Loop8: Summer of Gods from XSEED Games and Sieg Games is a coming-of-age JRPG set in 1980s rural Japan. Learn more in our Loop8: Summer of Gods review!
Loop8: Summer of Gods from XSEED Games and Sieg Games is a coming-of-age JRPG set in 1980s rural Japan. After the evil Kegai forced humanity to the brink of extinction, the remaining survivors fled to the stars, to the space station known as Hope. That’s where the main character used to live… until the Kegai attacked the station, leaving him as the disaster’s only survivor. There aren’t many places that haven’t been devastated by the Kegai, but some sanctuaries like Ashihara still remain relatively untouched. There’s a divine barrier protecting the town, but how long will it last? This game certainly has some Persona vibes to it, which is not a bad thing!
You’ll take on the role of Nini, a newly earthbound teen who arrives in the small Japanese town of Ashihara on August 1983. Yes, you read that right. Nini lived in space and has now returned to Earth! This is why he’s never had sushi before – or any raw fish for that matter, which is a bit odd considering this is Japan, after all! He’s also not used to having Earth’s gravity weigh him down. He’s certainly not used to earthquakes, either! How long will it take him to get used to Japan’s – and Earth’s – customs that are so foreign to him?
It’s the eighth month of the year, a time when people try to unwind and relax, getting the strength needed to carry on until the end of the year. Unfortunately, in this new adventure, you’re one month away from the end of the world! Your task will be to make new friends and strengthen your bonds as you work together to find a way to make your actions during the loop have a meaningful impact so that the past can lead to a future.
I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that Loop 8: Summer of Gods was fully voice-acted in English. Voice acting can help to elevate a game’s story – or ruin the whole thing – based on the performance of its cast, and I’m happy to report that the cast for this game does a great job! During the intro segment, you’ll get to meet Nini as well as Konoha Oyama, who is the first person to greet you upon arriving at Ashihara. It turns out she’s actually your cousin – first cousins once removed, to be precise.
Your adventure will begin with you registering for school. Since you’ll be living in Ashihara, you have to take some classes, right? It’s a very small class, which is to be expected from a town that, as Konoha mentions, is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Counting Nini, the class now has a whopping four students! The good news is that another student should be transferring soon.
The game’s emotion-driven AI system will respond to your actions and the choices you make along the way. The emotions of each character, their motivation, and their stories will evolve as you play. This means that each loop you go through will be different, allowing you to experience new interactions and story sequences as you learn more about each character and their day-to-day. Since you’ll be going back to that first day in August several times, you better pay attention so that you can avoid some mistakes!
Who else will you get to know better in Loop8? Along with your cousin Kohona Oyama, you’ll get to meet Hori, a freshman at Ashihara High who suffered a serious accident that caused him to miss a year of school. There’s also Saru, born and raised in Ashihara, who is a member of the baseball team… which is sorta short on members. And then have Ichika. She’s also a new transfer student – the one that Kohona mentioned during Nini’s second time in town – who just happens to have something very special to offer.
While it’s certainly summer and everyone is on vacation from school, there’s the option of Nini taking some supplementary classes every day if he goes to school between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. You should try to attend as many classes as possible since a student is supposed to study! By taking a class, you’ll spend your time in school up until 1:00 p.m. Attending school will boost your social status and intelligence. Social status impacts how much your stats increase by training. Intelligence will affect your max energy level.
You can travel to the school by opening up the map and selecting the high school from the available options. Do know that moving will consume stamina, and it will take you some time to arrive at your destination. You’ll get to see your arrival time for your destination before traveling. There are different things to do around Ashihara, and each one will consume a bit of time for your day. When you run out of stamina or energy or the clock hits 3:00 a.m., you’ll be forced to go to sleep in your room, and time will advance to the next day.
You could train at the iron bars at school to boost your strength by spending 90 minutes there. Increasing your stat values is a must to be able to succeed in Loop8: Summer of Gods since they will affect how you perform in battle and the rate at which you can master skills. Strength, agility, and skill will affect your max stamina level. Divine power, intelligence, and appeal will affect your max energy level. And by having a high social status value, training will increase the values for each stat at a faster pace.
Another way to increase the values for each of your stats is by receiving blessings. Blessings can be obtained by investigating the different locations around Ashihara. Take, for example, the small shrine near the main shrine in town. You’ll meet Musasa there. This squirrel-like entity serves as a divine messenger for the gods. It resembles a momonga – a Japanese flying squirrel –but it mentions it’s actually a musasabi, which is a giant variety. By interacting with it, you’ll receive your first blessing: Konohana Sakuya’s Essence. Thanks to this, Nini’s appeal will be considerably boosted. How many of the gods’ blessings will you be able to obtain? Can you find them all?
Humanity’s last hope against the Kegai lies with Nini. He has been gifted with the Demon Sight, a very special ability that allows him to see into the Underworld where the Kegai lurk. It’s thanks to the Demon Sight that you’ll take on the monster in turn-based battles that will be affected by your relationships with other characters and the choices made until that moment. Relationships are extremely important in Loop8.
Unlike other RPGs, you won’t be leveling up to improve your stats. Instead, you’ll have to work on changing your relationship with each character. There are three parameters to keep in mind: friendship, affection, and hate. You’ll have to work on these before diving into the Underworld so that you can battle the Kegai that is currently possessing someone in Ashihara. A Kegai will consume the host it has possessed after five days have passed, so you better act fast!
While exploring the Underworld, you’ll have to complete a series of trials in order to gain access to the specific Kegai you must defeat to free the person it has possessed. You’ll be gaining Magatama by completing trials, which can be used to break barriers. But before that, you’ll have to battle against smaller ones that will act as its minions. Once in battle, you will have direct control over Nini, while the AI will control other party members based on the relationship you have with them, as well as the relationship that they have with each other.
This is why you should interact with other characters and suggest activities for you to do together so that you can deepen your bond. Your relationship will someone will affect if they accept your suggestions or not. Suggesting activities to characters will consume energy and stamina, so you might want to grab a bite on main street to restore them. Be sure to pay attention to Nini’s comments since they hint at the success rate for a suggestion. Oh, and be sure to ask them when they’re in a good mood!
Nini can use Demon Sight during battle, either as Foresight or Celestial Sight. Foresight will allow you to see what other characters are thinking, which will make it easier to predict how allies and enemies will act during combat. As for Celestial Sight, it will allow you to see the special status effects of characters, which will prove to be very useful. Every choice made during combat will also continue to have an effect on the bonds shared by party members, which means that emotions will fluctuate depending on the type of bond.
Trophy-wise, since this is a full retail release, that means we’re getting a potential Platinum trophy to add to your collection! There’s a lot to do in this one before you can get that Platinum. The first trophy you’ll get will be for obtaining a blessing, but after that, you will need to work on getting all 650 blessings, raising friendship and affection to the max for all characters, maxing hatred for one character, defeating each boss in the game, defeating a boss as a duo, beating a boss on your own, looping for the first time, looping eight times, and beating the game with each of the different endings.
Loop8: Summer of Gods is a fun and interesting coming-of-age JRPG set in 1980s rural Japan. As newly earthbound Nini, who has traveled to Japan after a tragedy struck the space station that used to be his entire life, you must help him get used to life on Earth, making new friends and improving their relationships, all while trying to save the Planet from the Kegai who have finally broken through the barrier that was protecting Ashihara. You must find the people that have been possessed by each Kegai boss you’ll have to battle. And when all else fails, loop back to that first day of August so that you can use what you’ve learned along the way to find a way to save everyone. Loop8: Summer of Gods is out on June 6 on PlayStation 4.
This Loop8: Summer of Gods review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by XSEED Games.