Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen – Review
Follow Genre: Visual Novel, Strategy
Developer: Sting
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PS4, PS Vita
Tested on: PS4

Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Atmosphere, Visuals, Story
Bad: Combat is really simplistic at times
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

We’ve had a few encounters with the Utawarerumono franchise on the site before. We got accustomed to playing as the somewhat gullible Haku in a strange and new land, where he seemingly was the odd one out. This time we get to play Prelude to the Fallen, which is the port of the first game of the series, which revolves around Hakuowlo, who also lost his memories, much akin to Haku. The story has some similarities in character design, but for the most part, it’s completely different. We were curious to see how this game would play out.

Story

Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen tells the story of a protagonist who has lost his memories, and finds himself in a strange world. The figure is later dubbed as Hakuowlo, by the ones that have nursed him back to life. Hakuowlo finds himself in a world where people have furry ears and a tail, while himself, being like us humans, albeit with a strange irremovable mask on his face. He soon bonds with the people of the village, but after a while things become clear that the feudal structure of the country oppresses the weak. Hakuowlo soon finds himself gaining more and more allies, granting him the power to topple the current regime.

The story is well presented and it takes its time to properly explain everything what is going on. This title is somewhat shorter than the other two visual novel Utawarerumono games. The voice acting adds a lot of charm to the many dialogues.

Graphics

As the game is part visual novel and part turn-based battles, you’ll be treated to two different graphical styles. The visual novel portion of the game is dressed with pretty backdrops and great 2D character models. The latter sometimes change in terms of expression(s) but you won’t see the animations of actual movements. Everything is presented in a still format, which certainly works for a game such as this, especially when the characters that speak are always clearly depicted.

The combat portion of the game is done from an isometric point of view, and the character models look a bit rough around the edges. The graphics are somewhat reminiscent of PlayStation 3 quality, but it doesn’t really look bad on a game that’s mostly visual novel. The sceneries in the levels are still vibrant, albeit without intricate backdrops.

Sound

The sound design of Prelude to the Fallen is simply great. The game is fully voiced from start to finish, which certainly enhances the visual novel portion of the game. The developers seemingly used the same quality  of cast as in the other Utawarerumono games, which is great. The cast does a great job voicing the different characters, even those who get fewer lines than others.

At the start of the game you can also opt to have more audio tracks, which were included in Mask of Truth and Mask of Deception, creating a more varied soundtrack. The sound effects during combat are simple, but they give proper feedback to what is happening on screen.

Gameplay

Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen is mainly a visual novel with a few turn-based battles thrown in the mix. You’ll be plowing through a fairly linear story in the visual novel portions, but at times the game offers you a bit of freedom to choose which events you want to see first. You’ll get a fair amount of save points in-between events, which makes it so the game can be played in fairly short bursts. Battles only come by every so often, but when clearing stages, you can opt to replay them, to gain experience or to do better than your first attempt.

The turn-based battles are standard RTS fare, and they prove to be fairly simple in terms of controls and how they are executed. Your characters can always move and attack or heal. Some characters are better to dispose of enemies, while others are clearly intended for support. After completing battles, you’ll get Battle Points (BP) which allow you to level up your base stats. Leveling up your characters also improves them. Other than that, there’s a very simple equipment system that allows the usage of other attacks and/or items.

Conclusion

Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen is a great visual novel experience, which is very similar to the earlier translated Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth titles. While this story is totally different than the two titles just mentioned, it’s pretty much in the same spirit, and fans of said games will certainly like this one. While the combat segments aren’t that impressive, they do break the linear story, allowing you to control something. We are glad to see these titles being ported and translated to the West, and we hope to see more of the series.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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