Anime and visual novel fans are likely aware that the the hit show Re:Zero has a new visual novel tactical Adventure game by the name of the prophecy of the throne. The title is set for release on the 5/2/21 in the UK and will be available on PS4, Nintendo switch and Steam. We got our hands on a review copy and I’ve spent a lot of time with it the last week so let’s dive in and take a look together!
Most people picking up this title will likely have some knowledge of the anime series, and while this will help in terms of understanding some elements easier, there’s a small recap to get you up to speed with all the basic information you’ll need to enjoy the story – also the main story of the title is an original work, meaning fans of the anime will still find something new here.
The story is set around one month after protagonist Natsuki Subaru arrives in the world of Re:Zero, already in the employ of Roswaal Mathers and living alongside Emilia, Rem and Ram. An emissary soon arrives at the manor revealing that the royal selection has been postponed and this is soon revealed to be due to the arrival of a 6th candidate for the throne, despite the prophecy stating that there should be 5 candidates. It’s quickly established that one of the camps is an imposter making a play for the throne, and the adventure to uncover the truth begins!
The story plays out in a visual novel style for the most part, with 2D artwork and dialog boxes making up most of the gameplay. I found the new storyline refreshing and interesting enough to continue playing despite watching the anime, though most of the early game is spent fleshing out the new and returning characters more than the show does. While I’m not against this as I did enjoy the series typical humour, and seeing the more supporting characters get some more screen time, I personally felt that too much of the plot got dumped into the later chapters as the games gentle passing suddenly jumps to 11.
For the most part however I did enjoy the story and had a few chuckles along the way. The game offers full voice acting in Japanese and is scheduled to receive English voice acting via a day one patch. All of the artwork and audio throughout the title is of the quality of any major visual novel on the market and voice acting is always a plus in my opinion, especially when it comes to VN’s as it helps with the tone of the dialog even if you don’t understand the spoken language
As stated above the main storyline plays out via the typical 2D artwork and dialog boxes of most visual novels, however Re:zero also has 2 other elements known as the movement part and the tactical part.
Movement is a secondary part of the game where you will take control of a Subaru avatar to explore a few locations to gather information and key words to help you progress through the story. While this offered a nice change of pace in truth there’s not a whole lot to it, with each section offering a hand full of dialog lines and travelling from point A to point B. The main point of this section seems to be about gathering information to make upcoming tactical sections easier, though I didn’t find any of these particularly challenging even when attempting them with minimal information.
The next element is the tactical part. This is how you will handle encounters and fights throughout the game. You will find yourself on a map in control of the Subaru avatar, much like in movement mode, and you must use the key words and other information you gathered to form a strategy and beat your foe with the help of your friends.
As cool as the above sounds I found it somewhat underwhelming, truth be told there’s only a handful of these events and they’re kind of extremely strict in what you can do. I played about with some key words and actions, but for the most part it feels extremely scripted – As long as you follow the script you can clear them with relative ease. Personally I found it both a little lacklustre and also couldn’t imagine the sections playing out using the visual novel style, so I’m somewhat torn on how to feel about it exactly.
Overall Re:Zero Prophecy of the Throne works great as a VN, and is really how it should be thought of, as fans of the series should like it for that alone for the new adventure with the characters from the series. However I will say if, like me, your ears peaked at the thought of a strategy adventure set in the world – maybe reign in your expectations a fair amount as it is not quite what you would expect.
A great story for fans married to a somewhat mediocre adventure.