Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is a visual novel/tactical RPG from Atlus available now on PS Vita and PS4. It is the first of a pair of games we’ll be getting this year set in the same universe. Want to learn more? Then read our Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception!
Before I go any further, I do want to mention that for the purpose of this review, I played the PS Vita version of the game. The PS Vita and PlayStation 4 versions are not cross-buy, but they do have a cross-save feature so that you can move your save file between both versions.
As for the game’s story, you take control of Haku who wakes up with a considerable case of amnesia. You’re not doing so great, and were found by a woman named Kuon, who tries to help you recover. Kuon is a kind but mysterious girl who, for some reason, has a tail and ears like a beast’s. Not knowing what is really going on, you stumble outside of the comfort and warmth of the tent… only to find out you’re in a snowy area wearing nothing but a robe. As you think nothing could be worse than freezing to death, you feel a tingling sensation, as if something was not right. You turn around and find a massive monster that is too big and bizarre to be real, but is very real and even deadlier than you can imagine.
When all seems to be lost, and a second before the monster devours you, and even more bizarre and menacing monster eats it. Relieved, you take a moment to asses the situation, only to realize that you’re still not safe, and that the giant blob in front of you will certainly eat you alive and melt you with its acid-like saliva. Luckily, Kuon comes to your rescue at the perfect time. You barely escape, but still, have no idea who you are or what is going on. It is here that the game properly begins. What happens next? You’ll need to play the game to find out!
As mentioned before, Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is a visual novel mixed with tactical RPG elements. This means that you’ll spend a considerable amount of time reading massive walls of text as you learn more about the game’s story and characters, all in preparation for the tactical RPG portion of the game. In these sections, you will take control of your squad in grid battles in which every move counts since the game uses a turn-based system.
While the battles are turn-based, players still need to remain active to make the most of their battle turn, thanks to Attack Chains. By successfully completing timing-based charging rings to execute critical attacks or dodges/blocks, you will maximize your party’s potential. You also need to take into consideration elemental affinities and weaknesses to deal some massive damage to your enemies.
At the end of the battle, you might receive some Bonus Points (BP) which can be used to increase a unit’s attributes. You need to be careful with this because once allocated BP cannot be reset. I suggest that you boost your characters’ Speed attribute since it determines the order in which each of them will take their turn in battle – being able to attack early and with as many party members as possible will be very valuable in the long run.
A short game this is not. Due to its visual novel nature, and the fact that most of the time tactical RPG releasee are known for offering engaging stories and a ton of content, you’re looking at roughly 40+ hours to be able to complete the game. And since we’re getting Mast of Truth later in the year, there will be some plot points that are set up in Mask of Deception that will be resolved in its sequel.
The game also features a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy. It’s a sorta linear trophy list that includes thing such as executing an Action Chain or a Critical for the first time, equipping an item, or allocating a Bonus Point, along with visual novel stuff such as unlocking all event visuals and all BGM. There are also several story-based trophies that will unlock as you progress, thus making them unmissable.
I had a lot of fun with Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. It features a very nice art style and striking cutscenes, which are always a big plus for visual novels, not to mention a solid story that will keep you engaged as you move forward. It’s strategy, and tactics gameplay mechanics are a nice counterpart to the visual novel side of things, with a deep and rich battle system in which every choice you make can have a considerable impact on a battle’s outcome if you play your cards right. I highly recommend this visual novel/tactical RPG on PS Vita and look forward to playing its sequel later in the year!
This Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception review is based on a PS Vita copy provided by Atlus.