Title: Danmachi Infinite Combate
Release Date: August 13, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
Genre: Visual Novel RPG
When I was first introduced to Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Regardless, it turned into one of my favorite anime and light novel series, mostly because I was a Hestia fan like everyone else. When the game, DanMachi Infinite Combate, was announced to be coming west, I was excited since licensed games such as this rarely officially release in English. However, through shallow gameplay and strange design, this is one game that I could have done without.
Danmachi Infinite Combate is pretty much a direct retelling of the first season of the anime. I believe this was directed at returning fans since the pacing is sped up in most parts, but this ends up hurting the deeper relationships that are explored in other mediums. Elements about the main protagonist, Bell, and his desire to gain the respect and admiration of Ais lack foundation, and other story beats just don’t flow well.
This made me wish the game itself didn’t follow the story at all. The audience for this is so tiny since series fans would know exactly what’s going to happen until the end, and newcomers would have felt rushed along without much exposition. An original quest would have easily given an even playing field no matter your experience with the series.
The extra content comes after the game is finished in dating events that you can expect to be similar to other anime games. You’ll unlock some unique audio of the character confessing their feelings and a few CGs after you spend points that level up their intimacy levels with you. However, I assure you that after you complete the game, playing more is not really something that you’re going to want to do.
I could look past the story bits if the actual gameplay dungeon crawling portions were even a little fun. However, after the first hour, you’ll wish that this was a kinetic visual novel. During gameplay, players take on missions that send them into a dungeon. Surprisingly, you are free to move around and aren’t locked into grids like most entries in this genre. This also allows you to attack freely and execute other actions in real-time.
You play as either Bell or Ais throughout the story. Like the source material, Bell is significantly weaker than Ais in the first few chapters. Missions have you, collect an item, travel to a specific floor, defeat X amount of enemies, and so on. These missions are exceptionally dull, and most will be finished in less than a few minutes.
Players will earn skill points and money through dungeon crawling that they can use to upgrade their character, purchase new equipment, and even enhance equipment. This level of customization is basic, but it’s pretty much the only thing you have any real direct impact on customization wise. Your level won’t increase unless it happened in the story, but you can still improve your stats by running missions.
I think the most significant issue with Danmachi Infinite Combate is that it doesn’t really do anything right. I could forgive a lousy battle system for a good story or vice versa, but the story sections are littered with text errors and blinking name boxes. As for the battle system itself, well, you can cheese right through most enemies by stun locking them and spamming one attack.
Spamming attacks don’t work against all enemies, though, which is annoying when you meet a random enemy that you actually have to dodge. Sadly, even the dodge doesn’t always work and instead of jumping away you’ll rush into an enemy’s attack. Where you really need to try though, is during boss battles, which put your skills to test as they have varying attack patterns. Also, if you die and restart the level, all the healing items that you used aren’t replenished, so be aware of that.
The illustrations are quite good, especially the CGs. These are super high-quality renders of the characters, and their most prominent features have never looked better. However, during dialogue, they look like they are glued to popsicle sticks as they move around the screen in one pose and bump into each other.
After playing, it’s tough to say who Danmachi Infinite Combate is for. Fans of the series wouldn’t be interested in working their way through a story they know like the back of their hand, and newcomers might find it tough to follow the sped up pacing and lack of relationship growth. That’s not to say the game doesn’t try, though, I did laugh at Hestia’s jealous reactions, but it isn’t enough to invest yourself when there’s so much lacking here creatively.
The gameplay portions do nothing for the overall appeal as the uninspired dungeon layouts, missions structure, and enemies make it seem closer to a mobile game than a console experience. If there’s one saving grace for this game, I would say the music is decent and voice over is phenomenal.
Danmachi Infinite Combate is sadly not a good experience for fans or newcomers. It fails on both its visual novel and gameplay offerings with strange design choices and uninspired execution. Post-game offerings aren’t enough to warrant getting through this mobile-like game brought to console. Still, that may not stop the most diehard Hestia fans from enjoying some aspects of it.
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