• Release date: Sep 2017 (english)
  • Time to complete: ~38 hrs (much text skippage)

Continuing on from the first game, 'Mask of Deception', and I really mean 'continuing on' (this game literally follows the very next step in the story), 'Mask of Truth' is certainly more of the same, but also in some ways pretty different in approach. While the first game is mainly a visual novel with a few battles, a lot more of this game's focus is on the battles, and most of the visual novel part is clearly focussed on the build-up to the battles, rather than just hanging out with friends and dealing with events which happen as a result.

Said battles are pretty easy, I only lost about 3 characters across the entire game length on normal mode, so anyone looking for a bit of challenge in the strategy battle section ought to bump up the difficulty a notch or two. I would certainly claim that the recurring 'bosses' in the mid section of the game grew pretty samey and tiresome, defeating the same characters multiple times just felt unsatisfying. It is replaced towards the end by a veritable boss rush, with rolling battles of 'strong' opponents being thrown at you, which was much preferable.

There's also the feeling that this game is about 75% of the entire meaningful story, to 25% of the first game. Many huge plot points are uncovered or expanded upon, even to the point of incredulity that there's still more to be explained, including several 'Et tu, Brute?' moments. At points I was exclaiming 'this entire world is unsolvable', in disbelief at the otherwordly shenanigans that removed any hope that the scenario could ever be salvaged. Even the ending is incredibly bitter-sweet, however the epilogue calmed my pleas for justice. Unfortunately, I don't feel there was any great take-away from the story, which is something I look for in a visual novel (see 999, VLR, Steins;Gate for examples). It's merely an interesting world and characters and a bunch of stuff happens.

The original anime story is finally called upon here, too, after being pretty unimportant in the first game. Several characters and items would be total shrug-fests without knowledge of the anime series. However, this same story is coming soon(tm) to the PS4 and Vita platforms as 'Utawarerumono - prelude to the fallen', so I suppose one can wait until that is released, as a starting point. It would be pretty sweet to be able to use best girl Karura in battle.

There are plenty of other visual novels which ought to be played before this one, but I would certainly not discount Utawarerumono. And hey, maybe our future is in fact trending towards the land as described in the game, in which case foreknowledge could be pretty important, lest red jelly blobness awaits us all. Put on your Akuruka and get strategising!

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