I just played through the Demo on Steam and had some thoughts.
This is the Yoko Taro Square Enix Card Based RPG. Everything here is cards, the map, the characters, the equipment, everything!! Except the game board that appears and the dice that you use and some gems and your game piece. But otherwise we have an Oops all Cards situation on our hands.
The game is stylish and wonderful looking. And honestly I think that's the crux of my problem with it.
This has a real style over function theme. The menus feel sluggish because all the tabs are cards, and they move and flip when you switch to them. Going into battle means instead of a quick transition as JRPGs of old did (or not super quick depending) you get a board being set up with all your character cards, the enemies appear and then any action you take is cards interacting with each other, with the gems, or any number of other simple but not super short animations. When you do damage to an enemy there health crystal shrinks and when they die it takes a second as their life crystal explodes.
It feels as if they were trying to compensate for the simplicity of the cards by adding more animations, but they are just like cards glowing and flipping an extra time. It didn't quite hit with me.
Besides the style, the combat system, where every hero has their own abilities (as cards), some take a resource of gems. Gems you get after performing any action I think? Even one that spends some gems. This seems like their replacement for a mana system. You seem to always start with 2 gems and there are cards that can get you more. I don't mind not having to juggle MP from battle to battle, but I think early game the gems made it too easy as you could always use your very strong 2 gem spending move your first turn to kill one of the enemies and still have gems for your next two characters to use some highly damaging moves.
And when it comes to information in combat, this game straddles the line between perfect information (like a slay the sprire) and most other JRPGs where you just try stuff to see how much damage it will do. It doesn't tell you what the enemy plans to do, but you do see how much damage you are going to do based on your character's attack plus the card you pick, compared the the enemies defense. I think it works fine, although I'm not sure why they are making me do all the math instead of just telling me what the damage could be with chance of crit or miss.
Most of the game is voice but it is all done by a single narrator. Which was fine, didn't really move the needle one way or another for me.
But the music rips, so maybe a day one buy?
I know this is mostly negative, but I think there is a really cool game here, it just needs to be a little more snappy. They even have an easy way to jump to already explored map cards (there are some weird restrictions on this though that make it seem slightly less useful) if you don't want to haltingly jump from card to card.
What did you all think?