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An honest review of this game, feedback for consideration included.

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The landlord
Post time 2018-9-19 12:22:30 From the mobile phone | Show the author posts only Reply Awards |Descending |Read mode
The bad parts of the game: suffers from poor balance controls and lack of pvp matchmaking. For some strange reason pvp is only available in 2 hour chunks twice a day, which isn't really convenient for some of us. Speed is far too impactful. You either build your team to go first, or to counter a team going first. It's a terrible experience for those of us looking for a true strategy rpg on Android platform. You do not move your characters on a 3d board, your characters do not get to swap skills or jobs, and the power of the game is tied directly to specific character > grade of character > grade of soul > level of soul > team composition.

Due to lack of matchmaking, fights are rarely determined by skill (the actual point of the strategy genre) except at the highest levels of play, where players are naturally at the games power limit and matching is only left to choose among the absolute best. Poor balance controls give advantages to players who get specific shiki early on, making the game much less about how you play; much more about luck in obtaining characters and souls.

Instead of fight outcomes being decided by who used the best combination of abilities and moves, they are often times decided by who put together the best combination of characters. Some abilities just outshine most others.

The game very much feels constrained by lack of balance. If I do single target damage to a shiki and it turns out to be lethal, that feels good and rewarding. But then that feeling is quickly lost when another shiki can do more damage in a single attack (base attack values much higher) and then can do that same damage to every target on the other team. Most games balance aoe around the number of targets, dividing total damage done among them after modifiers. For some reason here, aoe does the same dmg to every target, putting characters with aoe at an advantage in pvp and pve.

This is such a balancing issue that teams often don't bring single target dps at all, unless they also have the ability to hit the rest of the team too. Think yoto hime, ibaraki doji, or susabi. Their value lies in the fact that they can do very high damage... And this damage can carry over to more than one unit. So we are literally given the choice to do high damage to one target... Or do high damage to all targets. Obviously, players make the choice that does high damage to all targets.

If players all of a sudden had to choose between hitting all targets with some damage or hitting one target with all the damage (like tamamo, but balanced), the choice becomes interesting and the game feels better in every match up, regardless of team build. Right now? It just feels like you have to build a certain way or you can't participate. The sign of poor balance.

Add to that the imbalanced nature of the speed component? You begin to have matches that devolve into who goes first with an aoe character. Speed is literally one of the last things that a player should be able max out in a game like this. It is what creates the power problem to begin with. This game uses souls instead of equipment to give characters additional power. There are 6 soul slots and slots 1 3 and 5 have a fixed main stat that always rolls the same stat in the same amount. Slots 2 4 and 6 can roll from a limited pool of stats, but the main stat is always going to scale as the soul levels, regardless of soul level. Souls also roll 1-4 additional sub stats that have a chance to increase when the soul levels.

It becomes a chore to find the most ideal soul for each slot, making sure you have the highest grade soul, level 15, with the right combination of stats. Any stat can roll as a sub stat on any slot. Only slot 2 can roll speed main stat. So you get people with a g6 spd soul slot 2 and max amount of speed possible in sub stats on each soul, going first no matter what, being given free reign to take a turn with their entire team. Before you get a turn. Whole team gets a shot to destroy your damage dealer(s), before you get a turn, so you couldn't even kill their team if you did survive turn one.

It's honestly the most frustrating part of onmyoji. You find yourself having to play with accelerators with the highest speed possible in order to get a chance to take a turn. Or you find yourself struggle to build a team that can live through turn 1 so you can kill something important when your turn comes around. Spd has become a arms race. It's Time to slow the game down, maybe reroll slot 2 spd and replacing spd with another random main stat (hello crit/crit dmg, my only friends), making stacking spd sub stat a more impactful, albeit situational choice.

Speed should play an interesting role in choosing how to incorporate accelerators and cc into a team. Not the be all, end all of getting to participate in a fight. I literally have to build kamaitachi and Yamausagi on every account so I have a chance to take a turn with my team. These kinds of games are supposed to be a turn based back and forth to see who can pull off a win using a specified combination of shiki, souls, and onmyoji. Not a race to see who can go first, pull their whole team, and execute a strat to essentially win, before you get a turn.

And if your ability hits my whole team? It should be shared damage like shouzu water link. It should make a difference between wanting to finish a whole team and wanting to kill one shiki. Right now, I really doesn't. Acquire strong aoe character. Stack speed on an accelerator shiki. Go first. Wreck their dps. Watch them leave fight. That is what we have to do to participate. Not to win. Just to be able to get a turn.

The good parts of the game: lengthy (albeit, gated) story, interesting characters, unique artwork and graphics, with ties to actual Heian period history.

The pacing of the game is spread out over months, making it laid back but enduring. Rather than having a lot of p2w options that exploit the simple nature of the game, most of the items you would buy with real world currency, only offer short term gains to aid your progression. The best deals on the cash shop are limited to 1pp for a set duration, and power items are sparse. Most of the cash shop items are cost prohibitive, making time spent playing the game much more valuable than just buying things from the shop, by comparison.

The story itself, while not original or imaginative, is coherent and endearing. You quickly come to like or dislike nearly every new character you meet, feeling their impact on the story. The voice acting and original Japanese score give the game life in a world where games would rather have you skipping dialogue boxes filled with mundane text you've probably read before.

While the game follows more of an action rpg style set into a strategy rpg design space, it's more simplistic design offers a level of depth enabled by the fixed nature of the simple design. All of a sudden, choosing the right combo of characters matters on a synergistic level. Do I lock the board down with a team comp like this: yao bikuni, aoandon/tree nymph, higanbana/shy soul, shouzu/jizo, Hannya/scarlet, and ebisu/soul edge?

Or do I setup a counter team such as this one: seimei, inugami/scarlet, ubume/seductress, vampira/scarlet, shouzu/jizo, kaguya/soul edge?

Maybe I just go for broke and win turn 1 with this: kagura, ootengu/shadow, ubume/seductress, Yamausagi/azure basan, kamaitachi/fortune cat, yoto hime/seductress?

The interactions are definitely something to be valued here. A counter team could decimate a fast team before the counter team gets a turn. Unfortunately, that's basically the meta. Spd vs counter. You build one or the other, until they decide to nerf slot 2 spd.

Otherwise, the game is free and a potential massive time sink. Try it out if curious. Skip it if you're waiting for a ffta or ffta2 android port, like me.

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