Review: Ray Gigant (PlayStation Vita)

Ray Gigant: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation Vita 1,021 view 5 likes 0 comments
Reviewed by Raven Wilk, posted Jul 8, 2016
Entranced by the solid animation and beautiful sprites, as well as the premise of fighting giant monsters, I plunged the sword of my curiosity pointy part first into Ray Gigant.
Jul 8, 2016
  • Release Date (NA): May 3, 2016
  • Release Date (EU): May 3, 2016
  • Release Date (JP): July 30, 2015
  • Publisher: Acttil
  • Developer: Experience
  • Genres: RPG
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Abruptly Giant monsters appear and it’s left to a group of special powered teenagers, known as Kamibitos, to face a terror that even the world’s military cannot.
Raven Wilk
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From the developer that worked on the unexpected financial success “Demon’s Gaze”, as well as “Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy” comes Experience’s latest dungeon crawler. In an alternate Tokyo, zero-day strikes and the earth is attacked by a gigantic threat, the military is powerless to stop the advance of Gigants, giant monster-like extraterrestrials. Amidst the panic and confusion we’re introduced to Ichiya Amakaze, who, with the help of a talking accessory, awakens to a power capable of fighting back against the Gigant threat.
That accessory in question reveals itself to be a “Yoregami”, an ancient evolutionary split from the Gigants that can only be used by “naturals”, humans who have a special affinity for their powers. However, this has not stopped humanity from artificially creating weak non sentient copies of Yoregami, dubbed “Kurogami”. From here you’re tasked with exploring “Megalosites”, dungeons infested with weak Gigants, for the express purpose of obtaining a “marker” from type II Gigants, which are then used to spawn skyscraper sized type I Gigants. And this serves as an uninspired paint by numbers framework in which the story proceeds.

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“It’s undead”

Megalosite dungeons are explored through a first person perspective. Here, you have some of your typical roguelike elements, notably hidden walls and traps. Hidden walls are discoverable by facing a wall, activating a scan with X, and scanning them with and waiting for an overly long scanning animation to finish. While your party members may occasionally notice that there’s a hidden wall (the chance of them doing so is based on an optional stat) and inform you leaving you paralyzed until their dialogue finishes, but you’re likely going to use trial and error for when the game decides to not make it painfully obvious. On the topic of slowing down your progress, specific dungeons that render too much of an environment will tank your game speed to the point where you’d think you just entered bullet time.

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But what of the enemies? These appear as unmoving skulls and come in three flavours; blue which halve the use of your AP in battle, yellow with standard AP use, and red doubles AP usage. Battles here are turn based, and AP determines what commands you can use during your character’s turns, with a max amount of 5 commands per character, per turn. There’s two ways to recover AP, either from getting hit by enemies or using the “wait” command. Command variety is minimal, as you’re limited to equipping a maximum of 6 different commands at any point in time, two of which are exclusively locked to non attacks. These are inputted with square triangle and circle, and can be cycled with another set with down on the D-pad. It’s during this selection that X becomes cancel whereas for any other menu in the game, including the confirmation of executing your commands, it turns into confirm, a curious localization gameplay quirk, but an annoying one. Occasionally when you take too many turns to beat an enemy you’ll go into what the game calls “parasitism mode”, where all your commands start using HP instead of AP. It’s worth noting that you can easily spam healing food (which are infinite) or spells, so it’s usually more efficient in damage output than AP. One final trick in battle is “Slash Beat Mode”, activated by using “Slash Points”, (which slowly builds up via attacking enemies) in which you are thrust into a basic rhythm minigame where you input commands to the tune, culminating in a series of attacks that overwhelmingly often have enough power to beat most bosses, including the intimidating type I Gigants, in one turn.

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This is partially due to how leveling works in this game, as for the most part it’s fairly atypical, you level up any character’s stats and gain equipment based on a number of different currencies you gain from enemies and chests. “Seeds” (which are dropped by bosses and found in chests) increase what may be considered typical character levels, using them you can increase your choice of HP/strength/defence, magic/defence or evade/accuracy/speed. “Materia” increases your weapon, shield, accessory, and food levels, although you need “Breed” to actually obtain those items. Both Seeds and Materia growth are capped at lvl 15 until the final 4th of the game but are more than enough to make quick work of every single enemy encounter in the game, especially when you consider that starting game enemies give Materia and Breed as often as end game enemies. Lastly you have “Force”, which unlocks commands and passive abilities like increased damage.

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I’m not saying they’re extraterrestrials, but they’re extraterrestrials

Something to notice in battles is how beautiful the animation is, though they loop fairly often, the anime look is quite aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately the visuals are offset by some rather bland 3D models used for dungeon first person view. Compounded by there only being 5 distinct styles of dungeons, you’re left with a dreary experience.
Sound here is forgettable, and although it usually fits fairly competently there are cases where sounds are truly awkward; like contrasting from the atmospheric dungeon music to a smooth jazz when you open up the status menu. Also notable is the old electric alarm clock sound effect that plays when you enter an encounter with a blue enemy skull. Being how easy those encounters are I suppose it’s a fitting way of preventing you from falling asleep. Voice acting is purely in japanese but that’s to be expected from a niche low budget game.

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“There’s nothing here, at all. I knew this place was shady...”

On beating the game you unlock “God mode”, where you take no damage. In addition, you unlock access to a much needed difficulty increase (which nerfs Slash Beat Mode from being an instant boss killer), and also grants you the option to transfer your character’s stats. But being how easy and monotonous the gameplay becomes at that point, as well as offering no means to skip cutscenes and dialog, makes replaying the game a complete drag. For those seeking trophies, all can be unlocked in a single playthrough (much to my chagrin I accidentally platinumed this game) but I think I’d have personally admired this game a little more if I could have chosen the harder difficulty initially.

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Verdict
Pros
+ Beautiful sprites
Cons
- Pathetically easy
- Massive slowdowns in certain dungeon areas
- Bland story
7 Presentation
At it’s best, aesthetically the game is gorgeous in it’s admittedly limited animation and sprite work. At worst, you’ve got a 1st person dungeon crawler where you’re better off focusing at the minimap. The story splits into 4 parts, the first 3 of which have an absurdly similar structure to each other.
6 Gameplay
Somewhat experimental, I get the distinct feeling they were too ambitious with this and didn’t quite have the budget to balance or refine their ideas. Regardless of what happened, the game balance errs heavily towards being too easy, whether by being able to OTK bosses, or by being able to max out a character’s equipment in their respective first dungeon alone..
4 Lasting Appeal
At best, this might become a cult classic. If you’re really interested you could try different dialogue choices for the totally awesome reward of a line or two of alternative dialogue that otherwise doesn’t factor into anything. New game plus will allow you to max out your characters if you’re OCD enough to tredge through the game once more at a minor difficulty boost.
5.8
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
An interesting experiment on the RPG formula that ultimately falls flat on it’s face. Plagued by boorish lack of difficulty and dreary dungeons.
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