Yep. Here it is. The moment you've all been waiting for. All those nights watching, "Aikage is playing Monster Girl Quest" pop up on your steam profile wondering, "IS IT WORTH IT?"
Monster Girl Quest: Failing on All Cylinders
If you like Monsters, Girls, or Quests, you're gonna have a bad time.
Let's recap: Kotaku holds their game of the year vote and some funny guys almost get MGQ3 put in as game of the year. The comments threads light up with a, "Why CAN'T this game be game of the year!" Some rush to defend, others to condemn.
It's an interesting prospect - why can't an erotic game, and this game IS erotic, win a game of the year award? The defenders say the game brings deep philosophical topics, and the story is good. The critics say, "you're defending your ability to fap under the guise of interesting gameplay!"
I'm here to say that everyone is wrong. This game fails at being pornographic and it fails at being deep and meaningful.
I'll get the adult portion of the game out of the way first. We're all adults here, but I'm not going to put any NSFW pics here, don't worry.
The subtitle, and I kid you not, is "Lose and be Raped." This is a bit of a twist as you play as a male. So the male who looks like he has just reached 10 years old, is repeatedly taken advantage of. I won't go into the whole, "this game promotes rape culture and should be burned with fire," spiel. If I was more articulate I'd go into a whole diatribe on how this is problematic especially as this game aims to be H-game: The intelligent H Game, but I'm not, so I won't. Feel free to flame away in the comments.
The problem with the erotic-ness lies not in the content - it's obvious from the get go that this is a niche title appealing to a specific group of hentai - but with just how dull and uninteresting those encounters are. These encounters all go about the same, You lose the battle, the creature you're fighting (the majority of whom seem to be based off plants or insects for some reason), will then begin a scene where your censored little boy body is violated. These scenes are still images with background sounds and pretty ...boring. Most of these scenes involve the still image of the monster (the same image you've seen the whole time you fight the monster) and a small box in the corner where your little boy parts are "inside" the monster. There is no animation and only about 4 stock, "squish squish" sound effects. The last time I played an H-Game was Nocturnal Illusion which was quite a long time ago. If I go by this game, there's been 0 advancement in H-game development since then. If you want to find quality hentai these days I'm sure you can easily find it free on that there interwebs. That hentai is far more interesting than these scenes. Also, more animated.
It's worth mentioning that there are also several "vore" scenes. These can be turned off and I eventually did so. I'm pretty open minded but I cannot wrap my head around vore.
The other problem is that you can only see the H-scenes if you lose the battle. This means that if you're playing this as a straight H game, you're going to go into a battle, lose, then come back and repeat the fight so that you can progress to the next fight, that you will want to lose. It's just not set up very well for someone to play as an H-game. There is a gallery mode where you can replay your battles and lose them on purpose to see the scenes but that means you're going to slog through the game without the H scenes in order to eventually go to that mode to lose on purpose. It's not really great.
OK, so it's not very titillating. But most of the defenders say that the glory of this game is in its deep philosophy and amazing story.
The story of this game is deep if you have never talked to another human being about current events before in your life.
That's a pretty terrible title. OH WELL.
DO YOU LIKE READING BOOKS?!
This game has a lot of text. I mean a LOT. More than any Final Fantasy game I've ever played. There are no "shops" - there are but you don't buy items. You literally traverse from one section of the game to the next - just reading. endless reading.
I'm not illiterate. I do read. Quite a bit actually. I'll admit that most of what I read is "trash" - my favorite author is Stephen King and I like fantasy. But still. I know how to read, and I enjoy it. The problem is that this game has absolutely nothing interesting to say. The deep philosophy boils down to very basic concepts that everyone is more or less innately aware of if they have ever read the paper. The hero just has a severe case of, "I grew up on a diary farm and have never faced the world," syndrome. He is surprised to know that ....other races have feelings too. And that's essentially the message that is drilled into your head throughout the game. There's religious persecution overarching the whole story that is so heavy handed and expounded upon in so much detail that I eventually made judicious use of the "auto" button.
For example, he comes to a town where the insects and the plants are at war. As he meets the plants first he hears them tell their side of the story, then he runs off and kills all the insects. Then he finds out, *GASP* the insects had their own perspective and were actually the ones persecuted! Waaaa! Amaze! Such story! The hero then realizes that, in war, both sides believe they're right.
This is the deep philosophy this game has to offer. Things you or I have thought about just by talking with a friend or reading the newspaper. It really wouldn't be so bad, but that section took two hours for me to get through. Partially because, for research purposes I had to lose every battle, and partially because there is just so, so, so much needless text. Phrases are repeated, themes repeated, useless posturing. It's just too much.
Pete and Repeat are out on a hike when Pete falls down a hill. Who is left?
OK, but the gameplay, right? There's gotta be some redemption?
The gameplay is abysmal. You really don't feel like you're playing a game at all rather than playing a choose your own adventure. There's really only one or two preset things you can do in order to win the battle. Deviate and you've lost. This gets especially problematic later on when some enemies can one hit bind you and then you auto lose. You have a set of skills you can use, but save for 1 or 2 there are no attack animations. Most of your skills become useless as new ones are unlocked, I don't think I even touched Demon Skull Beheading later in the game. Most of the time you'll do the same 3 or 4 moves to win every fight: SUPER MOVE, attack, Heal, attack attack attack attack, SUPER MOVE. Some "Struggle" in there if you get Bound.
I guess to put it one way, you're playing a slightly above average D & D campaign where the DM is using multiple choice questions instead of dice and also happens to be a 90 year grandfather with a tendency to ramble.
To put it another: this game sucks.
**DISCLAIMER: There is a bit of a disconnect in that I mention MGQ3 but I'm really only reviewing Chapter 1. I've been assured that Ch. 2 and 3 are better. Keep your eyes open for full reviews of those chapters as soon as I read through War and Monster Girls a few times. **