Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen is the latest release from NIS America on the visual novel/strategy RPG mash-up series. Learn more in our Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen review!
I previously reviewed Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception on the PlayStation Vita a handful of years ago, a visual novel/strategy RPG mash-up that I loved on Sony’s portable console. It was a massive adventure offering dozens of hours of fun, as well as a story that did a good job at tying its many plot points as it moved forward, not to mention a great art style and solid cutscenes, which is sort of a big deal for a game that has a big chunk of its gaming time devoted to the visual novel side of the equation!
It’s now 2020, and NIS America has decided to release Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. What exactly is Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen? Well, it’s something that fans of Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth – such as myself – have been waiting for a while: a remake of the first game in the series! The original version was released back in 2002 for PC, so… it’s been a while. We’re getting a revamped version of the game that brings it in line with the two sequels so that gamers can finally experience the whole series on a single console – or two since the game does feature Cross-Save support (but is not a Cross-Buy release).
Before you start on this journey, you can select between the Normal or Hard difficulty settings. Normal will be recommended for players who might not have as much experience with strategy RPG, allowing them to focus on the story without worrying too much about failing the battles. Hard will, on the other hand, bumps up the challenge of fights, testing the skills of seasoned gamers. You can also pick between the original soundtrack for the game or a special extended soundtrack that includes songs from Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth.
Your journey will begin after being found by Eruruu, a healer who located you after you had been severely injured, with no food or water to keep you healthy. You are Hakuowlo, and you have no recollection of why you ventured into the woods nearby the village where Eruruu, her sister Aruruu, and her grandmother live. Her grandmother is actually the village’s chief! Oh, and you are, for some reason, wearing a mask that cannot be removed from your face. With no recollection of your past, you end up living in the peaceful village… until the evil Emperor’s forces start to wreak havoc.
For the visual novel side of things, you’re going to be hearing a ton of voice acting as you read a whole lot of text – more on this in a bit. Because of this, for the visual novel story sections, you’ll be pressing the X button over and over again to move the story forward, or pressing the Triangle button to set the game to Auto Mode, which will automatically progress from dialogue to dialogue as you sit back, relax, and enjoy the story. You can also configure the speed at which text appears in the text box.
The strategy RPG part of Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen has you selecting characters from your available units based on the total limit for each battle. You will need to balance out your party because using the same characters over and over again will mean that the rest will be left behind and won’t get a chance to level up as needed. Eruruu is a must since she’s a natural healer – who won’t be attacking opponents – and she can help to keep allies healthy, along with the use of healing items.
While in battle, chain attacks will be a big part of your strategy, as you maximize your damage output by linking attacks by pressing buttons at the right time. There are also Co-Op Chains and Final Attacks that deal a ton of damage, so be sure to mix things up! And if you end up making a mistake, you can use the rewind feature to turn back time, so that you can revise your strategy and do things differently. You must also keep in mind that there are elemental affinities for characters. Because of this, Earth will beat Fire, Fire will beat Water, Water will beat Wind, and Wind will beat Earth.
As is to be expected, the voice acting for Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen is presented in Japanese, with English subtitles. It’s hard to have a game that mixes a visual novel with an SRPG, two genres famous for having a ton of dialogue and text, with an English dub, so, for me, this is not a deal-breaker. The game’s story is very good, with a rich cast of characters, many locations to visit, and a rewarding adventure that will probably take you 40+ hours to experience from start to finish.
There’s a Glossary you can check out, which will keep a record of lots of information you can review on people, locations, and on miscellaneous topics. The Glossary is also important since it will give you a refresher on the stuff you see in the Tutorials for Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen. There’s also a Bonus menu where you can take on the gallery with all event images you’ve seen in the game, as well as listen to all of the songs you’ve already listened to during your adventure. There’s an events list for you to view events you’ve already completed, as well as a very handy item list that will let you know which items you’ve already obtained, which will be very useful for your trophy hunting needs.
Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen is a massive visual novel/strategy RPG, which means it’s going to have a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy! The good news is that as long as you play the game with the extended soundtrack and pay attention to two missable items in the game, which will affect you getting two missable trophies if you don’t collect them, the rest of the trophies will unlock naturally as you play, and any that you didn’t get by the time the game is over can be obtained by replaying events and battles.
I loved Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception on PlayStation Vita back in 2017, so I was more than ready to five into this Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen PlayStation 4 review. I’m here to report that this remake is just as good as Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception, which makes it a very easy game to recommend on PlayStation. It offers dozens of hours of content, a full trophy list, and an excellent visual novel/SRPG mix that will keep you engaged until the end. Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen is out now on PlayStation 4 at a $59.99 asking price, and on PlayStation Vita with a $39.99 price.
This Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by NIS America.