Ray Gigant Review

Ray Gigant - Header

Ray Gigant Boxart

Developer: Experience Inc.
Publisher: acttil
Platform: PlayStation Vita

Having recently played Stranger of Sword City, I was ecstatic about Ray Gigant. Finally, Experience would be trying something new! A battle system that’s quick but encourages varied fighting and skill trees to differentiate characters and roles. In many ways, it’s intriguing for the very fact that it breaks out of the standard Wizardry mold. Every change could have lead to an amazing RPG, but unfortunately Ray Gigant feels like a collection of sophomore mistakes.

Let’s start with the most jarring change: Ray Gigant’s focus is not on building up a party and crawling through dungeons, grid-by-grid mapping out each floor. You see, it’s largely a visual novel. The gameplay cycle revolves around fun character interactions, serious story time, and then dives into small self-contained dungeons or boss fights. You’ll need to be comfortable with spending anywhere from 10-30 minutes going through story content before delving into dungeons.

Unfortunately, the story is nothing to write home about. Aliens called Gigants are attacking Earth and only special weapons wielded by chosen youths can defeat them. The setting is darker than most standard “chosen hero” RPGs, with the Gigants succeeding in destroying most cities around the world, though the character interactions are surprisingly bright and cheery. It’s effectively a failed attempt at a mashup of Shin Megami Tensei’s post-apocalyptic settings with the more character-focused elements of Persona 3 or 4 without the writing to back up either.

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Most of the characters throughout Ray Gigant are fairly forgettable, though the second act holds some stronger ones. The story sections, on the other hand, seem lost. The actions of a few people feel out of place and are never entirely explained, and major plot points almost appear to be cut. I felt more confused by where the story was going rather than interested in solving any mystery. It was only at the end—through a lengthy exposition segment—that everything made some type of sense. DRPG enthusiasts will probably find gameplay too easy, as well. Ray Gigant is built to grab a new audience without offering anything to genre fans. Newcomers may end up viewing some of these choices favorably from an accessibility standpoint, despite their definite flaws.

You’ll always have a swordsman, archer, and mage, though who they are and what skill sets are present rotate. Unlike most genre titles, there are no random encounters. Every enemy is visible in the dungeon. Most dungeons also allow you to instantly escape at any point on the map. Dungeons themselves are quite bland, with only a few environment variations. The big thing that Ray Gigant tries to accomplish is openness, with many walls actually being only half-partitions allowing you to see beyond and anticipate dungeon gimmicks. Unfortunately, this along with Gigant icons can bring the Vita down to half its framerate, making traversing some dungeons a huge pain. Only the last dungeon is coherent and interestingly designed.

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Battles are where Ray Gigant really defines itself. Each party member is gorgeously animated, and the enemies look great as well. This animation proves wasteful, unfortunately, as neither side has their attacks animated. While you only have three party members, each member can queue up to five different actions during each round of battle. With using a Yorigami comes an increase in the party’s “Parasitism” rate, however. Once it reaches 100%, the battle suddenly shifts and each action will cost each member their life rather than action points.

Alongside ability points, you accrue other points in the Slash Beat Meter. These allow a Yorigami user to unleash a massive attack through a rhythm mini game, oddly enough. It’s neat the first time, but seems to be a concession made so that bosses can have inflated health bars. Besides the absurd amount of health, bosses don’t change up the flow of battle much. Having only six actions to a character, it’s common to find a pattern of attack that works and is sustainable until you can Slash Beat attack. Considering Gigant battles are one of the selling points, it’s disappointing that they add nothing new to the formula and instead act as giant damage sponges.

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The battle system is fun for a while, but it becomes too restrictive early on with each party that you play. The fact that you start from scratch with each new party brings a lot of exhaustion midway through the game. Once the final act starts, however, Ray Gigant suddenly opens up. New skills and equipment, a well designed multi-floor dungeon, and a small but significant change to the battle system that improves its pacing makes the last several hours extremely satisfying.

In the end, this DRPG is simply lacking. There are some great concepts presented, but Ray Gigant fails to deliver on them in a fun and meaningful way. DRPG staples such as the tension of managing resources and keeping your party alive, as well as the thrill of slowly but steadily exploring interesting dungeons, aren’t even present. It attempts to make up for these with unique characters and huge boss fights, but neither are really all that enthralling. While players new to the genre may find a lot to enjoy, Ray Gigant is ultimately mediocre.


 2 out of 5 alpacas

Review written by Sean W.
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