Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth Remix is a remake of the original Hoshigami done by Atlus, which was originally released on the Playstation One. However, this remake didn’t really change much from the original.
I hate to say it, but past the initial ten minutes, this game doesn’t really have a plot. You start off as your standard mercenary who stays at home with your girlfriend in between fighting, up until the point where your girlfriend gets kidnapped, which gives you a reason to fight the bad guys. There are also a few clichés, most which are done in the opening scenes, such as the death of your mentor figure. It all gets a bit messy after the first ten minutes though, and the story falls by the wayside completely about six hours into the game. I also find it hard to take the story seriously when the main character is named ‘Fazz’, but that’s more of a niggle than anything.
Well, on one hand, the sound effects are good. I find the death scream that the characters make when they get killed in battle hilarious. Things like water splashes and magic effects are quite good as well. The battle music which you will be hearing a lot of, is okay. Nothing inspired, but a bit more variety would have been nice, especially as the main battle theme gets a bit monotonous after a while.
On one hand, it’s an SRPG, so I’m far more concerned about gameplay than I am about graphics. However, compared to other SRPGs out there, like Tactics A2 or Disgaea, the graphics in this are fairly bland. It almost looks like they’ve been ported straight from the original PS1 game and not been tarted up in the process. I mean, yeah, sure, they work well enough for the game, but really could have been done better. There’s a few minor graphical glitches I’ve found as well, where some of the sprites break apart during battles, but other than that, they’re, well, uninspired but workable. There is also a noticeable lag when there is too much on the screen.
Standard SRPG fare here, where you take your team up against a friend’s team on a few different battlefields. Variety would have been nice though. And good luck finding somebody else with this game.
It’s an SRPG, so any challenge this game could’ve had is blown out by the simple matter of overlevelling. If they’d done something like have opponents level up with you, rather than set enemies to be at a certain level at different points in the game, I think this game would’ve had a lot more challenge to it. As it is, the most challenge you can get out of this is by doing a low level run or no magic run, or no ranged weapons run. Something like that.
And we’re onto the meat of the game!
This plays like your usual tactics game, so you and the opponent take it in turns to move units around a set distance and either prepare attacks for the next round, attack opponents or cast magic. What sets this game apart from games such as Tactics A2 or Disgaea, however, is the addition of something called the ‘RAP Gauge’ which is altered depending on how many attacks you make, how much you move, magic cast, etc. This gauge controls how many actions you can carry out per unit, and it can be good fun seeing how much you can get out of a unit per round. It’s a bit different, and certainly makes a nice change from the standard one action per turn you see in most SRPGs.
Something else which is a minor annoyance during battles is the addition of another gauge which you get when you attack. You get a limited area in this gauge where you have to hit the ‘A’ button, and your closeness to the area determines if your attack misses or is a critical hit or not. It’s an imprecise science, and it does seem as though the AI manages to hit it in the critical area every time, which gets a bit wearying. If the AI was as inaccurate as you, or it wasn’t there, I think it would’ve been a bit better.
There are a variety of different weapons and magic you can use, all with different ranges and effects, and these do add a layer of strategy to the game. I have found however, as long as you have a good few swordsmen, a magic user and a couple of ranged attackers, you can take on most enemy teams, which is a bit disappointing in a way, I like being made to rethink my entire team for each battle, and not being able to do this does bring the game down a bit. The fact that all characters can use any weapon and all cast magic is a downside however, as it ruins any chance of you having specialised units, which are generally a staple of most SRPGs.
The weakness of most enemies is also a sore point, as most enemies will fall within a couple of whacks of a sword, and don’t really put up much of a fight. And I swear your opponents recover their turns quicker than you do. Well, suppose it adds a bit of challenge if they get to move before you do…
There is a mercenary element to this game, where you can go to a shop and hire mercenaries for your team. However, they’re all generic and come fairly low levelled, so chances are, the only time you’ll use them is when a member of your team dies in battle and you don’t get a chance to revive them before the battle finishes. It does make it feel like mist of your team is expendable however, and can be replaced at a whim, though.
Well, I haven’t been inspired to play through this game more than a couple of times. Maybe I’ll try and challenge myself one day or something. This game is so bland however, and the plot so non-existent, that it is very difficult to find a reason to play it again after the initial play through.
Replay Value: 4
I’d say go for this game if you want an easy entry point into the SPRG world, but don’t go in expecting anything fantastic. Some aspects of the battle system are done well, particularly the RAP gauge, so I can’t completely condemn this game.
Written by Karen.