What’s the biggest drawback of catching a hyped-up trilogy midway? While everyone is busy appreciating the series, you are stuck-up on the storyline and just going with the flow without understanding much of what is happening. I went through a similar scenario when I played Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth. I had two options, either I could watch the anime series, or I could play the original 2002 game. Neither of the available options could be considered an efficient use of time, and I ended up just enjoying the gameplay and going with the flow.
Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen, is a remake of the original 2002 game, that never made it outside of Japan. Even if it did, the language barrier prevented the players to exploit its full potential. It is a tactical Japanese role-playing game, with its story told in the form of a twenty-hour long visual novel. The story is told in a similar pattern as you will find in Sakura Wars, the only difference being the presence of tactical battles that appear in between the story-telling.
The storyline revolves around the protagonist, Hakuowlo. Following a devastating earthquake, Hakuowlo is found in a destroyed village without any memory. Taken into care by Eruruu, Aruruu, and Tuskur, Hakuowlo finds a home in the village of Yamayura. This village consists of all kinds of peculiar creatures. Some of them have tails and beast-like ears, while others have wings. These are the people who will later follow you into the battle. Meanwhile, Hakuowlo starts settling in and getting used to the name given to him by his new family. The protagonist is also habitual of wearing a mask, giving him a more vicious look. The storyline is set up way back in history when there was no technology. The thing that bugged me the most was the time that our protagonist will take to build up relationships. Building these relationships represent a major chunk of the overall gameplay time, and adds only a little to the overall story.
However, soon enough an evil ruler takes over and tries to corrupt the land. This is where the game takes a turn towards the battles, while the storytelling falls back into a periodic format. There are quite a lot of improvements made in this remake from the original title, such as the new Chain Attack ability. Even though this makes the gameplays slightly easier, certain hardcore players may not be able to make its peace with the fact that the game is now less challenging. Other than that, the battles require slight planning, but nothing too challenging. However, if you enjoy additional challenges, feel free to play the game on a hardened difficulty.
The game offers certain user-friendly options, such as skipping attacks, rewinding the battles in case you make a bad move, or simply just practicing your skills in the free battle mode.
Overall, it is not a battle-oriented game, and the Japanese role-playing genre certainly outweighs the tactical battle genre. If you are playing this game to test your skills on the battlefield you are ought to be disappointed. The selling point of the game is its storyline, and it indeed keeps you glued to the screen and the plot keeps thickening as you approach the end of the game. story-telling is also marvelous, owing to an amazing translation of the Japanese language.
Graphically talking, the game has come a long way from its original counterpart. The graphics are sharper and the characters look livelier. As of soundtracks, the one that is present in the game is a slightly modified version of the soundtrack that was present in the original title. However, if you want the nostalgia of 2002’s soundtrack, you can change the soundtrack in the options.