OverviewI'll say this up front. I enjoyed playing Infinite Undiscovery. But....in a weird way, it's one of the worst JRPG I have ever played. I think. After I've sat down and thought about it, I realise it's a completely average if not below average game. I'll attempt to break it down into a somewhat semblent review.
CombatThe combat in this game isn't the usual JRPG formula of "Run in a circle, get into an instanced fight, select moves from a menu and win". IU doesn't do this, and instead tries to break the formula by making it a more action RPG style of fighting. All enemies are seen on the map at any time, so you can essentially pick and choose your fights. On paper, this sounds terrific, no more boring wait times for fights, and I was okay with that. But then when I got INTO the combat, I was just left high and dry. For a start, the AI on your allies is....atrocious. I've seen bad AI before, but this was something else. You have about 9 styles of combat to use at any one time, be it "Free for all", "Conserve MP" "Combo" and many more. Now, unless you are set to "Free", you better believe your characters will stand there and let you die. I wish this was a joke, but it's honestly that bad. At times, the combat is fine, but there's just little moments like that when it really takes you out of the world and makes you say "Wow, I really am playing a video game here". Another tedium regarding combat is the need to draw a sword everytime you fight. You unsheathe your weapon by simply pressing right trigger, which doesn't sound too bad. But bear in mind once this is out, you run slower, so after every fight, you have to waste another 2/3 seconds to put it away. This doesn't sound bad, but it adds up when you are fighting nonstop for 20 minutes. The addition of "Initiative and Ambush" is one that has been in a number of RPGS, but in this one, it seems unneedlessly punishing at times. There was a moment in the post game where I had to encounter an extremely tough adversary which took all of my skills to beat. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a low level enemy hit me from out of the blue, triggered the state of ambush, and the main enemy critically hit all of my characters from 100% hp to 0 in a matter of seconds.
Special mention should go to friendly AI being caught in a loop. By this, I mean when an enemy is dead, and they will relentlessly pound the enemies dead body, getting a combo chain of untold numbers (Over 200) and refusing to stop unless the very hand of GOD should stop them.
CharactersThe characters in Infinite Undiscovery are somewhat forgettable, although infinitely loveable. Be it from the wandering musician Capell, the sexy Michelle or the Stoic guardian Edward, all of the characters burst out of the game in a larger than life fashion.
For the most part...
tri-Ace arbitrarily decided to add no less than 18 characters in the game, seeing almost every major plot point an excuse to dump more useless characters on you. To be quite frank, I settled with the first 4 characters you get in the game, and stuck with them throughout the entire game with little variation. Starting you off with a healer, ranged and melee combatant alongside the already versatile Capell makes a compelling reason to stick wih them throughout. Sure, there's the oblitigary cast of wild and wacky characters, the voluptous mistress Michelle, Dragoon-esque Dominica or the "Great bear Gustav", there really is a character for anybody. But whereas this is the games biggest strength, it also falls back on being its greatest weakness. In a 20 hour game, there just isnt TIME to develop all these characters in a satisfactory manner, with some of them literally getting no more than 10 lines of dialogue througout.
StoryThe story was refreshingly different admititedly. A young man named Capell looks the same as the hero of the land called Sigmund. The order he leads is determined to cut the chains that are attatched to the moon, trying to bring it down and end the world by flooding it. Many of the plot points in the game are needlessy dragged out, and only progress once you visit VERY specific parts of the world map. At some points, you are flung out onto one of the open world maps with naught to go off but a 4 second spoken sentence from a party member, ambiguosly advising your team to go to a certain location. Bear in mind you are being rained down upon with all sorts of enemies, relentlessly attacking you, and trying to traverse these poorly designed maps become nothing more than a sheer annoyance.
Postgame ContentPostgame content in IU is your standard "Walk all over the place and collect items to make items to TRY and make the worlds best weapon". Your standard affair. One extra dungeon which is unecessarily difficult, and a whole lot of trudging from one place to another to hope that store has the items you so desperately need to level a profession. The fact that there are SO MANY characters who all have the same profession but make different things is needlessly complicated and unstreamlined.
For the sum of its parts, Infinite Undiscovery is a somewhat enjoyable game. For the low price tag, you really do get what you pay for with this game. Admittely weak in parts, and overly angsty in others, the game is average at best. With Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey and Eternal Sonata all being out and doing what this game does but BETTER, it's really a tough sell unless you're explicitly an RPG nut. And even then, it's a push