JRPG’s, at least in their original form, are a dying art form. Famous developers, like Square, have opted for a more western style. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Only time will tell, however one thing Is for certain. This more Japanese style of RPG is one that a lot of us truly miss, for good reason too. That is why when I first say Cosmic Star Heroine I was really excited and I knew I had to have that platinum. So without further ado here is the Platinumist Review of Cosmic Star Heroine.
The most important part of any JRPG is it’s story. Final Fantasy VI-VIII may have weird stories at times, but they are all considered great in their own rights. There must be conflict, drama and most of all character development. If there is one thing that Cosmic Star Heroine doesn’t have though, it is all of this. Cosmic Star Heroine suffers in the story department. It’s not that the main story plot is bad, in fact it’s quite interesting, the problem is that it’s not developed. I’m all for goofy JRPGS, but Cosmic Star Heroine goes a step too far at times.
(Weird RPG’s are fine, just develop that rapport first)
First is just how quickly story develops in this game. Within two hours you know everything you need to know about the plot. You know who the bad guys are, what you have to do and a pretty good sense of how to stop it. The game is only about 10 hours long, which isn’t a negative thing, but the story tries to be too big for its own good. It takes all of these ideas and squishes them into a mini-JRPG, which creates its biggest misstep. Now this would be excusable if it at least had something to make up for it in the story development process.
So what if it’s not very long, maybe you don’t have a lot of free time to replay old JRPG’s like Chrono Trigger. Well here’s a 30 minute story evolution for you, and yes this does take place in the game. You go to a fair to meet up with a company discussing your previous employer’s wrong doings. When you meet up it was a trap, you are then taken to a pedestal and conference is set up where you are going to fess up. You then have an attempted assassination on your life, a Giant Robot shows up starts pummeling the town, you go to fight it, kill bad guy. Pretty weird right, oh wait there’s more. You then jump into the giant Mech where a Kaiju/Godzilla jump out and you then have a boss fight with him. Then within ten minutes you are in an underwater base talking to the resistance.
(Some build-up to these moments would have been nice)
I’m not joking. This story just develops way, way, way, too fast. You as the player won’t have any idea what is going on most of the time. All you know is that you have a constant new goal. That entire sequence takes place in about 30 minutes…30 MINUTES! It needed about 4 hours to have that plot even make sense. The Kaiju literally appears out of freaking nowhere, no one even says anything about it! Is it cool? Yeah, but the game takes itself so seriously it feels like it’s out-of-place. Now I don’t want to say it’s a bad story, because it’s not. It just needed more time.
Even the lack of main plot development would have been okay if I understood the characters a little bit more. There are only two characters whose backstories you really get, and even then it’s pretty lackluster. You understand the main character and the singer. That’s only because their previous jobs are literally explained to you. The game introduces many interesting characters, like Clark the exploding robot, but I never got to know him as a character. If you are looking for a deeply moving story, Cosmic Star Heroine is not the right title for you….
(Just like the story…it’s just there)
Now Gameplay in Cosmic Star Heroine is quite a different matter though, it is a fun game to play, if not a bit too easy. Remember it’s only about 10 hours long so things are constantly evolving in this game. The game is easiest to compare to Chrono Trigger, but it could also fit into just about any turn based RPG classic, there are some new concepts though. First and foremost you have what’s called a Hyper Status. This activates the longer you are in combat. So every turn a character activates you gain 1 Hyper Cube. Once all Hyper cubes are activated the next ability you activate does double damage or double effect.
This means that planning and strategy is built-in from the get go. You also have a Style percentage, the higher this percentage the more damage you do, personally this should have been gone as it really doesn’t add much to the game, but it doesn’t hurt either. From there everything is pretty standard JRPG faire. You have elements, enemy have weakness, turn base order and so on so forth. The gameplay is really well done here, the only real problem is the ease at which it is all manipulated. I never felt in danger.
(They’re all really big softies in the end)
Now there are difficulty levels and I played through normal the first run, I never really felt like I was going to lose. I’m not saying that every battle needs to be hard, but I wanted to be a little challenged. I think that some parameter is off a little, enemies take a lot of damage from abilities due to how you can strategize. Really if you have played any traditional RPG in the last few years, this game will seem like a breeze. The one thing I really liked though was the exploration built into the game. You have to wait until you reach the 4 hour mark before that happens, but it felt great to explore these worlds.
Since the environments are varied it was cool to explore an area and find things I didn’t expect. There is plenty of hidden bosses, hidden loot or even just interesting and cool scenarios. Like a Police Department that has turned into a JRPG Resident Evil, or even the GREAT CTHULU HIMSELF! I mean a lot of love was taken into the optional content and I loved finding it. I loved just entering some random cavern to find a cool piece of gear, or fighting some skeleton who was apparently part of a game that the developers worked on before. Players will love what the game does with its gameplay, you just want more of this world to explore.
(Seedy underbelly, check, possible strip club…double and hell yeah, check.
The biggest praise I can give this game is that I felt like I as 12 again. I felt like I was playing through another Chrono Cross or Final Fantasy VIII again. Look I didn’t play Chrono Trigger until 2 years ago, yes I know it’s a classic and I should have played it earlier, get off my back. This game is beautiful, in a pixel way, NO NOT THE ADAM SANDLER MOVIE!!!! This game is just gorgeous. It’s backdrops are realistic, the character come to life, it’s just fantastic.
In fact just seeing the many different types of enemies I came across was my favorite part. Seeing enemies like Cthulu, a giant space worm, or even teapots, were some of my favorite parts of the game. I never stopped being impressed with just how much variety was thrown into a game. The reason this variety can exist though is because of the different locales and planets that you visit. Sometimes you are in an underground research facility, and then others you are in an underwater base with ghosts (again the story is weird and not very well-developed).
(Each area is unique and instantly different from another)
This type of variety really made me believe what the developers were trying to sell me. I wanted to see more of the worlds and more enemies. The only bad thing here is that eventually it had to end. These two guys could create worlds forever and I don’t think I would get bored. From a presentation standpoint they would have had me drawn in for at least 100+ hours. I loved how all of the abilities looked, I loved the characters designs, I mean I just loved the world they built. I felt that every planet was unique and had more stories to tell than what I could see. As the player you want to know about every alien species.
Why does this species never truly die? What is with this entire planet that looks like it came out of an old John Wayne movie? What is with the green cat people, and I can I play as one (no, but you can recruit one)? Everything is just so interesting and that’s why the previous problems it has seem to kind of melt away at points in the game. When you aren’t reminded of the plot you tend to fall into this sense of calm just exploring and trying to find the next thing to do. I loved the presentation, I just wish the story would have backed it up.
(Cut-scenes are also present, but no audio with them is kind of a bummer)
Now as a trophy guy this was one that kind of worried me, most of the trophies here are really easy to get, and if you miss some of the miss-able ones you can get them pretty early on. It’s only about a 12 hour platinum, so it’s not that bad. First you don’t have to worry about difficulty, so no worries there. The only thing difficulty related is doing the first fight in the game on the hardest difficulty, and winning, so it’s easy. The rest is story and exploration.
Exploration wise there are a few that are tricky such as getting all 20 crew members, but if you explore everywhere and talk to everyone it should unlock pretty easily. The rest are just going to every nook and cranny and fighting the optional bosses, again pretty easy. I should have this platinum by tomorrow and when I do I will update this page with a screenshot of my Platinum. Regardless if you want this platinum it shouldn’t be too much work and it’s a pretty short one at that.
Cosmic Star Heroine is a real mess. It’s a good game with a pacing issue. I want to rate this game higher but the story just keeps getting in my way. I loved the way that the trophies interacted with the gameplay and made me want to explore. Maybe it’s a little too easy, but it’s easily forgivable for getting to relive my younger years of JRPG goodness. I just wish that the story was sorted out and was longer. It’s only 15$ too, so not bad on price. I loved this game and as such I give it my score of: