Citizens Of Earth 3DS Game Review (Updated)
Review Written By: Adolph Vega
Citizens of Earth does not have any stereoscopic 3D what so ever. Nintendo does not require all 3DS games to have a stereoscopic 3D graphics. I naturally assume that every 3DS game will have 3D graphics in some fashion, but it's entirely up to the developers to decide, and for this game they decided not to include any 3D graphics.
Final Verdict: NO 3D AVAILABLE
Citizens of Earth started out as a crowd funded game on kick-starter. That campaign failed to meet its final goal, but game company Altus jumped in and finished the game and published it. Citizens of Earth is a traditional Japanese style turn-based Role Playing Game that plays from a top-down birds eye view prospective. The game feels both fresh and familiar to fans of the genre and has a clean art style that looks nice on the 3DS screen. In Citizens of Earth you play as the Vice President of Earth, and your quest is to discover the truth behind the strange happenings of a local coffee shop. As you play the game you will talk to various characters “citizens” and recruit them into your party to join you on your journey. The game has a huge world to explore and many enemies to combat in turn based battles. The battle system is fairly strait forward turn based system with lots of items, magic abilities, healing abilities and many different offensive and defensive abilities. If you played a Role playing game before this is fairly standard fare. The game lets you recruit different citizens by accomplishing specific quests for them. The cast of characters you can recruit to your party is vast and varied, but only three can battle and level up at one time. Fortunately when you switch to a new citizen they level up quickly. I highly suggest you try out different citizens to see the various pros and cons of each citizen in your group. Picking the citizen to join your team has benefits to the main player during the course of the game. For example if you recruit the used car salesmen you can drive his car around the world map. Sadly this car will disappear after you park and can only be reclaimed in one spot, and the mini game to recruit the car salesmen is frustrating. Other citizens also have other useful abilities and it's in your interest to try to recruit them into your team, but the developers wisely decided not to require that certain citizens to be on your team to finish the game and you can finish the game with the introductory group. If you keep the introductory group it will make certain areas in game more difficult and make battles more tedious because the new citizens give variety to battles in the game. The game is fairly lengthy and can take nearly 20-30 hours to compete the main story. The game can last you longer depending on the amount of citizens you recruit and the amount of side quests you finish so it’s totally dependent on the player on how long this game will last. The game has a very humorous and interesting storyline that I found very entertaining. The story is easily the best feature of the game because it's so well written and contains truly great voice acting. The voice actors within the game know how to deliver funny dialog and clever banter, and each character has a distinct personality and unique voice. Some of the voice actors can sound like clichés but it is never done to ridicule but always for laughs and is light-hearted in nature. The voice acting isn’t a flawless execution because the characters repeat the same voice catchphrases during battle, and other times the voice acting is unreliable with some characters only saying a few words in a conversation and remain silent for the remainder even though they have written dialog. Overall the voice acting is well done and combined with the well written and interesting storyline it makes this is the real highlight of the game. I really enjoyed the interaction between the characters and the story kept me interested from beginning to end. Going back to the characters they have many side quests to accomplish, that can become daunting as you continue to add side quests on your journey. Sometimes you can start a quest by accident and not even know who or what the reason is for the quest. The game does have a nice menu system that organizes your story related quests and side quests, but I still found the large amount of quests overwhelming. This game can have one story quest lead to a side quest that leads to 5 other side quests, and eventually leads to player confusion as you can get confused in what your supposed to do. I also found some of the story missions to be vague and have puzzles that are not clear to the player. I understand the game is supposed to be challenging but many times I wondered around the world not sure where to go or whom to talk to for advancing the story. The story can advance in several different fashions depending where you go and whom you talk to, so you can have many unclear paths to advance the story. The game does list objectives for your quests from the menu but the game lacks a hint system to help the player. One aspect I enjoyed most about the menu is the ability to save the game quickly from almost any area at any time. The game also has an auto save function that activates after you leave certain areas on the map. Overall the menus within the game are easy to manage and use the 3DS dual screen set-up nicely. The main gameplay is displayed on the top screen and menus and map are displayed on the bottom screen. Sadly the map system within the game is not handled as well as it should be. The game has two maps; a large map and a mini map and they are given to the player to access at any time immediately when starting the adventure. The large map is too big for the 3DS screen resolution and it's hard to make out details. The mini map within the game is strange because of two aspects, the first being that it doesn't fully fit the bottom screen's size. The mini map only uses about a third of the screen size of the bottom screen the rest of the screen is totally wasted. The second mini map issue I have is the yellow story indicator. The yellow indicator on the map shows you where to go to progress the storyline but it’s the same color and shape of the treasure indicator. Often I would try to make progress in the story and find treasure instead and become frustrated. Speaking of treasure, I feel this game is too liberal with treasure and ruins the in-game economy because you never need to buy gear or items from the store because the large amounts of treasures on the map makes going to a store pointless. Going back to the map issues the player cannot zoom in /out and you cannot scroll or move the map at all. When you enter interior areas of the game they have no map, and many times it can be confusing because the interior rooms can look nearly identical to the previous rooms. I really wish the game had a map system that let you fill it out as you played and gave you more options to use and view the map. The issues with the maps are annoying and cause unneeded frustration to the player. After a few hours of gameplay the world opens up and lets you explore anywhere on the map. The map shows enemy placement and are clearly visible as you explore the various environments in the games world. You will go into battle with enemies once someone in your party touches them. The standard enemy battles can become annoying because of many aspects. The first aspect of frustration is that the enemies’ behavior is directed to be either fleeing away or running strait toward the player. This fight or flight enemy behavior is dependent on story elements. Usually I wouldn’t have any problem with this kind of enemy behavior, but it can become very annoying when you are exploring an area and you are thrown into constant combat. The second reason of frustration is the inconsistent nature of the amount of enemies in each given area. Sometimes the environments will be infested with enemies and you will be in non-stop battles, or the opposite and the environments are totally barren of enemies. The game rarely has the fair balance of enemies in any given environment. The third reason for frustration is the areas of the map you traverse is relatively small so you’re more likely to be forced into battle with enemies because you don’t have room to walk around them. I think the size of the characters on screen need to be better scaled to give the player room to explore and avoid enemies if they choose to. One of the reasons you cannot escape battles is because four characters within your party are shown walking at any given time. The player controls the Vice President and the three active party members that follow you, and are always visible on screen as you travel within the game world. The other characters essentially snake behind the Vice President and can be called to charge out and attack an enemy. If you surprise an enemy this can lead to instant kill of the enemy and be rewarded experience points. If one of the enemies walks into your character group and surprises you the battle will be fought with less magic abilities. Sadly I experienced too many accidental battles because one of the team members accidentally hit an enemy that was no fault of my own. This accidental battle aspect, the poor character scale combined with the enemies actively searching for the player can make exploration of the many environments very tedious and infuriating. I did enjoy the various environments within the game and thought it did a great job in making each area of the map district with different enemies and new characters to talk to. The game can be annoying at times but overall I did enjoy my experience until I started encountering the numerous glitches and crashes. Sometimes the glitches can be minor graphical issues in the battle screen or characters becoming stuck walking around parts of the environment. These small glitches are irritating but harmless, unfortunately the glitches don’t end there and the game has a bad habit of abruptly crashing and forced your 3DS to reboot. Thankfully the auto save feature keeps your lost progress to a minimum, but occasionally you may have to retrace your steps because the previous save was a few minutes prior. I can understand if the game crashing was a random fluke, but during the course of this 30-hour adventure this game crashed on me 10 times. Clearly the game crashing wasn’t a fluke and is bad coding. The game even crashed 3 times in a row in the same area, and this area was a required area to advance the story. I was almost ready to give up on the game after it crashed three times in a row in the same spot, but I pushed forward because it wanted to experience the full game before reviewing it. Sadly nearly a month after release and no patches or updates are available for the 3DS version the game. The developer is clearly aware of these issues and hasn’t tried to patch the game, and this is inexcusable. Even if they squashed all the bugs they still need to fix the issues with the map, annoying enemies and obtuse puzzles. If the developer patches the game I may consider patching my review and final score, but at its current state this game is enjoyable yet flawed. This is the kind of game I really wanted to love, but couldn’t because of the various issues that caused more frustration than fun. Citizens of Earth has a compelling story, with great characters and wonderful voice acting but the game is all but ruined buy the many annoying aspects including the numerous glitches, annoying enemy behavior, obtuse puzzles and badly designed map system.
On April 15th 2015 the developers of this game sent out a patch to the game to make the most current version be 1.1. This update can be found on the Nintendo e-shop and includes the following:
General Patch Details:
• Minor bug fixes
• Crash/stability fixes
• Reduced encounters in Casino Canyon
• Added checkpoint in Casino Canyon
• Added Retro soundtrack
I feel this patch changes enough aspects of the game to change the Final Score up a point FROM 6/10 TO 7/10 and I am glad the developer has fixed some of the most troublesome issues within the game. Sadly they haven't added stereoscopic 3D graphics or fixed issues I had with the map or enemy AI. I strongly suggest you download the patch from Nintendo's e-shop to get a better gameplay experience. This game is far from perfect but this update has taken a huge step in the right direction and is enough to justify an increase in it's final score.
Final Score: 7/10
©2014 Eden Industries. Produced by ATLUS. Licensed to and published by Atlus U.S.A., Inc.