Persona! Woops, I mean- Mind!
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but P4G is not a title that requires any more praise.
It’s one that stands in a league of its own on the Vita, and while titles like Conception II have attempted to tap into what made it so special in the first place, they have failed to reach its heights.
Along comes Mind-Zero with the same goal in mind (pun unintended), but it misses the mark on nearly all points with a myriad of flawed design choices and unremarkable dungeons.
Platforms: Vita Exclusive.
Voice Acting: Includes both JPN/ENG
Demo Availability: N/A
Length: 25-35 hours.
I don’t make the comparison to Persona without good reason.
The heroes and heroines of this tale are coupled with a counterpart of themselves from the demon realm called “Minds”.
There’s a short haired tomboy girl who’s quick to anger, and an energetic friend to the main character who just happens to share the same voice actor as Yosuke from Persona 4.
There’s a long-haired girl with a very reserved personality and well… you get the idea.
Even while I was listening to the characters interact with one another, I couldn’t help but feel the parallel between these characters and those from P4 hovering over them like a gloomy cloud.
Luckily, the artwork is sharp and the voice actors do a fine job of portraying the quirky nature of each of the characters, but unfortunately my compliments for this title end there.
The combat forces the toggling on and off of the Minds, as all damaged is soaked in by them during combat. Once their rather short gauge is depleted, the character themselves are put in a vulnerable position and unable to act.
So this means that when the gauge runs low, they must be toggled off and the characters must defend to wait to get their Minds back in working order.
Without the Minds the characters are left without the use of their skills and have their stats significantly reduced, so they become more or less helpless during these moments.
The further the game progresses, the more damage the enemies dish out; this breaks the Minds even faster, which left me guarding quite often, making the fights drag on and on.
And fight you will. Random encounters were annoyingly frequent, as the levels themselves were long with very little creative design to make them interesting to explore.
There was a skill upgrading system that’s introduced far too late into the game but even that felt neutered, as leveling up skills didn’t have much of an impact in their actual performance.
Worse yet, skills were equippable items, which allowed for any of the characters to use basically any skill, which robbed them of individuality in the scope of the combat.
With a dull combat engine, uninspired level design and a cookie-cutter storyline, there isn’t anything unique in Mind-Zero, as everything that it does has been done better before elsewhere. If you aren’t absolutely desperate for a new JRPG, you can safely skip this one and perhaps replay P4G instead.
Fun Tidbit – There’s an option for auto-attack and fast forwarding in combat and it’s an absolute must while grinding through those long dungeons.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.