A promising JRPG that doesn’t fully take of its mask
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs forgotten is an eastern inspired JRPG that is actually part of the wider Utawarerumono series of games and acts as a prequel to those games. In essence Monochrome Mobius is it’s own game and has it’s own contained story from start to finish meaning the game itself is great for those wanting to try something new and worried about not having played anything from the Utawarerumono series before.
The Utawarerumono games are known for being quite lengthy in cutscenes as opposed to the actual gameplay and while Monochrome Mobius has strong novel storytelling throughout it does have a classic turn based gameplay formula added in. Oshtor who lives in a peaceful village soon finds himself on a journey to uncover his family. The story itself is the highlight of the game and there are many heartbreaking, funny and silly interactions to be had. When the game is not telling a story it feels like any other standard JRPG, you will visit new areas, towns and interact with NPC’s on your Journey. Graphically the game looks really good although some areas definitely feel more finished than others. The draw distance whilst in outside areas for example definitely looks better than some of the smaller inside areas. The character models look great and vibrant and definitely fit in the eastern setting that Monochrome Mobius definitely has going for it. Exploration takes place between areas and is relatively simple with a few mechanics such as climbing and dropping down from higher areas.
Outside of the Story and exploration, combat plays a big part of Monochrome Mobius and if you are a fan of turn based JRPG’s then Monochrome Mobius may just be what you are looking for. Enemies can be seen on the map and after interacting with them only will battles initiate. Taking it in turns players and foes will initiate moves with a twist, the twist being the Action ring in the top left of the battle screen. These almost painted on looking three rings play host to your characters icons and depending where they are on the rings depends on the speed and order of attacks. While in theory this sounds interesting I never felt like this system was something I became accustomed to and the explanation of the system was not described well enough for me to get to grips with it. I know that staggering enemies can knock them out of the ring and will push you further in meaning you are able to act more and vice versa, I just feel that the game becomes pretty easy to the point where it’s not even worth worrying about. There are a few extra things that can happen with the ring such as buffs activating if you do an action such as getting a critical hit on an enemy. On top of all this the Zeal bar which fills naturally through dealing and taking damage allows you to activate an Overzeal which boosts your stats and can save you from a sticky situation, should you get in one. The battle system while sounding complex is rather easy and forgiving and when it comes down to it, its really simple to the point where you do not think too much but it is still great system and fans can still expect to enjoy it.
The user interface is really clean and simple and works well with the setting of the game overall, the game has a meaningful progression system when levelling up, you will gain bonus attributes which will allow you to put points into any of your main stats which will in turn add bonuses to those stats you may feel characters need a boost on. You will find items throughout your journey, buy new equipment and sell items you don’t need. It is a very simple system overall and Monochrome Mobius does feel like it does not take any risks. Monochrome Mobius also features many side quests all of which are well written and even delve more into the world and its characters.
The music and sound of Monochrome Mobius is good overall but the game does have some glaring issues. Early on there are some invisible walls where it looks like you could go but the game stops you dead in your tracks. There is some pacing issues also when it comes to the story and some cutscenes feel very padded when they don’t need to be. I believe this to be an issue with the Utawarerumono series as a whole and not just Monochrome Mobius. The game despite it’s flaws feels like a good solid JRPG in it’s own right and you could do a lot worse.
A PlayStation 5 Review Code was provided by NIS America