Mind Zero (Vita) Review
Posted by Doug Yates on 07.07.2014
Is Mind Zero just another cookie cutter JRPG or does it stand on its own legs? Find out inside with 411's Doug Yates
Title: Mind Zero Developer: Zerodiv Publisher: Aksys Games Players: 1
JRPGs have been a staple in the videogame world for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, they have also become stagnant and often do nothing to advance the genre. Mind Zero sticks mostly to these tropes but does manage to branch out in a couple of ways to show it’s not just a copycat.
Mind zero begins with a group of high school friends stumbling into another dimension and obtaining weapons that represent a contract between them and their monster-like alternate selves (called MINDS) from that dimension. The rest of the game revolves around this same group of friends with a couple of additions fighting their way through labyrinthine dungeons in search of answers to why these two worlds are colliding.
The overworld map is easy to navigate and conveniently labels locations so that the player knows whether an area is going to advance the story or is the location of a side mission. There are also a decent helping of stores scattered throughout the multiple cities allowing for easy access to items and upgrades for your characters. Many locations will also give a bit of story for the characters of the party allowing you to get to know them a bit better and occasionally giving an extra quest.
The MINDs are the main part of battle much like the Persona series demons. The amount of upgrades available for both the MINDs and characters themselves though is staggering as often new moves or spells will be dropped by enemies which can then be added to any character for use immediately, regardless of class. Equipping moves is integral to survival as the game works off of the elemental rock, scissors, paper system of battle, and without the correct elements you can be defeated quickly. Once learned though the fights become fairly routine.
Battles are found both randomly and at certain markers within the dungeons. Players must strategically switch between the use of their characters and their counterpart MINDS as minds’ attacks and spells will use both your character and minds’ life bars to cast as well as use some of your TP meter. Using the guard function with your human character will cause these gauges to fill a bit faster allowing you to keep your MIND summoned for longer.
If your mind loses its health bar (labeled as magic power) it will “break.” If a mind breaks, then the player will be unable to use the minds for a couple of turns which can be severely detrimental. The coloration of health and magic bars are a bit confusing at first as the colors are the opposite of what they usually are in other games: MP is red and life is blue.
The dungeons are well laid out with a handful of straight-forward environmental puzzles to work out, mostly of the pull-this-switch-to-open-this-door variety. The dungeons have much more modern themes than the average RPG, but they work well within the context of the game. The downside is that the plethora of side missions will have you visiting these dungeons multiple times throughout the game.
The visuals of the game are bipolar to say the least: it has anime-inspired main characters and 2D models during cutscenes, while during battle everything is replaced with archaic looking 3D models that look jagged and uninspired. Enemy designs are also a bit underwhelming and are often just re-skins of a previous enemy.
The music in the game is the standard JRPG fare with a mix of J-pop and instrumentals depending on the situation. The voice work however is top-notch and truly brings life to the characters and situations in the game, adding a much needed depth which the characters would lack otherwise.
• Interesting world and characters.
• Well designed dungeons.
• Excellent voice work.
• Uninspired visuals during battle are drastically different from visuals outside of battle.
• Side missions cause far too much retreading of ground.
With the torrent of JRPG’s showing up on the Vita you’re bound to end up with some similarities. Mind Zero goes a bit beyond these with both its gameplay and story being highly derivative of other series. That being said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing as it uses these tropes fairly well, creating a likeable cast and interesting world to play in.
Great artwork for cutscenes is sullied by bad 3d models during combat
Not much new here but still an enjoyable experience
Surprisingly good voice acting does a lot to carry the story along.
Plenty of missions but a lot of backtracking make this one a double edged sword.
A decent JRPG experience overall but nothing to advance the genre forward.