By William Haderlie / September 9th, 2016
|Developer||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Release Date||August 10, 2016|
|Genre||Dungeon Crawler RPG|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Teen|
Ray Gigant is a dungeon crawler RPG that released on the PS Vita earlier this year; May 3 to be precise. I already reviewed this game for the site and gave it four out of five stars. In general, I enjoyed the dungeon crawling aspects and the new innovations it brought to one of the oldest genres in gaming. But I did also have some genuine criticisms of the story and characters. Now the game has received a release on Steam, much quicker than we have come to expect. When Stranger of Sword City was released on Steam, it wasn’t much of a surprise because it already had a home console version. But this game was previously a PS Vita exclusive. So here I am, just over three months later, reviewing the Steam port.
This review is going to focus predominantly on the differences between the PS Vita and the Steam version. For a more in-depth review of the gameplay aspects themselves, you can check out my original review here. The story is set in the near future where aliens have basically begun invading and are at odds with another set of aliens that has already been established on Earth from long ago, only hidden away — seldom to reappear. The aliens that are already on Earth take the form of weapons and have a symbiotic relationship with humans. The ones that are invading seem to want to just destroy. The motivations of both of those groups are the primary narrative thread.
Unfortunately, my second time playing the game did not do any favors for the story. Realistically, there is no way they were going to be able to change it or add onto it in the short intermission between releases. However, you would expect me to score the story the same way. While that would normally be the case, a couple more things came up as negatives this time. One is that the story itself is not very good, so going through it a second time made the issues even more glaring. The second aspect that turned up more negative was that you can not skip any of the story sequences. I did not realize that the first time, though, because the first time through a game I am never willing to skip any story. To be honest, for over 95% of the games I play, I’m not even willing to skip story on subsequent playthroughs (even on my NG+4 go through Dark Souls III recently). But this game I did not like any of the characters, at least until the third group of them (the girls in the ocean area), and the story I did not enjoy. For this one, I would have skipped through the story if I could have, so I cannot help but consider the inability to skip it a negative.
However, the characters themselves do look even better in 1080p. So that is one region where this version is superior to the handheld version. You can choose multiple graphics resolutions up to 1080p, in windowed or full screen mode. But there are no other graphics filters beyond that. Since this is a PS Vita game originally, that is not too much of a concern. Most laptops of the last few years would be able to meet the specs necessary to play this game. I did have some concern that the artwork which was optimized for the small OLED screen of my PS Vita would look worse when expanded in size. But this turned out not to be an issue.
Where the increased screen size did this game no favors is in the dungeon crawling sequences. The dungeons were already a bit on the barren side with very few tricks or features. This became even more apparent when moving through them on a big screen. That, however, is the only region where the increased graphics resolution works against it. Beyond even the character art and visual novel sequences, the battles are also much more cool on a larger screen, especially the huge boss battles. The music was also good on the PS Vita version, but not great. There is a slight improvement to be had by listening to it on larger speakers. But it doesn’t offer you any better experience than headphones do with the handheld version.
The keyboard controls work well, but, in general, I preferred to play on an XBox 360 controller. The game defaults to sensing that controller and mapping the buttons to it and also enabling the mouse. Keyboard you will have to switch to from the menu, and it allows you to change your keybindings for either the controller or the keyboard. These features should be standard by now, but they still aren’t yet, so it’s still good to see them here. The only other major thing I need to mention about the PC version is stability. There were a couple times that the game booted up a little slowly, but, once in the game, there was no slowdown or crashes. However, I have been reading the message boards and there are many people who have been having serious bugs with the game. Unfortunately, that is part of developing or publishing on the PC. It is a lot more difficult to have a game without crashes because of all the different hardware and software configurations that people will be running the game with. So even if I did not experience major errors myself, it has to be mentioned with the review.
Overall, I still had a mostly-positive experience with the game. Is it worth playing? I would still say so, especially if you are a fan of this genre of game. I do have to freely admit, however, that I did enjoy Stranger of Sword City much more, also available on Steam. But, that game is also much more difficult (more like a traditional dungeon crawler in that respect). This game is definitely easier so that can make it more accessible. And once you learn some of the gameplay loops and which characters you need to focus on upgrading, it becomes even easier. So, for $29.99, you can have a fairly simple dungeon crawler RPG with a decent amount of Visual Novel story scenes. Whether you enjoy that story is definitely up to your own taste, even if I didn’t care for it, storytelling is something that is very subjective. Quality-wise, the port to PC is a solid one.
Review copy provided by publisher
acttilBandai Namco Entertainmentdungeon crawler rpgPCRay GigantSteam