Mind Zero from Aksys games, is a dungeon crawling JRPG for the PS Vita. After seeing the trailers before the game’s release, straight off the bat, I immediately knew this game would be heavily influenced by Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series and it does exactly that. But, just because you follow a formula that is successful doesn’t mean you can or will replicate the feeling of what made the formula a winner to the same effect and for this Mind Zero fell incredibly short in nearly all areas trying to do so.
I will start with an important feature to most, the main one being if you are wondering, YES! There is dual audio for both English and Japanese which is always a welcomed addition to any JRPG.
Mind Zero tells the story of Kei Takanashi and high school friends. One day, Kei runs into his friend Sana who happens to be fighting off a crazy and violent man which Kei then happens to be sucked into a black portal. Here, he is greeted by a woman called the Undertaker to make a contract with a MIND and to choose a weapon or die. A MIND is a mirror image sort of a person and there are many of them to exist as there are humans. They live in an alternate world adjacent to their own and use violence as their main means when coming into contact with humans this could mean a few things to possess them or kidnap people but they can also eat people. Finding these new powers to fend off evil you can more allies and aid an investigator called Ogata Yoichi to solve the main mysteries in the game to be found.
This all sounds rather interesting but in execution it is lackluster as aforementioned. While it does sound interesting, just the execution of the story wasn’t really well done or groundbreaking, so it failed to pique my intrigue to find out more about the MIND and the weird happenings. The dialogue for the game can be pointless at times and drag on for way too long to the point where I honestly just wanted to skip it all to get to any gameplay.
Battles are set to random encounters and the encounter rate was pretty high so battles were frequent so battles got tiresome fast while you were trying to traverse these unimaginative dungeons as they were visually unappealing which made exploration incredibly boring as dungeons pretty much looked all the same for wherever you were.
When you enter a battle you have your first set of options to choose from which are ‘Attack’, ‘Charge’, ‘Item’, ‘Escape’ and ‘Burst. You are also able to toggle from yourself to your MIND by pressing L to summon your MIND to act as a shield almost for you in a way while dealing damage itself to the enemy something I can compare it to is Final Fantasy VIII with Guardian Forces but you can control each character’s MIND and keep toggling between the two so this is where the main strategy lies knowing when to summon your MIND and successfully put it away.
The problem with this is now you are open to attacks directly head on and you will feel each hit as enemies will do tons of damage if your MIND is out of commission or dismissed for the time being. You have a meter though so you are limited to how many times you can call your MIND so this can get troublesome at times as the MP (Mind Points) to call a MIND is a rather hefty cost but you will enter a MIND Break when you run out of MP. What this means is for the next four turns your character is unable to call their MIND into battle and wait until their next turn to act. There is a way to regain MP in battle by using an option called Charge this Charge ability lets you take less damage and regain more MP each turn in battle but after a battle is complete you regain full MP again. There are skills in the game however they are counter intuitive because the tutorial explains this feature poorly. You start out with being able to use one skill for one character however you gain more skills by acquiring SP (Skill points) which is explained! The amount needed appears to be a hidden value as well.
The soundtrack isn’t anything special I think, for everything other than the battle music… The one place where it shouldn’t be problem but is. Excluding the battle music I find everything else to be okay. Although somewhere where I can praise the game though is that the artwork is sharp!
However the 3D models are whole other story as they aren’t the most appealing 3D models even the enemies when compared to the wonderful 2D artwork of the characters!