Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! Review
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
Platform:PS4, PS Vita, Windows
Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! Review
These days, an RPG can be many different things, from a hardcore action adventure to an old school turn based game, picture perfect to pixelated. Some RPGs nearly auto-level for you, whilst others make you micromanage everything you could possibly imagine. In Cladun Returns, the developers are attempting to give you freedom to modify new things while providing an old-school feel.
Storywise, you are a newly...well...dead person who is responsible for helping many of the lords from the Sengoku period in Japan to clear up some unfinished business and allow their souls to find peace. These requests flesh out 90 percent of the story you find. The meat of the game lies in creation and combat. Each dungeon tasks you with something: finding an exit, an item, or defeating a boss. You can battle straight through in a traditional sense, but the game does offer time limits and leaderboards to challenge players to reach the top. Gameplay is a real-time top down Zelda fare, usually involving finding your way through a maze hacking away at various enemies after learning their patterns and appropriate dodge skills. Prior to getting to that point, there is a lot of planning. Your main character is a "Lord" and you can have several "Vassals" that protect you. Although they don't go into the dungeon with you, your vassals provide a circle of protection. They hold items that provide protection or offensive bonuses, which stack onto your characters normal statistics. The game does state that as time goes on, the vassals level up in their own way, to the point that mixing up the characters, such as bringing a vassal up to lord status and vice versa. Each individual character is recruited on their own. At any time you can "create" a new character, though these individuals you are helping make peace through the levels will eventually join up with you as well. There are plenty of main quests and side quests, and lots of different people to recruit. There's also a multiplayer mode with cooperative and versus modes.
True customization comes with the pixel creator though. You can go in and individually create your character down to the pixel, making a separate head for each direction faced and main action. You can then customize your weapons as well to truly craft your perfect character. You can even tweak the music and general attitude the character will put out in conversation. You pick from several different job classes, like Samurai, Saint, or Swordsman. As you go on, you will unlock new jobs, creating a different attack pattern to face the dungeons with. You can then share your creations with others online.
Cladun Returns shows its colors early. After a minimum bit of storyline, you really have an idea of how the rest of the game will go. Create your ideal character/characters and rush them through dungeons. As you level, you find new weapons that may work better with your particular class and job you chose. Fight through to unlock new levels (and several bonus and side missions for even more action). There is a lot to enjoy in the setup, working the vassals into the Magic Circle to best benefit your character. I didn't get a chance to work with the multiplayer mode, but I can say that the options are exciting: working together to clear a dungeon, teaming up to take on ultimate dungeons, or racing each other for the best time to clear. These kind of options don't usually present themselves in most RPGs, and it's fun to see these for a change of pace.
-Easy pick up and play action
-Deeply customizable characters
-Neat multiplayer action
-Customizing is cool, but what to do with them afterwards?
-A few cheap ways through, like hacking at the enemies through a maze wall