Ray Gigant Review

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Title: Ray Gigant
Developer: EXP
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 1.3 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: 
Yes

When I talk about Dungeon RPGs about a specific type of the genre, I can see what you’re thinking.  What are you talking about, writer?  All RPGs have dungeons.  How would dungeons dictate a genre that always has dungeons?  That’s a pretty fair point, but DRPGs are what we call first-person dungeon crawlers.  Vita fans will recognize this genre in the form of Demon Gaze, while 3DS fans may in the form of Etrian Odyssey.

The developer known as EXP has been working on Vita Dungeon RPGs for a good while.  Demon Gaze is the first one that I played, and I thought it was a lot of fun.  They’ve made some since then, but now I’m at the point of reviewing another one.  Something that Namco Bandai helped with a bit and finally coming to the West.  Here is my review of Ray Gigant!

Story

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Ray Gigant takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.  Before the game begins, strange giant monsters known as Gigants appear all around the world, and are impervious to all sort of weaponry and ordinance.  It is very much in tune with the kind of plots that Toho sets up within the Kaiju movies they’ve been making since the 1950s.  In the end of this set of battles, only two were able to fend them off, but not before the entirety of civilization fell to its knees and the world effectively ended.

The game’s setting takes place around three humans that are “compatible” with Shirogami, the beings that bonded and gave the two in the first battle the power to fight and fend off the Gigants.  Each story goes around each of the three’s story in the world as the human race attempts to fight an ongoing war with the Gigants, before coming together and bringing the three together for the final confrontation.

The story is well-written and the setting is interesting enough to keep you entertained.  However, the only thing that brings it down is the very first protagonist.  His story scenario has interesting characters in it, but he brings a lot of the quality down with his personality and lack of likeable traits.  The story gets a lot better once you get to the second scenario, but it’s a long while to get to that point.

Gameplay

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Ray Gigant is, as I stated in the intro, a Dungeon RPG.  You will be spending a lot of your time running through first-person dungeons,l collecting equipment and fighting enemies with a goal point in the depths where you’ll fight a boss or gather a key story item.  There are also school simulation elements thrown into the game but for the most part, it’s a first-person dungeon crawler in the same field as Etrian Odyssey and Demon Gaze.

Before going on, there is one thing I have to say about the school sim elements.  You get dialogue choices when talking to the girls, giving a big hint that this is some sort of affection system for dating sim elements.  However, these are effectively just there to showcase different reactions from them.  It doesn’t affect scenes later in the game, which begs why it’s even there in such a misleading way.

The game is story-driven, despite the heavy amount of dungeon crawling there is to be done.  As you progress through the story, you will have new dungeons open up to explore.  One thing to note, however, is that you need to explore as dungeons become available.  Unlike other RPGs, you cannot re-explore past dungeons.  So, once you get there, do everything you want before you leave.

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Exploring the dungeon is grid-based, just like Demon Gaze and each tile can have its own items and interaction points you can see both on the map and as you explore.  There could be traps, items to gain, and battles to fight.  One unique thing about this game is that there are battle types, noting how many combat Action Points it takes to go through a battle.  Harder battles give better spoils, but require much more AP, causing the difficulty to spike.  Sometimes, it is worth the risk, but other times, it’s smarter to just go for the weaker battles to preserve those points.

Now let’s get to combat.  There are two types of combat you do in the game.  Combat against normal enemies and combat against Gigants.  Combat against normal enemies is in typical first-person turn-based fashion.  You choose commands for your characters and then both parties attack one another, and then repeat.  Fighting against Gigants, however, have a much bigger focus.  Your party will be spread around the gigantic enemy and will fight based on distance from it.  Sword-wielders will be close to it while bow users will be a great distance away.  This adds a good amount of strategy to these large boss fights.

The way you fight is gauged by your Action Points.  At the beginning of a battle, you have a full amount of AP to use for your commands and each command requires a certain number of AP.  You can attack for your entire first turn, but your AP will drain like crazy.  If you run low, you will have to use an entire turn to wait and have it regenerate.  It is generally better to balance your commands to conserve this, especially in harder fights.

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If I were to gauge the overall difficulty of the game, I’d say it’s about medium difficulty for the genre.  It’s certainly not going to be a game that’ll make you throw your Vita across the room.  It’s probably a good game to play if you’re new to the genre, along with Demon Gaze.

When we talk about length, you’re in for the long haul.  It took me almost 3 hours to get to the first dungeon, so expect the entire game to be the better part of 30 hours, at least.  This is not a short RPG, and for this type of game, it’s a good thing.

Controls

This game is compatible with the PlayStation TV, but there aren’t really any special controls when used on the micro-console.  So, that basically just means you don’t need to worry about touch control alternatives or using the extra triggers.

Moving around the field or menus at the school is done with the D-Pad and/or Left Analog Stick.  The right stick is used to strafe in dungeons.  The face buttons are used for choosing commands in battle.  The L and R triggers are used for strafing as well.

Presentation

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Visually, this is definitely EXP’s most impressive looking DRPG.  When you’re in combat, you can see your party’s character models, which is unique for the genre, which normally only shows enemy models during combat.  The amount of detail and aesthetics involved is also interesting.  Like the Neptunia games’ scenes, there are constantly moving models.  The Gigant models in boss fights especially have a lot of effects that give a great feel for the true scale of what you’re fighting against.

As far as the rest of the presentation goes, no real complaints.  Load times are short, frame rate is smooth (as a 2D game should be), and it all in all plays well.

Summary

Ray Gigant is the newest DRPG from EXP.  The first story arc isn’t incredibly interesting and there are misleading dating sim elements thrown in, but if you’re a fan of the genre or a newcomer, this is a fun game to look into. 

8/10

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  • Lester Paredes

    The only thing that aggravates me about the presentation (what I’ve seen, anyway j is the terrible animation for the enemies. They wouldn’t be so bad, if it weren’t for the pretty awesome character animations of your party to compare them to. I’m also bummed that there’s no physical available in North America. Though, your stats above day that there’s a retail release in Europe? Might have to import it…

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