Video games

Utawarerumono Mask of Truth: Video Game Review

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth picks up (more or less) right where Mask of Deception’s Story ended. The game mechanics are pretty much the same as those from the previous game, with the addition of a very well done tutorial mode that not only provides a solid refresher on the base mechanics, it also does a very solid job of getting across some higher skill level techniques, to help if you get in a tight spot.

Setting up an co-op chain in Mask of Truth.
The game’s combat system is still pretty fun, and setting up Co-Op chains is much more of a part of the game in than in the first title, adding tactical depth.

That said, without getting into spoilers, this game is too longer. Mask of Deception took me in the range of 60 hours to beat, while this game took me about 100 hours to beat. Further, very little of this playthrough was made up of replaying previous battles to grind for XP – no, the majority of those hours were pure story.

One of the Visual Novel sequences from Mask of Truth.
Expect to see lots of visual novel cutscenes like this one.

To get into the necessary spoilers for the previous game – Mask of Deception ended with the character of Oshtor, one of the party’s allies, sacrificing himself to help our heroes escape, particularly after his sister, Nekone, ran back for him (when she was told not to), with the point of view character Haku (who had previously been established as having physical similarities to Oshtor), in pursuit. To help the late Mikado’s daughter (and Haku’s niece – it’s complicated) attempt to retake the throne, Haku takes on Oshtor’s identity, and reports that Haku has died.

Consequently, beyond handling the war and associated political machinations involved with that, a lot of plot in Mask of Truth is involved first with mourning Haku’s believed “death”, then with “Oshtor” accidentally dropping hints to his friends, causing them to eventually figure it out at various points. On top of all of that the various female members of the supporting cast basically recognizing their feelings for Haku, and in turn Oshtor, basically becoming something of a harem.

All of this in turn also ends up tying in to the plotline of the actual first game in the series – Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen, which as of this game’s release had never come out, so the only information on the game’s story was available through the game’s anime adaptation.

An in-engine cutscene (which isn't a battle) in Mask of Truth)
While Haku-as-Oshtor overcoming ancient/future technology by knowing people’s stupid password habits is funny, this bit ran on way too long.

Still, while I enjoyed the story, there was definitely a very real sense that this could have been a little shorter – a bit here, a bit there. It’s enough where I want to hold off a bit before I play the remake of Prelude to the Fallen, just to take something of a break to play something else.

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is currently available for purchase on Amazon – and the PC version can be purchased on Steam. Buying anything from Amazon helps to support the site.

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