Ray Gigant is a highly story driven and artistic dungeon crawler role playing game with some mild visual novel elements. Ray Gigant was developed by the Japanese game developer Experience Inc who also developed other well-known titles such as Demon Gaze and Stranger of Sword City. The original Japanese release of the game was published by Bandai-Namco late July 2015 for the PlayStation Vita. Ray Gigant is scheduled for localization to Both North America and Europe early May 2016 and will be published by Acttil. The game will only be available digitally via PlayStation Network for the PlayStation Vita but it is also compatible with the PlayStation TV for those who prefer to play games on a larger screen.
Ray Gigant begins in an alternate and futuristic version of Tokyo, Japan when a race of giant and destructive creatures known as Gigants begins to attack Earth. During the destruction of entire cities by these enormous creatures a young boy is granted a power that can defeat the Gigants. Soon after other children began to receive these powers too and hope was restored for human kind regardless of the fact that much of the planet is already in ruins. This power comes to be known as Yorigami but there are many risks to using these inhuman powers due to their chaotic nature and immense strength. Ichiya Amakaze who was the first child to receive Yorigami powers grows to be afraid of them and unwilling to use them. Ichiya is forced to use his powers soon after being tricked into joining a school for children who have received Yorigami powers. Being a school is just a cover up for a secret organization that wishes to exploit the powers which are often received by children. The children begin to suspect that there are further ulterior motives to being trapped in the confines of the facility and being forced to fight the Gigants against their will. It becomes even more evident when Ichiya attempts to escape the facility the same day that he arrives but finds that there is no escape. Soon Ichiya is forced to fight a Gigant upon reaching the rooftop of the facility. Things only get more interesting from this point on as the children attempt to learn more about their powers and the facility that has become their prison. The game consists of four arcs with Ichiya’s being the very first but only three focus on an individual character.
The game features many gameplay mechanics that come together to create a unique dungeon crawler experience but the quality of the mechanics are very mixed. Many of the game’s most complex and interesting gameplay mechanics are during battles against the Gigants. First of all the point of view during battles change between third and first person depending on what phase of the battle you are in. Rather than being turn based the game utilizes a point allocation system in which you have no more than one hundred points to use for the entire party but there are ways to recover a small amount of the points. If you happen to use up all of the points before the battle is over then it will switch to parasite mode which will eat away at your character’s health with every action. During battles the number of actions is limited to five per character each allocation phase. Unfortunately, even though there are many limits during battles it still isn’t enough to make battles more challenging. The enemies are not only stereotypical but also rather weak for being massive and destructive creatures. If the enemies were a bit more challenging the battle system would be even more fun.
Many of the game’s other mechanics are very simple and don’t really allow the game to stand out as much as it could have. The dungeon crawling aspect of the game isn’t too different from many other dungeon crawlers and the navigation of dungeons is too similar to games such as Mind Zero. The one thing that does make the dungeon crawling aspect of the game stand out is the ability to see where enemies are as you travel through dungeons. Unlike more popular dungeon crawlers such as Etrian Odyssey theenemies stay in one spot and are only represented by an uninspiring icon. It would be more interesting to see the enemies themselves roaming around in the dungeon but Ray Gigant is already an improvement when compared to dungeon crawlers that only have random encounters. While traveling through dungeons there are many points in which you have to click through the excessive dialogue which is primarily between the lead character and their Yorigami. Since the dungeons aren’t much fun to go through and the game has a lot of dialogue it at times felt like Ray Gigant should have been a visual novel instead.
Ray Gigant features a wide variety of art styles but the character art stands out the most due to its distinct style and shading. A few of the character’s designs don’t quite fit right into the game but it doesn’t stand out until much later in the game when the characters all team up. The art of the enemies is unfortunately a huge mess and many of the enemies don’t mesh well with each other or the playable characters. There doesn’t appear to be a solid theme when it comes to the enemies although the intent was for all of them to be modeled after creatures from fairytales and folklore. The dungeons and backgrounds are all very basic as they are with most dungeon crawlers but it doesn’t take away from the gameplay. It would be great to see a dungeon crawler that features backgrounds with more life in the future and I think Ray Gigant would be a stronger game if it had that. The overall aesthetics of the game are very strong but most of the art styles and designs don’t blend the way they were meant to. Although the art wasn’t as strong as it could have been the animations easily make up for it. The animations during battles had the most impact due to their exciting pace and smooth movements. It is unfortunate that the amazing animations were not utilized more throughout the entire game.
The game is far too simple for dungeon crawler fans who were hoping for something challenging or complicated but it would be a great start for gamers who are new to the dungeon crawler genre. The story is strong and impactful with music and art that compliments its dark and tragic mood. There are no random encounters and you can see where the enemies are located as you journey through dungeons. The battle system is interesting but the enemies are so easy to defeat that it doesn’t compliment the unique battle system and makes it seem unnecessary. The battle animations are powerful and add a lot of quality to the gameplay as a whole. Ray Gigant has what it takes to be a great dungeon crawler regardless of the many weak points presented in the gameplay.
Pros: Impactful Story, Solid Battle Animations, Great Soundtrack
Cons: Mismatched Art, Cliché Lead Characters, Uninspiring Dungeons
SCORE – 7.5/10
This review is based on a digital copy of Ray Gigant on the PlayStation Vita provided by Acttil.