Labyrinth of Zangetsu is a role-playing game with impressive cave exploration gameplay with sumi-e graphic style. After the success of the Etrian Odyssey series of games with the same gameplay, this game series has flourished in recent years. Therefore, developers have to think of many new ideas to create a unique feature for their brainchild. If Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society builds a very different party system, Labyrinth of Zangetsu creates its own style with sumi-e graphics.
The game plot takes place with the world engulfed in disaster called ‘Ink of Ruin’ and corrupts from people, creatures to the whole land. This ink spawns Ink Beasts who always want to destroy humanity. Those fortunate not to be corrupted have joined the Ink Warriors, fighting them to save humanity. Your goal is to enter the labyrinths created by the disaster mentioned above, using force to push back the “ink race” from the world as they threaten the fate of Ido, humanity’s last fortress.
In fact, Labyrinth of Zangetsu has a fairly simple plot, but the use of words in the game brings a lot of great feeling. This can be annoying for many hardcore players, plus the level of challenge is a bit high compared to other games on the market. However, the game has a gameplay design with many annoying limitations, quite similar to the classic Wizardry game series rather than today’s dungeon exploration role-playing games like Void Terrarium 2, even older like Demon Gaze Extra.
Notably, players can create their own Ink Warriors to fight for the party or use the party created by the game. You can form a party of six characters, divided into two front (front) and rear (rear) shots in the battle formation, three characters each. As is the usual design standard, the ‘front’ position is for characters that are “buffalo-blooded” and deal massive damage to enemies, while ‘rear’ is suitable for characters with low health and ability to attack. range. However, the biggest problem of Labyrinth of Zangetsu is its high challenge.
This shows from the very beginning of the experience when the enemy remains inert after several times being attacked by the player’s entire squad. In fact, the difficulty of Labyrinth of Zangetsu is quite inconsistent when it can suddenly skyrocket, while the level of punishment in the game is quite high. Specifically, the player only has a short time to save the character that runs out of HP before the character dies. Letting a character die is also not a small burden when you have to go back to Ido and pay the NPC in the hope of being able to revive the character or… not.
Even if you have a lot of lotus money, which never happens in the Labyrinth of Zangetsu experience, the game’s character respawn mechanism is enough to make players cry because of the appearance of randomness. Specifically, if the NPC suddenly can’t revive the character, you have to pay double to try again. However, if the second attempt also fails, the character immediately becomes a song of goodbye and no more chances. You have to accept that yin and yang are separate from the feeling of inhibition is not small.
And yet, the magic Labyrinth of Zangetsu also has the same limits as the classic Final Fantasy games of the past, not as comfortable to use as today’s designs. Randomness is also deliberately designed by the development team to “haunt” players in nearly all gameplay mechanics. For example, when clashing with challenging enemies with red smoke color, you can get more or less lotus money or nothing at all. Unlucky to get experience points to level up characters or most often treasure chests.
The reason for calling for luck when receiving experience points is because it is a rather difficult and random journey to level up the character. Basically, you can only level up the character when you meet two conditions: collect enough experience points and return to Ido. Not to mention that sometimes “leveling up” also causes the character’s stats to decrease instead of increasing. Equally inhibiting are the treasure chests that require you to open them one by one through the “physical effects” of certain playable characters or by having the thief “handle them”.
That’s because each character class has specific skills and Labyrinth of Zangetsu requires you to use those skills in specific cases, if you don’t want to bring trouble to the party. In the case of treasure chests, you can use a character that favors “physical effects” to open the chest, but the probability of success is very low because nearly every chest has traps that only the thief character can. disable and jailbreak. However, even a thief is not sure that there is a “door” to success because there is always a failure rate that causes the character to log out.
And when the character “logs out”, the player must return to the above exiled revival journey. The most cruel thing is that when a lucky thief successfully breaks the lock and disables the trap, the item in it must be appraised before it can be used. The appraisal journey continues to return to the random mechanism when each character has a success or failure rate in the assessment. The element of luck in this case could easily trigger the player’s ‘rage quit mode’ at any time whenever the losing tile accidentally drops into your game experience.
On the other hand, don’t expect much from the character development aspect either because Labyrinth of Zangetsu doesn’t have that luxury feature. Also, the game has a bilingual interface that looks a bit confusing. The characters are also not voiced. Background music is simple. These aspects do not resonate with the feeling of experience as well as the atmosphere of the game, more or less reducing the excitement of the writer even when ignoring the series of inhibiting random factors mentioned above. Worth mentioning, the old design makes the strategy in the game not high.
It is quite unfortunate that these aspects are not taken care of by the developer commensurate with the unique graphics of the game. This seems to be the game-making style of the developer Acquire from the past to the present. Before that, Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief, with its classic stealth action-adventure gameplay, had some of the same problems, mainly focusing on something instead of building a harmonious and balanced game experience. by all aspects. Labyrinth of Zangetsu is no exception with unique graphics and challenging gameplay.
After all, Labyrinth of Zangetsu offers an exhilarating caving experience, but not for the masses. The biggest plus point of the game is the distinctive graphic style, but the heavy gameplay makes it suitable only for hardcore players of this genre.
Labyrinth of Zangetsu is available for PC (Windows), PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
ACQUIRE Corp., KaeruPanda Inc.
The article uses games supported by the publisher.
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