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3.6 out of 5 stars
Mimana: Iyar Chronicle - Sony PSP
Price:$55.99 + $3.99shipping
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Honestly I really enjoy this game. It's a mix between a dating sim and a RPG. The story has multiple paths because of the fact that you can choose a female to date that's in your party. Though the system in which you pick one of the girls is invisible so you kind of have to guess how you are doing.

So first off let me get the negatives out of the way. People complain about the load times, but really it's not all that bad. Every once in awhile it will feel like your waiting a bit longer than the norm, but it shouldn't effect you all that much. The battle system could use a little fixing as your character doesn't always seem to respond just the way you want him to. You really only control the main character and the others are controlled by the A.I. Dungeons can be a bit annoying since you don't have a map, so you really have to remember where you went on your own.

The positives for this game way out do the negatives in my opinion. I love the animation and the art is pretty good. It plays kind of like Star Ocean and is easy to get the hang of, but people call the battle system repetative. It's a RPG for crying out loud, battles are always like that especially when you hit the maximum level. It also has dating simulation stuff mixed in and not to sound like a loser, but I really enjoy playing dating simulation games. So you have a mix of character interactions like you would see in Star Ocean and in games like Ar Tonelico, Mana Khemia, and well games like that. This effects the ending as well depending on which girl you end up with, but also effects the game since certain areas are accessed by dating different characters. Most definitly a multiple play through game.

The voice acting in this game rocks for the English release. I'm not even sure it has an option for Japanese VAs since I haven't checked. The first run comes with a soundtrack that only has a few songs on it and some character voicing that you can use as your messaging for your cellphone. They're actually pretty funny and enjoyable to listen to.

I say if you like RPGs in general this is a good buy. If you like dating sims it's an even better buy. The story focuses around those interactions so you will have to dive into that part of it. It also feels true to the Japanese release of the game from the other reviews I have read which makes me happy. It's been better than most of the other recent RPGs I've played that are actually new releases and not re-releases.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2011
Mimana: Iyar Chronicle is a game that I picked up on a whim. I hadn't really read anything about the game prior to picking it up, but the premise looked interesting and the price was good, so I went ahead and bought it. And while I can't honestly say it is comparable to some of the other JRPGs I've played this year, it's still overall a solid game and was worth my purchase.

The story revolves around Crais Sewell, a mercenary who is trying to escape from his past. But as Crais soon discovers, there is no escaping the role that destiny has in store for him. Out of the blue, he gets hired to protect a young girl named Sophie as she travels the area to collect seven mysterious gems. Along the way, they meet a variety of characters, from the magic-obsessive Melrose to the tomboyish warrior Tinon to the insidious Heidar. The overall plot is pretty simple, but the characters give it a great deal of polish. Make no mistake, this is very much a character-driven story, but the characters were interesting and entertaining enough to keep me interested in the story.

The battle system is simple enough. You control Crais in real time, moving around the battle area and hitting X to attack monsters. Think Star Ocean or Tales, though perhaps scaled down a bit. You can also use magic and items to assist you in battle, and are aided by up to 3 AI-controlled allies. After a few hours though, it mostly becomes a matter of just mashing X until the enemies are defeated -- it's still fun, but don't expect a lot of strategy for most fights.

Additionally, the game threw in a slight relationship system. Throughout the story, you will occasionally get opportunities to choose which of your party members to spend time with -- this ultimately affects the events you'll see as well as the ending you get to the game. It's not as in-depth as say, Ar tonelico or Persona (P3 and P4 specifically), but it's a great addition to the game and complements the non-battle gameplay nicely.

The music is decent, but few tracks stand out in my mind after playing through the game. The voice acting however is stellar. Aksys got a great cast to voice the characters in the game, including Johnny Yong Bosch, Laura Bailey, Wendee Lee, and Liam O'Brian, among others. Better still is the fact that all the story events include voice acting, so you'll get plenty of opportunities to listen to them.

The beginning of the game however, is horrendous. When you first meet Crais, he honestly seems like a complete jerk; fortunately, he becomes a much better character as the game goes along. The other problem is that early in the game, the chance to hit enemies feels far too low, so expect a fair number of attacks to miss. This too gets fixed pretty quickly just by using new equipment that you find, but this is something you'll have to put up with at first. If you find yourself struggling to keep playing at first, let me assure you that things do get better. To put things in perspective, I put down the game after the first hour and only came back to it after a few months -- at which point I ended up playing through the rest of the game in a few days.

The only other major issue I had is that the game is short for an JRPG -- expect between 10 and 15 hours to complete. That said, since there are multiple endings, this provides some additional incentive to play again. Furthermore, each time you get a new ending, you unlock a new code that you can use on the official Mimana: Iyar Chronicle website to unlock a short story about that character's epilogue. It's a great addition to the game and adds additional closure to the ending (note that there are also other short stories on the website that do not require a password -- they're worth checking out if you end up liking the characters).

So is Mimana: Iyar Chronicle perfect? No, far from it. From a purely technical standpoint, there are games that surpass it in just about every way, but I had fun playing through the game. For $20 or less, I think it's a worthwhile purchase -- any higher and it's more debatable due to the short length of the game. But if you're wondering if the game is fun, then I can confidently say yes -- once you get far enough into the story, you'll want to see it through to the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2012
This game's combat has incredible, slow, slow, slow, slow, slow loads. You WILL be shocked to find yourself laying your PSP aside and working on your checkbook, reading, picking up your knitting, etc. while the load takes place. Ah, then the long awaited-for fight! What? Are these the hostiles? They look like colorful prisms... The game designers didn't even take the time to draw up enemies. Yes, we have all played games where some of the hostiles are "jello cubes", but usually they are just a sort of filler to add variety to the number of opponents you are hacking. Here MOST of the enemies are prisms, and I'm disgusted. One final discouraging word. This game forces you into complex multi-level puzzles which require incredible mental stamina to work out. This game has no map, that makes the mazes even more exhausting, and no, the mazes are not options. If you cannot get through the hundreds of repetitive combats and hours, even days of wandering, take the game out of your PSP and put it back in the box--each puzzle is a chain link to the next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
A generic RPG, characters which inspire no great love, excessively clumsy hit detection in the battle system, and loading times exceeding a minute for every scene transition, including battles, make this game practically unplayable. Preloading would have saved this game, and I would have played through the entire thing, but as is I could only make my way to the third artifact before I couldn't bear to waste my time any longer. Don't waste your time or money, play Star Ocean instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2011
Mimana is a game that starts out good enough, your Crais Swell, a sell sword (mercenary), who's broke, down on his luck, and losing a poker game. Suddenly one of your superiors from your mercenary guild tells Crais that there is someone who hired him and payed for half of the service in advance. Crais quickly accepts the money (and loses it even quicker in the poker game), and with that Crais is introduced to his client. Unfortunately for Crais, his client is a kid, and as luck would have it, Crais hates kids, however since he took half the money Crais has no choice but to follow the kids (Sophie's) orders, and as it turns out, he must travel with her all around the continent to hunt down 7 gems, although for reasons Sophie refuses to disclose. After the initial opening scene, the game starts on a downward spiral.

The graphics in Mimana are the typical 2D sprites in a pre-rendered 3D environment while in the over world, while in battle however the sprites change to full size 2D and actually look pretty good. Mimana features more than half a dozen fully animated cut-scenes and are actually done pretty nicely, in fact I would have preferred if Mimana was an anime instead of a game.

The battles in Mimana usually tend to suck, the character AI is dumb as bricks and seems to do nothing but stand around and take hits all day long, the healers are a little smarter though and will heal like crazy, if you tell them to. Unfortunately you have very minimal control over everyone accept Crais (you micro manage everyone, but you cant directly control them, accept for Crais). Another annoying thing about battles is that Crais will tend to miss a lot, around 40% of the time. Mimana tries to be a Star Ocean, but falls more than a little short here. The random encounter rate in Mimana is stupidly high, its pretty much a battle for every 3-5 seconds of running, the good thing though is that if you walk, you can get through an entire dungeon with only doing 1-2 battles.

The story in Mimana, like I stated above starts out decent enough, however it quickly falls apart, mercilessly pounding plot points into the ground over and over again, and if that wasn't bad enough, the story goes nowhere for the longest time, and when Mimana finally does get interesting and pulls itself out of its noise dive, the game is damn near over, that's because Mimana is only 14 hours long, and is only the first part of a trilogy!*

There are a few problems that affect Mimana, one of them is the loading times, by god they are horrible, this game takes 5-10 seconds to load during a battle, after a battle, the game even loads when your trying to do certain things in the menu. The other problem (this is minor) is some of the voice acting, now most of it is good, but there are some characters who did a real poor job, thankfully though the other 4 major voice actors do a good job keeping everything together. Mimana boasts that this is a RPG with dating sim elements, however there are only around 8 times where you can interact with any of the 4 girls, but for a good portion of the game, you only have access to 2 of the girls, the other 2 girls come in at about the 60% mark and you only get 3 chances to interact with them.

So is the game worth buying? Its hard to say, for most of the game Mimana is stuck in mediocrity and when it finally does get interesting (believe me it does get good) there is only around 3 hours left in this game. With Mimana: Iyar Chronicle being part 1 of 3 there was a lot of plot holes involving who Sophie really is (and a few of the other characters as well) and the mystery behind the gems her and Crais are searching for. I do hope there will be a part 2 as I want to see what happens to these characters, and hopefully part 2 will fix everything that was wrong with this game. Right now though I would say for the price Mimana is now pick it up (it should have been $20 game when it came out!) or hold out a couple days for Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky or the 3rd Birthday.

*No info yet if there is even going to be another Mimana, this could be the one and only game, and yes it ends on a cliff hanger >.>
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I mean, this game is about as basic as you can get. Think a simplified version of Tales of Destiny.

Your man, Crais, is suffering from a past trauma that is never fully explored until the end of the game. He is employed as basically a bounty hunter, and Sophie comes along to hire his services. She doesn't fully reveal the reason she needs his help, only that she must gather 7 gems. Along the way, you'll encounter a bunch of others - all female - and with your ragtag party, search the landscape for these dungeons.

On the surface, Mimana feels like it should be spectacular - no, epic. Unfortunately, there are many things that hold it back from the greatness it could be, but I want to focus first on what I enjoyed about the game. The character development was quite good, except for Crais' cousin, who felt shallow. But the other girls all had very distinct, very attractive personalities that drew me to them. There is a chemistry between the party members that can't be readily explained; a contrast that makes them mesh well together and at some points, you start to care about Sophie and Tinon in particular. Melrose adds a much-needed comedy to the mix with her creepy undertones and teasing of Crais. At no time did I ever dislike any of the characters as in other games that I have played. As you play, you'll get certain events as in Star Ocean: Second Evolution, where you can increase your emotional levels with certain characters. This has a direct impact on the ending you get.

The other thing that kept me playing was the anime cutscenes - though infrequent here, they always add to the depth of a game for me. It allows me to sit back and enjoy a story without having to read a bunch of text all of the time. Just having the voices for each of the characters was helpful, but the cutscenes layered it on.

Now, what hurt the game - it's boring. First and foremost, it's boring. It's like they created perfect characters, akin to Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier or Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, but the battle engine, the general storyline, even travel...it's all boring. Things just aren't fun to do and there's nothing exciting or plot twisting about any of it. There are many times where you're just going through the motions just to experience the characters a little bit more, and I don't say that to bash the game, it was really disheartening to have this happen given how much I like the cutscenes, voices and characters. The other issue is the extremely - and do mean EXTREMELY - unbalanced difficulty. You'll destroy your enemies and then run into a boss, decimating him with ease. More enemies drop like flies, then the second boss will literally wipe the floor with you and you'll be left scratching your head. It doesn't help matters that the battle engine and controls are simply horrid. Attacks are not fluid, and everyone moves like robots on the battle field. There's no turn based action, no fast-and-furious button pressing like in Tales. No, this is slow, and plodding. Something that should never be seen on a PSP game.

In order to see the true endings, you'll need to play through the game multiple times, as each gem is acquired via subsequent playthroughs. Unfortunately, I was not able to tolerate any more after having beaten it the first time. It's really distressing, because I would have liked to get more of the scenes with the other characters I liked so darn much.

Do I recommend it? It's really hard. The characters are fun and colorful, the graphics are decent, and the cutscenes and voices really make things stand out, but it's just really difficult to be able to enjoy the game. IT felt like I was playing Magna Carta: Tears of Blood - Deluxe Box Set, where the very first version of the game was horrible, and it makes me hope that the sequel (if there is one) will be dramatically improved, as with Magna Carta 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2012
I got this as part of some sale Amazon was having a while back. The screenshots reminded my of a "Tales" styled game, and I like that particular series' combat. It's not bad, not too great either. It's a JRPG with a "Tales" side scrolling combat system and a Riviera styled dating sim kind of thing going on in between levels. There is quite a bit of grinding early on, but it seems to smooth out as you progress. I can't comment too much on the story since I've been lazy and haven't beat it yet, but it doesn't seem to be anything new and feels a bit predictable at times. I don't like voice acting in video games. I always find it to be very wooden and unnatural sounding or just plain annoying (I can read just fine, thank you). I found the voice acting to be a bit grating here as well and thankfully there is an option to turn off the voices. That made me happy. There are still some anime styled cut scenes that you have to watch, but they aren't all that bad and are nice and short. All in all, I like it. The combat is fairly solid. The story isn't horrible. I like the characters. The graphics are OK. 3.5/5
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2010
I'll keep it simple - my main reason for writing this review is because there was only 1 review and I want to spread the word! This game plays like the 'Tales' games - which I love, and sadly haven't been released in North America on a portable system - there was one released in Europe that you can find used sometimes (Tales of Eternia), and the 'Tales of the World - Radiant Mythology' for the PSP - but it's not really story based so it doesn't count in my opinion.

The game is fun to play - like I said it's similar to Tales games - you assign special moves to a combo of the Square button and a direction. You can't control your other party members, but you can tell them to cast specific spells and set their priority for how they will use magic, attack, or heal.

Voice acting is extraordinary - I can't say I've heard better in any PSP game.

Load times are a bit longer than I'd like, but not horrible. I think you can buy it on the PlayStation Network, which would cut them down.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2010
Ok! I don't write many reviews. But I will say that this is one of my favorite games of all time! If you are into JRPG's then this is one of the best! granted it has random battles but its not the old school final fantasy time battles. You swing freely and control your character they way you want it to be! The bits with the animation is pretty good and art is great! Some people say that there is a long loading time, but to be honest I don't really notice. I highly recommend this game. Even if you need a break from the normal rpg, this is a great game.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2010
First off I love RPG's. RPG's are my favorite type of games, but this game just didn't quite cut it.

Story 7/10 - The world and the story are pretty original. I haven't really seen or played a game that was like this. I found that the elements in the world were pretty interesting and the story came out pretty well.

Characters 6/10 - There were plenty of great characters but there were also some that just didn't come out too well. The main character was pretty annoying and I didn't really like him. Some of the npc party members were pretty good, but as I played through the game, I felt like I had seen them all before (like I had already played games with them ie. Tinon reminds me a great deal of Nephenee from fire emblem and Reisz from Secret of Mana, and battling with Sophie reminded me of Tear from Tales of the Abyss). Overall character design was good, but there was a lot of room for character development.

Visual 4/10 - For a new PSP game, the graphics weren't all that good. Though is was 3D, the general mapping and and motions of the characters didn't really catch my eye. While I'm a sucker for anime scenes, this game (while boasting about it in its description) didn't have enough anime cutscenes, and the ones it did have were extremely short.

Sound 3/10 - The music to this game was not all that impressive. RPG's are usually known for great music and sound effects, but I didn't get either from this game. The battle music didn't get me pumped to fight, and overworld music didn't seem to fit.

Voice 5/10 - I will admit that there are many games that I hate purely for the poor selection of voice overs. This game was kind of different though. The majority of the cast fit pretty well, but there were some characters and many scenes that could have been dubbed better.

Gameplay 6/10 - Gameplay was fairly standard, but I found that at certain areas it was a little more difficult to move. Hitting the edges would slow you down, and some stairways would be inaccessable unless you walked to it at just the right angle. This is also true for many npcs and objects that you had to interact with. There was also not enough world interaction in this game. Going into other peoples homes and raiding their pantries for healing items has always been a staple in RPG, but alas, this game lacked in that department.
The dungeons were very complexly simple. Meaning it was hard to get lost, but you'd spend a long time in each dungeon, often backtracking a very long way because you thought you missed something at the last intersection. A lack of visual mapping also makes this hard.
The encounter rate in this game is horrible. Even with the encounter down items in play, it still seemed like you were always being attacked. Add this to the ridiculously large dungeons and you eventually get tired of battles

Battle System 3/10 - The battle system in this game is best described as a failed version of the "Tales of" series. There is no zoom in/out function, and you are very limited to what is on the screen. Also, the battlefield is fairly small, yet you can still only see so much of it. In the beginning of the game, the size seems fine, but as you gain more allies in battle and begin fighting more enemies at a time, there just seems to be too much going on to be able to concentrate on the fight.
Fighting itself is also very simple. Moving around gets easy, but the attack button is sensitive and you'll find yourself stuck in a combo as your target moves farther and farther away. Spells take much longer than they need to and you'll find yourself getting hit before your spell will get the chance to go off. Sword skills for the hero are fairly weak and slow and you'll end up relying on your X, X, X combo for most of the game.
The battles themselves seem extremely easy. Throughout the game I rarely used items at all and the bosses went down very easily. There just wasn't much of a challenge to the monsters or bosses. The AI of your party members is also very bad. There aren't many options to have your party take. In a battle where your healer is set to focus on healing, they will stand there until they are attacked before they try to run away. Afterwards, they will run a little bit away and start healing themselves or others and end up getting hit again before they can pull a spell off.
AI of the enemy seems to direct towards your party as well. While putting the hero on the front line doing nothing, many times, monsters will walk past him and go for the npcs in the rear. Monsters themselves are fairly weak as well, as I played through most of the game just hit X,X,X over and over again.
While you can always just run away from the battles, it would have been better to just avoid some altogether. Being level 40 in the starting area where all monsters die in one hit sucks. All it does it takes time out of playing the game for what RPG's are meant for; Story. As I said before, dungeons are large; much larger than they need to be.

Overall - If you are looking for a great game, this is not what you are looking for. This is an example of why Non-RPG players are Non-RPG players. It gets really repetitive and takes forever to get to the good point. If you can get past all of that, then this is a game that has a very great story at least.
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