Citizens of Earth Preview
If you’re old enough, you remember Earthbound. Widely regarded as one of the industry’s first role-playing games, it remains a classic and much beloved title. And if you’re looking for what amounts to the spiritual successor, here it is: It’s an indie project from Eden Industries and it’s called Citizens of Earth. You play as the vice president of the world – an appropriately quirky beginning – and when you return to the town of your youth, you find it besieged by freaky creatures. They’ve appeared in the woods surrounding the town and as head honcho, it falls to you to deal with the problem.
You’ll recruit a variety of citizens, including the baker and schoolteacher, and they’ll assist you in your noble quest. Of course, being vice president of the entire damn world means the protagonist has quite the ego, so he orders everyone about with his obnoxious, toothy grin. The story is bound to be filled with plenty of loopy characters and comical plot twists, as it has a lighter, more tongue-in-cheek ambiance. This is a little different than Earthbound, which wasn’t particularly zany. Even so, Citizens of Earth is every bit a role-playing game, which should interest the old-school fanatics.
Each character has a unique skill set that can be used when adventuring, and you’ll have to experiment with various combinations. The other interesting twist is that because you’re basically recruiting tradesmen of all kinds, their day jobs will actually play a significant role in your progress. Leaving a character behind when you go exploring can be beneficial, as that character may produce something useful during your absence. In other words, each character brings something to the game both on and off the battlefield. The more you experiment, the stronger you’ll undoubtedly become.
The majority of available characters will be optional, as will much of the game’s content. The developers aren’t only targeting the hardcore RPG lovers, so you won’t have to spend a hundred hours to fully appreciate the game. In fact, you can probably speed right through and finish in under 10 hours. But, if you’ve always been more of an involved gamer or you’ve got that frustrating completionist mentality, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. You can customize to your heart’s content and the vibrant, engaging world will present you with a myriad of quests, objectives, and adventuring possibilities.
As for combat, characters will utilize either weak or strong attacks; each attack drains Power. The stronger attack drains two points of Power while the weak assault only uses one, so you need to pay attention to your Power pool. Enemies will have inherent strengths and weaknesses as well, and learning these will give you an edge in battle. In so many ways, it’ll look and play exactly like an old-fashioned role-playing game and if you’re wondering, yes, it’s turn-based. It’s cute, quaint and charming but at the same time, it’s also plenty deep. It’s the way RPGs always used to be, but with an upgraded cutesy exterior.
And among all these massive blockbuster titles with decidedly dark presentations, Citizens of Earth is like a breath of air from the old country. Give it a try when it releases for PlayStation 4 early next year.
11/11/2014 Ben Dutka