Grindy Witch Academia
I won this game a while ago and, as a fan of the anime, I couldn’t let this game rot in the backlog for too long
When I got the game I was expecting it to be a RPG but it turned out to be a beat em’ up with RPG elements (which to me it was a good thing. The last Beat em’ Up I played was Fighting Force 2 for the first Playstation and I was dying for more).
Each character has 6 slots in which you can equip different spells and a well-defined fighting style plus a bonus for using them as the party leader. For example, Amanda is a pure melee character with long combos and gains extra exp and money when she’s the party leader while Constanze excels at long-range fighting (and given the weapon she uses and how low her HP is, it’d be the closest you’ll be to feel like playing Contra) and Stanbot gives her a hand when she’s the leader. Of course if you just want to steamroll the bosses use Akko as the leader and go with Lotte and Sucy, raise Akko’s INT until she has a bit more than 400 MP, max out the Shiny Arc to unlock the Shiny Ballista, raise Shiny Ballista to lvl 4~5, equip it to Akko and she will be ready to destroy any boss that stands on her way as long as Lotte and Sucy are alive (especially the Snow Dragon, fuck that asshole).
My one of my biggest gripes gameplay-wise is that you need to be perfectly lined-up with the enemy to hit them with certain spells like elemental arrows or your strong basic attack. In other words, you either go melee or spam AoE spells as much as the game allows it. My other gripe is how grindy it can get at times. I dreaded every time a NPC asked me for an item to progress in the story (protip: play the game on the hardest difficulty available. It increases the drop rates a bit). It’s even worse when doing side-quests because the required items have really low drop rates, though at least those are optional.
There were a few things I missed too. For example it could have been nice if you could choose the behaviour of the AI-controlled characters like in the Tales of games. They tend to be a bit wasteful with their spells, going as far as using one of their special spells against a random mook right before the boss fight (and said spell takes about 3 minutes to recharge depending on your equipment) as well as getting too close to a boss that’s about to unleash a pretty strong attack.
I also would have appreciated if the map was a bit more precise instead of just pointing at the area you’re in. Given how complicated Luna Nova’s layout is it made it easier to get lost (thank god you can teleport later on).
Story-wise it was good and had the same lighthearted nature from the series (and it even had the same team behind the show do some of the cutscenes!), the whole game felt like something taken straight from a LWA movie. I had a slightly hard time to get used to the ingame CG, the mouth flaps were kinda weird (not as weird as if it was an Artifex Mundi game, but it still felt a bit unnatural) and their movements felt a bit robotic at times during dialogues).
All in all it was a enjoyable game despite its flaws, though imo it’s a bit overpriced (it shouldn’t cost more than 30€).