Review: Citizens of Earth (PlayStation 4)

Citizens of Earth: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation 4 2,061 views 2 likes 8 comments
Reviewed by Austin Trujillo, posted Jan 25, 2015
I was interested in Citizens of Earth back in 2013 when it was originally a kickstarter campaign. It was pretty disheartening to see it not being able to reach its goal by a long shot. Luckily, Atlus decided to pick up the kickstarter and publish it in both North America and Europe!
Jan 25, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): January 20, 2015
  • Release Date (EU): January 20, 2015
  • Publisher: Atlus
  • Developer: Eden Industries.
  • Genres: Role-Playing Game, Fantasy
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone 10 and up
  • Also For: Computer, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation Vita
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Citizens of Earth is an RPG that throws players into the role of Vice President of Earth. Inspired by the Earthbound series, Citizens of Earth puts players into the shoes of the Vice President to recruit many different characters and travel across the world to solve the mystery surrounding his town.
Austin Trujillo

 

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How does taking on the role of a Vice President of the world sound for specialty?

People take a look at Citizens of Earth and remember their fond memories of SNES Earthbound, and other iconic RPG’s of the 16-bit era. So the big question on everyone’s mind after Atlus picked up this kickstarter was, “How unique is it going to be?”

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The story in itself is fun, whimsical, and a fantastic spoof of the ideology and politics that go on in the US today. Between coffee chains brainwashing us all, silly political debates that boil down to looks over actual problems, and hilarious citizen satire, the game provides a wealth of pop culture and zings to keep a smile on your face.

But story elements will only keep that smile going for so long, especially when we talk about actually traversing the world. The overworld is relatively expansive, and traversing it can be a bit of a chore. This is only made worse when your objectives, or hints as they are called in game, are vague and only tell you to go from point A to point B. Seems easy enough until you get lost in constant side quests every citizen throws at you, consistent random encounters, loose sense of direction, and overall frustration. The game itself is about 20 hours, and about 18 of those hours felt slow and without a sense of direction at times.

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Fortunately combat isn’t as frustrating. Your character will sit on the sidelines and command the citizens you have recruited to fight on your behalf. The Citizens you recruit are very diverse and unique, with over 40 of them to choose from, all of which that have unique stats, buffs, attacks, and one liners. You can command a nerd to attack people with Binary Code, while your mother chastises a protestor to lower his defense, all while a pastry chef shoves pastries down your throat for health increases.

Characters will also benefit you in the overworld, and you WILL need certain characters in order to progress, including recruiting body builders to lift heavy objects out of your way. Every character will require a sidequest in order to recruit them, which can range from menial story based tasks, to long, drawn out quests in order to get them to fight for you. You can even recruit a character that will allow you to change the difficulty on the fly.

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Speaking of the difficulty, there are various benefits to increasing the difficulty for yourself, including increased money outputs, experience bonuses, and more. You can also lower the difficulty if you feel grinding is a chore, but you will lose specific benefits by doing so as well.

Now about that grinding. There is one particular segment of Citizens of Earth that I feel had the potential to break game difficulty, depending on if you like to grind or not. Early in the game, you will be introduced to a system called the Virtual Reality Arena. This Arena allows you to recreate fights in the game and train your battle skills. In other words, it’s a grind machine for you. Now remember those benefits from earlier?

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I slowly continued to up the difficulty for myself to get exp bonuses, and then took on some of the boss fights in the Virtual Reality arena, and gained a ton of xp from fighting them a couple of times. Bonuses you get from the VR fights are the exact same outputs you get from fighting the original boss normally. Needless to say, I’ve gotten some quick exp this way and haven’t did not run into much difficulty later, even near the highest settings.

There is no real reason to do this, other than the fact that it will buff you up for later fights if you do not want to worry about getting tromped by a boss, but the VR arena can be beneficial if you feel you haven’t fought enough random encounters to make you strong enough. It is both beneficial, and a harming factor to the game, should you choose to abuse it for money and experience.

Overall, graphically it's nothing impressive, but a cute cartoony style that will tingle that nostalgia bone we all have. The music is excruciatingly repetitive however, and I ended up playing the game muted most of my play-through. 

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Verdict
Pros
+ Sarcastic, whimsical, and funny
+ Nostalgic
Cons
- Grind Heavy
- Repetitive gameplay and music
6 Presentation
Citizens of Earth was presented as a spiritual Earthbound RPG, and in a few ways, it hit that on the head. Even the repetitive combat and frustrating random encounters part.
6 Gameplay
While the combat gets increasingly repetitive later on, it initially is a very fun story with a diverse combat system, colorful cast, and a very frustrating map. There's a mix of bad to average that could still appeal to the nostalgic RPG gamer.
5 Lasting Appeal
As I have repeated over and over the game is.... repetitive. It's hard for an RPG to stay fresh, but Citizens of Earth fails to really keep a lasting grasp on its audience.
6
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Citizens of Earth was an ambitious RPG that set out to bring back the classic RPG styles of Earthbound and the like, but the standards of that genre really fail to take their place among RPG's today. There's fun to be had, to a point, and it's worth checking out if you're a fan of those oldschool games.
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