Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars is Atlus’s latest title for the Nintendo 3DS. The demo version hit the Nintendo eShop and Playstation Store on March 25th, 2014, well ahead of its April 15th, 2014 release date. It features roughly one hour of playtime that jumps straight into the core gameplay and introduces the story.
My interest in this game lies with the fact that Atlus is publishing it. Atlus has a great track record of publishing video game gems that grow into big successes. A few of their popular series include Persona, Etrian Odyssey, Trauma Center, and Shin Megami Tensei. When Atlus started shifting their marketing to heavily promote Conception II: Children of the Stars, naturally, I was curious. Could it be yet another hidden gem?
Conception II is an RPG mixed with a dating sim. This is immediately apparent when the background story is told. Essentially you are a Disciple, one of God’s chosen ones that have special powers to hold back the Dusk flowing from the Labyrinths. You are particularly special and will need to form bonds with seven heroines to create Star Children. The process includes Class Mating which creates Star Children, who will join you in your fights against various monsters.
The dating sim portion from the demo gives you few options. Of the seven heroines, you can only speak to three of them, and because the demo is so short, there are limited outcomes. It is quite generic, you can choose events in different locales with different girls and you can select your responses which will affect how well you right with the heroine in the Labyrinth.
The real troubling aspect of this game is the RPG. When you enter the Labyrinth, you walk around in real time with your children and partner circling around you. What is frustrating is the camera. There is absolutely no attempt to control the camera automatically, instead you are asked to maneuver the camera with the L and R buttons. It was not easy, especially given the many turns and twists in the Labyrinth.
When you encounter a monster, you are brought into a turn-based fight. There are some old ideas that are polished up here. You can strike from different directions which will affect your damage, chains and where your position is. The demo did not give enough of a chance to customize classes, weapons, etc to show the true potential, but I can envision some cool effects with certain spells.
In the end, I have to say that this was a disappointing demo. There was not a whole lot of meat in it, especially when you compare it to Atlus’ Etrian Odyssey demo, and the game itself is lackluster. RPGs are dominating the Nintendo 3DS and while there are a few fresh ideas here, it isn’t enough to hold its own against the heavy weights like Bravely Default, Etrian Odyssey, etc.