Mind Zero Preview
If you’re looking for a unique take on dungeon-crawling and you own a PlayStation Vita, you might want to consider purchasing Mind Zero later next month. A first-person action/RPG where you fight with your MINDs (in Japanese, it’s “Mental Inside Nobody Dolls”) and party members, the gameplay features a mix of strategy and flashy, crowd-pleasing action. It’s the kind of game that can really soak up a lot of hours, so make sure you’ve got a big chunk of spare time on your hands.
You play as Kei, a high school student whose life changes forever when he forms a strange partnership with a MIND, a mystical being with extremely dangerous powers. Kei has no idea why he has contracted this MIND, but he’ll have to figure it out before the government (and other enemies) track him down. You will have the option of utilizing your helpful partner in battle; you can always choose to fight alone or with your allies. You can attack, defend, charge, burst, or use items. Charge is basically like Defend, but your MP gauge fills faster; as for Burst, that’s sorta like Haste, as your turn will come about faster as the battle progresses.
MINDs can also attack, burst, or utilize a set of special skills. Once the player advances, he’ll learn more skills with which to equip the MIND. You’ll always have to keep an eye on your MP, though, because if it drains to nothing, your MIND will retreat, leaving you to fight without its assistance. For comparison purposes, this mechanic will remind role-playing fans of the acclaimed Persona franchise and to some extent, the Summons in Final Fantasy. For instance, remember when the Aeons came to fight alongside Yuna in FFX? Think of a more complex version of that system.
Kei will encounter plenty of allies throughout the game, too. There’s Sana Chikage, Leo Asahina, Yoichi Ogata, Lina Albertine, and Kotone Shiragiku. One could consider Sana to be the heroine, as she’s Kei’s childhood friend and will be along for the majority of this fantastical ride. Once you’ve selected a team you like and you’ve wrapped your brain around the MIND mechanic, you can indulge in fast-paced, strategic battles. The first-person camera is very different, because just about every game of this sort historically uses the third-person perspective. You will, however, see your party members when they leap into action.
The challenge will be balancing your MIND’s power with the capabilities of the regular human characters. You’ll also have to pay close attention to each enemy, because the standard strengths and weaknesses (normal RPG fare) will come into play. It’s also important to remember that without your MIND serving as a buffer between you and opponent attacks, you will lose Life Points. Those aren’t easily restored unless you’ve got specific items. Balancing your combat approach will be critical to success, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that the first-person view makes the game dumber. Trust me, this ain’t no FPS.
Mind Zero is set to launch in North America for the Vita on May 27.
4/9/2014 Ben Dutka