Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars is a turn-based JRPG with dating sim elements. It puts you in the shoes of Wake Archus (default name, can be changed), a cliché teenage high school hero marked with the Star Brand, he is not alone as there are other students bearing the same mark like him that allow them to fight using Ether (magic). What makes our hero different from the others is that he has more of this Ether, allowing him to enter Dusk Circles, monster nests that plague the world & take the battle straight to the enemy. Of course he won’t be alone in his endeavor, 7 beautiful girls will also join the fight as well as Star Children, little chibi humanoid creatures created by Classmating with the girls, a “ritual” though being slightly innuendo filled is nothing more than a monochromatic cutscene so nothing to fear.
The girls suffer from cliché stereotypes, ranging from the typical tsundere all the way to the big breasted shy girl. In fact, most characters suffer from this, but surprisingly there is character growth as the story progresses & your bonds to the girls deepen by doing the dating sim events. So while they do kind of stick with it, they will show more meaningful personalities as time goes by, my personal favorites being Ellie, Narika & Torri. The story itself is nothing amazing, your typical hero tasked to defeat previously undefeated monsters, cute girls, drama & plot twists. A small event happened at one point which I found interesting but it was quickly buried under the main plot.
After a very lengthy plot filled intro you are finally able to enter the Circles to battle & explore. As mentioned battles are turned based, placing your team in a circle formation where position is key. You’ll fight a single monster until you defeat it & then moving on to the other. The enemies on the sidelines are not useless however, they will move on their turns & attack when they are in range of your team. While the mechanics are ok, the difficulty is not, it will be pretty easy for a long while & enemies gradually become HP sponges. The labyrinths are procedurally generated & every time you exit and enter one it will change once again; enemies will show up physically in the dungeon so the battles can be avoided by navigating around them. My problem with the labyrinths was how dull they were, nothing more than rooms & empty hallways all using the same theme all throughout, there was nothing more to break the monotony of them thus making them feel like a chore. Enemies suffer from the palette swap syndrome, which is kind of an expected thing in RPGs but it was much too common to make it forgivable in this game.
Creating a team with Classmating involves picking a girl & well classmating. You can only have one girl accompany you in labyrinths, the rest of your team is made up of Star Children, up to 9 of them divided into teams of 3. On creation you can pick their class based on the stats of the chosen girl. At first it is very limiting but eventually you unlock Tri-Mating, which involves you & 2 other girls which greatly expands the amount of available classes. The Children’s levels are locked to the current level of the bond you have with the girls, so don’t get to attached to your kids as you will be recycling them a lot or as the game puts it, giving them “Independence”. Even then they continue to be of help as they can unlock things in the Hub world, find items in previously explored labyrinths, etc.
The game features both English & Japanese voice acting in both the event scenes & cutscenes, though the cutscenes lack subtitles for the Japanese voice*. They are not very common & short however, so it is a slight annoyance. In event scenes there is no way to pause & save the game & by no means think of pressing the Start button on your controller as it will completely skip the scene without as a confirmation. “But why not go into the main menu & change that?” you might ask, well I did, a couple of times & sadly each time I did, it did not save my settings. So those wanting to listen to the Japanese voices or change settings must endure the lengthy opening till they are able to change them in the in-game menu. Music was serviceable enough. Graphical settings provided are Screen option (Fullscreen, Windowed, Borderless), supported my native resolution (mine it is not amazing so I would assume it goes even higher than that) VSync, Anti-Aliasing (MSAA & TAA) & motion blur toggle.
All in all, Conception II is an ok enough game for people that know what they are getting into, with its clichéd characters, innuendo, average story, decent fight mechanics that sadly tend to the dull side, grindy aspect & pretty good art. It has its flaws & could have been better in some areas but it was enjoyable enough that I can go back & explore more if it. For newcomers of “perverted” DRPGs types of games, well a bit of further research is warranted & patience if you do decide to try it. It is another excellent port by Spike Chunsoft, game ran like a dream without any hiccups outside of that main menu hiccup. Now, if you would excuse me, I’ve got a classmating to do with some lovely ladies.
*Subtitles have been added in the latest patch.
[Review copy was provided]
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