It’s always interesting to dive into a new JRPG from one of the genre’s veterans. Monark comes to us from Kazunari Suzuki who is famous for his work on the Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei franchises, so it has a lot of potential. To its credit, it introduces some new combat mechanics to a simpler tactical JRPG structure. But Monark consistently surpasses itself elsewhere due to a discrete story, static puzzles, and repetitive level designs that make maintaining interest a lot harder than it could be.
Monark sets up a high-value story that happens at Shin Mikado Academy, where a mysterious barrier obscures the school grounds and makes it impossible for anyone to leave. You control a Pactbearer: one who has made a deal with an otherworldly daemon called Monark that provides a unique power called powers. The drawback, however, is that if this is used in the real world, a mist will appear that slowly drives everyone crazy.
This setup is tempting to start with, but it never causes much stress. Most of the characters are interesting thanks to their distinct personalities and voice acting that certainly sells them: Ryotaro, for example, is a fellow Pactbearer who has a strong sense of self and purpose but has a smugly a tragic and well-founded plot. The cast also had some hilarious little jokes between the expeditions in the True Student Council boardroom. Unfortunately, at that point, there’s no real attempt to add characters you’ve already reached the climax of the story, making it too late.
It all starts with your traditionally silent protagonist taking a psychological test to develop your ego – effectively a personality sheet detailing relationship-based attributes. your relationship with the Seven Deadly Sins. Depending on which sin you best match, you will be given a corresponding villain who serves as a team member. Each monster has a distinct skill tree that focuses on different abilities like attacking, healing, or inflicting status effects like poison or bleed, and that can greatly affect your gameplay. Friend. This also ensures that you’re never alone when it comes to fighting, but it seems like a missed opportunity that these youkai don’t have any role out there, whether that’s in the story or even. There’s only one personality to interact with. They are just tools for you to use at the end of the day.
As you explore the school, you will meet people who offer more psychological tests to boost your ego even more. At Monark’s encouragement, I answered based on what I would personally say (as opposed to a character I wanted to portray) and I found most results and descriptions to be approximate descriptions. accurate about my beliefs or feelings, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. For example, after saying that I would choose to sing popular songs during karaoke, I was commented on as the person who likes to stand out as much as possible; something that I find true as an extrovert.
While there are other ways to improve your stats, like collecting crystals placed around the school, psychological testing is a major factor in determining your ego and the order in which you unlock it. monsters helped make my Monark game unique to me. My first is Gluttony – an evil that focuses on reducing enemy stats while buffing himself – but others can get Envy, which deals extra damage to affected enemies. status effects, in which case things can get more difficult because you’ d need to put more of your resources into healing items to compensate.
Monark rating screenshot
But even with those personal touches, Monark’s greatest sin is repetition. Each part of the story is built around a different team member, but their goals are always the same: find all three Pactbearer Ideas (the giant crystals that make up their inner being) and destroy them. destroy them. These Ideals are located in the Otherworld, a gritty plane inhabited by daemons and where all of Monark’s battles take place. All three Ideals for each Pactbearer are based in the same building, so your goal is usually to get to the roof, clearing the Ideal on each floor.
Most of the time, this involves solving common puzzles to find the key that unlocks the room containing the Ideal and involves a combination safe, computer login, or hints that are too vague to understand. may be useful. These problems are usually solved by going through documents or student profiles on your phone, and that kind of treatment never leaves you feeling satisfied. Monark’s level of repetition and lack of variety is what ultimately makes it more of a chore than a hobby.
Another idea that didn’t really work was the Madness mechanic, at least because it involved the real world. Wherever an Ideal is placed in the Other World, a mist will appear in the corresponding place in the real world. Anyone who walks through it – including you and your team – is emotionally traumatized and will eventually become Mad. This is represented by a Madness bar, and if it hits 100%, you will collapse and pass out in the school infirmary. While I understand what Monark is trying to do here is try to emulate the feeling of death lurking around me, the reality is that there are never any real consequences to taking Mad out into battle so so Those moments feel like a waste of time. Especially since you can easily jump back to the beginning of the floor you were on when you passed out, which is only a slight inconvenience.
On the other hand, the turn-based battles you fight once you reach the Ideal is one of Monark’s few standout highlights, thanks to its exciting abilities, unique combat mechanics, and the best part: the soundtrack comes out. color in boss battles. Your frenzy meter level shifts from the real world into battle, but here if a character hits 100%, you lose control and they will attack whoever is closest to you. strength increased significantly. That can be bad, but it also allows you to do some clever play if the situation is right, such as isolating the rest of your units so that the Mad character can wipe out enemies. your.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Awakening, a state in which you gain the same powers as in Madness but maintain full control over your actions. This power is obtained by using the Resolve skill or by taking damage in battle. Getting my Awakened meter up has never been a priority, but if there’s a round where you can’t hit an enemy, you can spend your turn instead of wasting it. Additionally, each party member can postpone their turn for another character that has gone, allowing them to act again – but in doing so their Insanity increases more each time they have an extra turn, which is a good way to keep this powerful mechanic from being abused.
It’s a rarity, but you can also become Enlightened – when you’re Mad and Awakened at the same time – allowing you to deal even more damage without losing control. There are very few times when this has happened in the 40+ hours that I’ve played and the big risk is that you have to be Mad first to achieve it – but when the stars align, it’s a good feeling.
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