Dungeon-crawling JRPGs can be intimidating. Sometimes, you’re dropped into the action with little or no explanation as to how you’re supposed to accomplish anything, let alone survive. There’s a high learning curve; occasionally entries pride themselves on their difficulty. Ray Gigant doesn’t do that. Ray Gigant is that child who walks up to the new kid at school, lets him sit at his lunch table and eases his new friend into the environment.
In short, Ray Gigant is here to lift you up, not wipe out your entire party in the first battle in the very first dungeon.
Which could come as quite a surprise. Ray Gigant is developed by Experience, a studio known for Stranger of Sword City, Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy and Demon Gaze. All of these other DRPGs pride themselves on pushing people to their limits and forcing them to learn intricacies as they attempt to survive. But this time, you’re not trying to race around the world in 80 days. You get to walk along and enjoy the ride.
Ray Gigant is set in a world where monstrous creatures, known as Gigants, are assaulting the Earth. Why? Well, somebody’s got to threaten the world so we can send teenagers out to fight our battles for us! Which is exactly what happens here, because this is a Japanese game set, partially, in Japan. Naturally, they’re also attending high school at the same time, and falling in love, and being given godlike powers, and wearing outfits no one in their right mind would wear into a dungeon. .
When you aren’t delving into dungeons, your avatar at the moment will explore their compound, talk with their three party members and other NPCs and give us a hint at what life is like in this tumultuous world.
Don’t let the ridiculous plot get you down. All you need to know is this. Certain people in the world can tap into the power of Yorigami, legendary weapons that can talk to the people capable of wielding them. Certain other teenagers are able to use Kurogami, artificial Yorigami that are also quite strong, but aren’t independently intelligent. They’re sent into dungeons to defeat varying levels of Gigants and save the world. You’ll follow three in particular, Ichiya, Kyle and Nil, as each comes into their own and does their best to save the day.
Ray Gigant is a hybrid game; it’s part visual novel, part dungeon crawler. When you aren’t delving into dungeons, your avatar at the moment will explore their compound, talk with their three party members and other NPCs and give us a hint at what life is like in this tumultuous world. There are some spelling and grammatical errors and I could see some people connecting with a few characters, but it’s nothing extraordinary or revolutionary. The three tiered approach to the plot is appreciated though, as it ties into facets of gameplay.
The power of three is strong with Ray Gigant. You’re not only seeing the story from the eyes of three different characters, you see each battle from different perspectives as well. Ichiya, Kyle and Nil each take two allies with them into every fight. Every character has a different place on the battlefield, seeing a different view of the action. When you take a turn, you’re allowed a certain number of actions for all three characters from a pool of points. You’re supposed to take every character’s abilities into account, so flying enemies would be taken down by a character with a bow, while land-based creatures can be wiped out by someone with a sword.
While Ray Gigant’s battles do have an element of strategy to them, they’re both simple and speedy. Each turn, a character could attack, evade or wait. Attacking attacks, evading allows that character to dodge and waiting restores action points. The character’s Yorigami and Kurogami are taking the hits for everyone in battle, so health is restored after every fight. The only thing you need to worry about are action points, but since you can see each Gigant fight in the dungeon, you can decide whether or not any of these characters are engaged.
Ray Gigant really shines when things get weird.
Being able to see Gigants in the field is only one of the reasons why dungeon crawling is so effortless in Ray Gigant. You know where every point of interest is in the area once you enter it. The Yorigami makes that happen. You can’t see how to get to each of them, the paths are obscured, but having a general idea of where the boss, treasures and other important places lie is incredibly helpful. Especially since you can also see how powerful an opponent is, based on the color of its icon. You’re also able to leave at any time to return to the base and regroup, though the defeated Gigants will be revived while you’re gone.
Ray Gigant really shines when things get weird. Did you think you’d need to play through a bit of a rhythm game to unleash attacks? Well, you will! The Slash Beat Mode makes it happen when Ichiya, Kyle and Nils use their Yorigami to transform. They’ll get to unleash a special attack if you keep time. Did you think you’d get to see high quality animations for allies and enemies alike? You do! The characters look as though they’re alive. Some of the battles look better here than they do in episodes of anime. By the way, keep an eye on your weight. Yes. Ray Gigant makes you a weight watcher! Your diet determines whether your character turns into a heavy hitter (pun intended) or a lean, mean, dodging machine.
In short, Ray Gigant is inviting. More so than any of Experience’s other games. It’s about enjoying the ride without worrying if every encounter could be your last. It’s all about enjoying yourself. Is the world in danger? Sure. But don’t worry, you have time to chat with some friends from school and count your calories too.