Game Review #158: Asdivine Hearts II (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Allan J.
Developer: Exe Create Inc.
Category: RPG, Adventure, Simulation, Strategy
Release Date: 01.24.2019
Price (at time of review): $12.99
Buy Asdivine Hearts II from the Nintendo eShop here.
It’s a Sequel! Did You Need to Play the Original?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love RPGs! Now, that being said, RPGs from KEMCO have been flowing my way quite abundantly lately, which has been a good thing. Today, I will be taking a look at Asdivine Hearts II, which is the sequel to Asdivine Hearts—weird, right? This story picks up two years after the end of the original, and our heroes reunite, this time to save the parallel world of Archelio, which is on the verge of being frozen in ice and snow.
Full disclosure: I have not played the original. The good news is that if, like me, you have not played the original, there is a recap of the first adventure right at the beginning of the game in the form of the journal of Maidame Curie—a deity of unknown origin apparently, though her story is really not explained other than by making it apparent that no one wants to cross her for whatever reason—conveniently placed on the table in front of our main character, Zack, when the story first begins.
This does a decent job getting you caught up where you need to be, but even still, there are quite a few inside jokes and references to the first story that just went over my head a bit. Nevertheless, this game is completely playable without having played the original, though it is probably still better if you did play it first.
RPGs & Dating Sims
The story almost seems secondary to the sexual tension between Zack and pretty much every female character in the game—which is about 90% of the characters. It would seem that Zack is completely oblivious to the fact that every girl he hangs around with wants to be with him, even with their jealousy and bickering over him at every step. There’s also a “One-Handed Mode” in the controller settings of the menu, so maybe I’m just missing the real point of the game? Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about... you decide...
Too innocent? What about these?
It felt a bit weird throughout the game, as you must build trust between Zack and the other party members by answering questions a certain way, either flattering or offending the women with your responses. This also affects the endings, of which there are multiple, depending on how you play your cards with the girls. The main story did hold enough traction on its own to keep me engaged, though, so it didn’t get too weird.
Too Many Bells & Whistles
The battle system is a bit… over-complicated. Maybe it was fleshed out in the first game, and they just kind of build from there, but there were so many mechanics thrown at me all at once that I never felt like I fully grasped everything. Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on how you feel about it—the battles really aren’t that challenging. I was 10+ hours in before I even ran into a challenge. Part of this is due to the DLC I purchased, which gave double experience points, but even still, before my characters started leveling up too much the enemies were still easily defeated. I was not on the most difficult setting either, so I will retry it at a higher difficulty when I can—probably after I play the first one, which is on standby in my library right now.
But I’ve gotten away from my original point, which was to say that there is an extremely complex battle system where you pair your characters with “Buddies” who assist and support you during battles, giving you up to 6 party members at a time. You can have them support your primary attack, complement it, or simply do their own thing, but there are some different strategies to play, depending on which buddy you pair with which party member. But none of it is really necessary, because all you have to do to win is do a physical attack, and in 1 to 2 attacks, you win. It’s just overly complex where it really doesn’t need to be.
On top of that, you can upgrade and modify your weapons by combining excess stock with your base weapon, adding and removing different attributes of other weapons to modify it. One of the mini games allows you to use holy stones or tickets to play a safe-cracker game that yields rare weapons, so I really found a majority of my powerful weapons there, and never really needed any of the other weapons I uncovered throughout the rest of the game.
Also, I just want to touch briefly on a few other features. In addition to your standard weapons and armor, each character also has a fully-customizable jewel grid, where you can play a little bit of Tetris and fit the different-shaped jewels into the grid, combining their different powers and abilities, ranging from added HP to octuplet-attack power.
You also have customizable plots of land where you can put planters for harvesting different seeds (HP+ Seeds, ATK seeds, etc.), or you can place sheds on the plot to hold excess weapons. There’s even a battle arena to try out your skills—the arena was actually pretty challenging once you got to the gold rounds!
The graphics are crisp, clean, and well-done. It is done in modern-retro style for the main gameplay and exploring, with cute anime-style characters in the foreground during dialogue. The soundtrack is nothing spectacular, but it gets the job done. It reminds me of the SNES days of RPGs. I have definitely heard worse soundtracks than this. It kept the mood in line with the story quite nicely, and wasn’t too pushy or obnoxious, so overall a success.
Asdivine Hearts II was a fun game. It was outside of my normal RPG wheelhouse, but even with the odd harem feel, the story and characters were still quite entertaining, and I enjoyed my time enough to purchase the original so I can give it a go from the start. While the battle system is unnecessarily complex, at least it’s not required that you master it—or even use it—in order to defeat your enemies. If you like cute little JRPGs with a hint of dating simulator to it, then this game is definitely for you. If you’re not really into the sexual tension, don’t worry… nothing too graphic or perverse, and the story is still good enough to warrant the cost of admission. Go get yourself a copy!
Buy Asdivine Hearts II from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by KEMCO