I have some bad news for you. Nothing wrong with Undubbed games. Except when there is this much reading required. You will have to read while everything is spoken in Japanese. In the event, you’re ready to put down your controller and ragequit due to boredom you can skip scenes and save the game at any time. If you want a game full of still images but with interactions and not having to read the whole thing, honestly you are better off playing Fairy Fencer or any other Compile Hearts titles over Mask of Deception.
Score:


Honestly, folks, I have never been so compelled to put my controller down. Normally bad games double as a barrel of laughs. But when they are boring and bad at the same time what is one to do? The combat is so bland, with games like Fire Emblem and Disgaea on the market, Mask of Deception falls short on key combat elements that could have set it apart and made unique. On top of this, the game is one giant audio book. You are better off finding a translated version of the Light Novel and reading it. My main point here is the game adaption should have more interactions for players. Video games and books are two totally different things, and for that Utawararerumono walks away with a 2/5. In the even you like reading with minimal gameplay, pick this one up but only on a PSN flash sale.

Kikee

Kikee

Writer at Kumazoku Entertainment
Hallo! Konichiwa! Hello all gamers, anime fans, and lovers of all things nerdy.
Kikee

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  • moreover

    What a boring and bad review, can’t even double as a barrel of laughs. On top of this, the review is one giant misunderstanding of the genre. My main point here is that the reviewer should at least have more comprehension of what she’s playing. Visual novels and books are two totally different things, and for that this review walks away with a 1/5. In the event you like reading any opinions whatsoever, read this one too but only after exhausting all sane alternatives.

    • Sad how you don’t even know what a light novel is. it is a term used as a target for a specific demographic. Your comprehension of that fact is as you stated barrel of laughs with a dash of embarrassing. Since the game is indeed a bit dull, it might be the game you enjoy which is fine. In that thank you for taking the time for reading the review 🙂

      • moreover

        In all seriousness, even if you are not able to write a decent piece, please at least read up on what a light novel is, your unfounded confidence is almost unsettling at this point ._.

        • Look it up Light Novel clearly states “is a style of Japanese novel primarily, but not exclusively, targeting high-school and middle-school students” In all seriousness, stop trying to hard to bash someones opinion. If you don’t agree with the review and like the game that is fine.

          • moreover

            Great, now do borrow someone’s brain, read with it at least that wiki article you are trying to cite, and understand that games/visual novel can’t be light novels or, as they are called in Japan, ranobe. It’s not an age or demographic. It’s even written in that same damn wiki article, how can a human being possibly be so… unsmart. And if you borrow a brain of someone smart who understands japanese, you’ll even find out that ranobe is actually just a made-up name for the books of certain publishers.

            Please stop reviewing games, you are not cut out for this.

          • Unsmart huh? Says the one getting bent out of shape over someones opinion. How sensitive must you be if someone doesn’t like what you like? How about this you grab some intelligence and understand how someones review or anyone review should not sway your thoughts or feelings. Frankly stop typing like an ass telling someone to not review anymore. You are really how poor you are as a person!

  • CuckDestroyer

    >there are too many words in this digital book
    The level of stupidity in this “review” is sickening.

  • Mankoto

    As a fellow reviewer (of this game no less), I honestly don’t think you understand the type of game this is. This is a Visual Novel, yet you kept calling it a Light Novel. That’s not what this game is at all. It’s the original version. This isn’t an adaption of anything. In fact, it’s the sequel of a game that came out over a decade ago and it had the same style as this one.

    Visual Novels are essentially super long audio books but is that a problem? Games used to be nothing but text adventure and yet here we are today with some games continuing that tradition. In fact, I’d say the way Telltale makes games are very similar to these kinds of games in that regard especially with how they’re handling Season 3 of The Walking Dead. Just long cutscenes and you making choices to move the story along. That’s how most Visual Novels work.

    In this case, this game brings SRPG gameplay to actually simulate the battlefield when it needs to happen. If anything that’s a pretty interesting way to make you more involved in the story otherwise you’d just be reading about the action yourself which then you’d only be fantasizing over.

    Giving a 2/5 for a Visual Novel for being a Visual Novel is like giving something like Bayonetta a 2/5 because it’s not a First Person Shooter. You didn’t understand what the game fundamentally was at all which is very unfortunate. Especially because you have “Konichiwa” in that short bio, call out anime fans specifically, and even put the Visual Novel tag in the tags for this game one would think you’d understand what you were getting into. But clearly you didn’t. Because of all of that, it’s really hard to take this review seriously.

    You practically thrown everything the game had to offer because you didn’t want to read a little. And with the review is written one would think you didn’t read anything at all. Haku isn’t your standard “Light Novel” protagonist as he actually has a personality while Light Novel protagonists tend to be more self-inserts. Haku is a lazy son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t want to work, but when the time comes and he doesn’t have a choice he will put his foot down. And calling Kuon isn’t even written like a waifu character as she has no interest in the MC in that regard. In fact, she’s downright condescending towards him at times especially with her smug facial expressions.

    • As a “reviewer” you should know with that title comes an opinion. Also mind you she has stated that it is based off of a Light Novel not that it is a light novel. She also states that you are better off just reading a Light Novel instead of playing a Game that is more reading than game play. She has played many styles of RPG’s and this one fell short to her expectations. As a “Reviewer” You should already know this by now that reviews are based on opinions.

      • Mankoto

        Of course it’s an opinion. I understand and respect that. But when a review is spreading misinformation there are just too many red flags to be ignored. That’s all I’m saying.

        • What misinformation? You say you respect, but you don’t, especially if you feel it is “misinformation” if you were really a reviewer you would understand at this end of the comment list. I am pretty sure you have been hit by someone that either didn’t understand your feelings in a review. If all you said were true then you would not be here trolling right now.

          • Mankoto

            I can see that moreoever is a complete asshole. But those are their comments, not mine, so don’t treat me as if I wrote them. But anyway, I gave an example already and that was regarding the “kawaii Kuon” and Haku. What’s written there doesn’t pertain to how they actually act in the game whatsoever.

            Also, no. As far as I’ve seen nobody has said anything negative about my reviews whatsoever.

  • David Mayn

    Erm, a surprising amount of factual mistakes, it’s been a while since I’ve seen so many in a “published” review. For one, this is a visual novel, not a light novel, LNs are books not games. It’s also clear that you have a very mild understanding of the genre so basing your review on a listing of tropes wasn’t a good decision, especially when you’re so off about them. It feels like you didn’t really follow the plot and just skipped to the gameplay parts. Which is not the way to go since it’s a visual novel first and foremost and reading is the main thing here.

    I see that you are offended by the comments already so I really am trying to be as soft as possible but I’ve still got to say this. Your review is too badly written to hide behind that “reviews are opinions” thing. I honestly believe you can and will get better but you need at least a little bit of self-criticism first to understand what exactly went wrong and how. It’s important.

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