I’ve been playing several releases of jRPGs on the PS Vita and the latest one to that addition was Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines created by Alfa System. It doesn’t steer that far from the conventional format that jRPGs tend to be on the system but it seriously tries, to the point that it hurts.
The style for this title is certainly unique, and I can appreciate how it appropriates from Japan’s traditional culture. The music has good variation between the rather low-beat and exciting events during the game. The voices sound nice and convincing and there’s even some nice anime cutscenes that really do help you get in the mood.
However, I seriously think that the budget for this material could have been managed better. While there are many 3D models that look interesting and well-designed. You hardly ever get to look at them and there isn’t even a model viewer for you to appreciate their full form. For the most part you’re fighting 2D drawings on the battlefield, which simply go through pallet swaps and it seriously drops my level of interest on learning about them.
Well, at least Kochin, your menu assistant, is cute.
If there’s one thing you want to get right with a dungeon crawler type, it’s being able to navigate a dungeon properly. You can make the fights difficult, maps difficult to traverse, or even make the grind less rewarding; but don’t ask me to actually pick up a pen and paper and draw a map for my own uniquely generated dungeon. On top of that, you can only navigate the 3D environment through a fixed camera angle, making it difficult to move around enemies or manage through the map. It took me 3 game years to be at the right place, at the right time to finally access my first boss battle to progress the story.
While it’s true that it’s only part of the game and another bulk of it is managing what your clan does and how it takes care of its town, you just find it infinitely more convenient to just ‘leave everything to Kochin’ as she can automatically just decide on things for you. This makes you focus on the grind instead, but with your people dying every two years and having to use a month whenever you decide to do something, it feels almost pointless to grind at all.
Unfortunately I find this area to be the weakest streak in Oreshika’s setup. Especially for its battles and level planning.
You’re introduced to be the lord of a fallen clan who was framed of doing a terrible job of protect some precious royal heirlooms. Some god felt like helping you out by reviving your clan to redeem themselves only to discover that they have the curse of short lifespans and the inability to naturally reproduce. If you spent some good time designing your character, I hope you dont miss him or her as it gets killed off after maybe an hour into the game.
Typically, your clan’s quest is to find out who screwed them over and take vengeance as well as reclaim honor for themselves. And that’s when the wild goose chase begins.
Despite clocking about 14 hours into this game, I wasn’t even able to make it past the second story battle. I simply couldn’t find it. However, I found that at some point the story forgets about your clan and focuses on whatever the gods wanted. So in general it’s mostly raising the stakes to move the plot forward.
It’s nice that the game has a built-in social media feature that lets you share screenshots on its own. It’s not nice that that’s the only way you can possibly make screenshots in the game. Actually, you can only make select screen shots, as there are times that you can’t use this feature. Like during the really pretty cutscenes which would have been awesome to share, but they didn’t let me. It would much rather let me take ‘selfies’ of the party I have at event areas, even though I’m absolutely sick of selfies. Thanks, game.
There’s also the online feature, but I couldn’t really explore the possibility of trading dungeon codes with other players since it was really difficult for me to manage my own.
I think the only really notable thing for featured content is the number of gods you can find in the game, there’s a serious abundance of well-designed god characters in this game. The only reason I’m giving the features rating higher than 1.
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines plays out as a typical dungeon-crawling jRPG. What it does try is to do is to add a bunch of twists to make it more interesting but did this a bit too earnestly. It tries to reinvent the wheel, and fails badly.
You can tell they thought a lot about how the game would be more enjoyable for a broader audience by adding features here and there, but in the process, seemed to have lost what the central experience of the game should really be about. The presentation is interesting but nothing really ties everything together nicely.
Certainly, it’s playable. But after a while, everything feels like a chore and wish you can leave even the dungeons to Kochin too.
Game Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Game review by Allen Silva