Lost In Translation
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As many of you readers know from my past reviews I love strategy and history. So when Level-5 sent me Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale, I was mildly curious. There is a pretty interesting history concept to this and they go into it at the start of the game.
Back in the sixties, the monster film was changed as people knew it. Around this time the monsters were meant to represent natural disasters and problems such as pollution. Sadly my buddies found this less interesting than I did.
Anyways, enough with the history lesson. Friday Night Monsters opens up with your character, a third grade boy, telling you his background. He tells about his dad who is the town dry cleaner and how his mom is always helping the family business. Also he talks about his goal to be a junior member of a local space unit.
Designed by Kaz Ayabe, this game is about the boy and how he lives in a small town where mysterious monsters appear on Friday nights. The game takes place in rural Tokyo in 1971 and lives on the nostalgia of the period, when tokusatsu, live-action monster shows, were popular among children. In Attack of the Friday Monsters, these kaiju are real, leaving giant footprints across dirt roads for the kids to find in the morning.
The game starts out really basic to allow you time to fall into rhythm. Mostly it's just walk here and talk to this person type of quests. This is followed by talking to another person, right after that you talk to another person. At first I was able to rationalize it as building the story. Eventually though, it became ridiculous with the lack of...well everything.
As you go through this ungodly mess of finding people to talk to, you pick up orbs that help you earn trading cards. Once you get to that part of the game, you play people in these card games to make them a servant. Doing so will unlock certain information. The card game is a more complex (not by much) version of rock, paper, scissors. Overall the card game in of itself is as useful as a broken arrow. It serves no point except to beat about five people one time and mostly the game is more luck than skill.
So I worked my way through conversation after practically pointless conversation in hopes that the prequel would end soon. Even the side quests were a mundane and coma inducing series of useless dialogue. All of this leads into the revelation that you and another girl are actually aliens (or heroes) and can transform to fight the monsters. By the time this happens you have seen it coming about fifteen conversations ago.
Eventually, I finished the story. It ended on Friday evening, and I expected the real game to start. The only problem was the words "Bonus Chapter" appearing on the screen. All I did was spend two hours talking to everybody and their third cousin, and the game ended?
Anger was about the only thing I felt afterward. For the cost of Friday Night Monsters I could have went and seen a movie. I would have enjoyed the movie more and it would have amused me for roughly the same amount of time. Actually I think I could have gotten better enjoyment value from the box of Mike and Ike's at the concession booth.
Overall, with boring gameplay and a story that made me want to smack my skull against a concrete wall I give this game a lackluster 1.5 GiN Gems. I suppose if you grew up in a small town in Japan in the 1970's, before it all turned to urban sprawl, then this game might conjure up a few memories. The problem is that not many Western gamers had this experience, so we probably would not appreciate it any more than watching some family's vacation slides from the same time period.
I guess some games probably shouldn't be imported.
Neal Sayatovich loves the twists, turns and scares of a well developed horror game. Contact him at : email@example.com.