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Liberation Maiden Review


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On 11/24/2012 at 12:56 PM by Travis Hawks

No matter your political stance, you would think that a president that flew around and shot missiles would be awesome. Turns out it’s boring.
RECOMMENDATION:

For those who will buy anything in the name of supporting their favorite Japanese developers.

I thought we had moved past the era of silly touch-screen controls early in the lifespan of the DS, but apparently it still has its proponents.  Grasshopper Manufacture and Level 5 have teamed up to make sure that the dying art of crappy stylus futzing stays around a little longer with their joint downloadable venture, Liberation Maiden.  Maybe the controls themselves wouldn’t be so objectionable if there was some other entertainment value in the package, but as it is, Liberation Maiden is just a boring series of stylus rubbings in an anime wrapper.

The little anime story bits are somehow the best part of this game too, and I’m definitely no fan of anime.  Your character has just been elected president of New Japan and now must rid the land of the evil that has infested its shores by personally flying around and blasting everything to bits.  Your point of view is just behind Madame President and you can steer her somewhat with the circle pad – a little less restrained than the movement in StarFox 64.  While moving about, you use the stylus to move your reticule across pink, glowing orbs on potential targets and then lift the stylus to unleash a volley of weapons at each target you locked on to.  There are targets everywhere, so after a while it becomes easiest to just wipe the stylus around until you have a bunch of stuff targeted and then fire.

This style of controls leaves you mindlessly rubbing the screen and putting a little effort into dodging incoming enemy fire, particularly missiles.  Why the missiles are even a threat is unknown because they will circle you for an extremely long time until you eventually blast them out of the sky.  Actually getting hit by one of these missiles is a real feat, but your advisor continually freaks out when there are any in your area.  Getting damaged to any significant degree is really only an issue during boss battles and larger conflicts.  Minor fracases rarely result in a single ding in your ship’s shields.

Just because you can get hurt during the boss battles doesn’t make them interesting.  Every large-scale encounter in the game except the final one involves you battling a “spike.”  A structure that starts out being embedded in the ground and rises up to expose more flashing pink spots as you wail on it for a while.  There are “lesser spikes” and “major spikes,” with the major ones requiring slightly different tactics.  Every battle against a major spike ends with an exercise where you quickly draw circles on the touch screen which seems impossible to fail at.  It’s like a wimpy quick time event that drags a button press into a thirty second affair.  Some of the major spikes will emit dangerous lasers and ring-shaped projections you have to avoid – which can be sort of difficult considering your limited movement capabilities.  Almost every bit of damage I endured in the game was from not being able to move the ship adequately, which really ticked me off during the final battle.

The big fight at the end requires you to gain quite a bit of altitude, something you were unable to do until then and it wasn’t for several minutes into the battle that I discovered this new ability.  At this point I was already very bored with the confrontation and had to use my newfound skills to slowly and tirelessly dispatch with the end character (covered in the same spikes the entire game relies on).  Yes, I’ve just spoiled part of the game for you, but that’s OK because you shouldn’t be buying this.

To increase the difficulty you can opt for the hard mode, or try to max out your score on levels you’ve already completed.  All of this assumes that you enjoy the game enough to play through it more than once, which is difficult for me to believe would happen to very many people.

There is nothing quantitatively malfunctioning in Liberation Maiden, but all the parts that work as intended blend together to make a bland and pointless experience.  I don’t think I once thought that I was having a good time playing through the story, and often wished the game was shorter – and it’s already pretty short.  If you are desperate for a game to play and insist on spending money on Liberation Maiden, at least use screen protection or you’ll have some embarrassing scars you’ll have to explain the rest of your life.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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