Conception II is a dating sim/dungeon crawler mash-up that gives players the flexibility to go as deep as they want, but can't avoid falling victim to some anime/JRPG clichés.
Party System Depth
Conception II has a intricate party system. Instead of recruiting, members are born. Depending on who the parents are, certain types of classes, strengths, and elemental powers will become available. It's a hard system to crack, but the right combination of party members can go a long way in battle.
Players have the option to simplify certain aspects of the game. Battles can go automatic, your best gear can be auto-equipped, and the whole dating sim part is entirely optional. Some enemy encounters are also entirely avoidable.
Tons To Do
When players are not busy saving Aterra, they have a lot of other stuff to do. This includes buying gifts for female recruits, scavenger hunts, using the training sim, going on dates, and taking on extra dungeons. Merely following the main story offers enough, but there's a fuller experience to be had, as well.
The story seems a bit far fetched, but palatable. Demons are overtaking the once peaceful world of Aterra. In response, the Star God has imbued special powers to a select number of young people. Players take on the role of Wake Archus, one of the Star God's most talented recruits. As Archus, you team up with seven of the top female recruits to create Star Children - divine soldiers that look like toddler - and use them to infiltrate the demons' homes, and save Aterra.
The dating sim aspect is fun, but not very robust. At times, I had to redo scripted events multiple times. Encounters varied in length, but lacked cohesiveness. For example, sometimes it seemed like my character grew closer to Serina (your classic tsundere), then the next interaction she completely ignore me (your classic tsundere). The same thing occurred with Feene. *sigh*
Considering players spend a lot of their play time wandering the mulit-level catacombs, they could be more interesting. Essentially, all the dungeons are a collection of brightly colored hallways and rooms. The on-screen map helps with navigation, but monotony can set in pretty quick (as is common in dungeon crawling), especially when I was trying to find my way to the end. The fact that dungeon layouts randomly generate when you leave should make them more interesting, but it doesn't.
I took this game everywhere and I wasn't always comfortable playing it in public. Like a lot of harem anime shows, there are some pretty risque events. Star Children creation cutscenes feature suggestive poses of the female recruits. The dating sim dialogue has some pervy selections too. These titillating aspects make playing this game in line at the grocery store or at the barber shop a bit uncomfortable, to say the least.
Conception II adds dating sim to dungeon crawling, and places it in a pseudo-religious world where teenagers birth toddler soldiers to fight evil demons. Despite the wild premise, it's entertaining and a breeze to play with all the auto features. Common anime/JRPG pitfalls (harem stuff, dungeon crawling) dampens the gaming experience, but not the overall fun.