review, video games

Tsugunai: Atonement

Atonement cover art

You are dead. Well, not exactly. You wake up with the Head Monk of the local monastery looking at you. Well, not exactly looking at you, but at your astral body. Frankly at this point, you are as confused as the monk who is not sure why your body and soul were separated. Instead of getting down to business and getting your soul back, you asks you to tell him a story. He asks you to tell him how this came to be, how you came to be somebody without a body.

So, you think back. Back almost days ago, to when you were sent with some knights of the neighboring castle to find a legendary item. You are to acquire and bring back the Treasure Orb. Which, by its name alone, must be important otherwise why give an item the name treasure. To retrieve this item the entire group must travel to the Sacred Island. Because, it is always a good idea to go to a Sacred Island and steal something. Finding dead bodies and monsters you travel into the inner sanctum of a set of towers. When you enter the final area, an area filled with light, a voice speaks to you words of warning not to remove the sacred orb or have to face the ordeal of the gods, which you promptly do anyway. After removing the orb, the towers crumble and you just manage to get out. On the way back however, your boat sinks and you wash up on the shore by the monastery.

After you tell your story, the Head Monk tells you that you are basically screwed for having annoyed the gods with your idiotic behavior. He tells you to seek out a man who will help you. Hey, listen! The man you find is named Navi who tells you that you must bring happiness to the village around you in order to return to your body. Also, you can possess people now that you are a soul without your body. You must seek out people who have great sadness,  possess them, and then force them to change their ways in order to bring them happiness.

Notes:

  • This game has an interesting premise, that of possessing people, but I didn’t get to that part until almost the very end of my review playing.
  • Your job, before you lose your body that is, is a Raven.  A Raven is some type of mercenary, a hired hand but now you will go without your body nevermore, unless you can bring happiness to the village.
  • The music in this game, which is good most of the time, can be very strange at times.  Very frequently, and ironically, during conversations early in the game, the looping music will have a sudden upswell and speed up very much in the theme of the Jaws theme, for no apparent reason.
  • The game has a tendency to state the obvious.  Frequently when you are trying to interact with an object, it will tell you exactly what is in front of you.  “There is a vase on the table” and “A table with chairs” are common responses.
  • The battle system is not that good.  It is based in the traditional role playing game model of turn based fighting but adds a guarding system that is based in timed button pressing.