The idea of playing the FD of something I never properly finished doesn’t sit well with me so I
reluctantly decided to start up Material Brave again and this time properly finish things. In part to remind myself of what happened and how horrible it is in part to see for myself what happened in the end so I could properly link to how the FD starts off as well as draw comparisons.
So if it’s that bad, why am I going back and playing it you ask? That’s because…
From what I’ve heard, the FD replaced the writer in favor for the one who worked on Duel Savior and worked on improving the system in various areas. This basically (at least tries) to cancel out my biggest rants regarding Material Brave.
First of all the story is fine and all, there are parts to nitpick at but if you think of it as some third rate story and focus on the gameplay it might be fairly acceptable. Is what I may have thought if they kept the same pace as chapter 1.
After that our protagonist Ayumu goes on a harem conquest, shooting down the hearts of one girl after another with every chapter before finally completing his harem of the strongest people in his class. Alas, that wasn’t sufficient for Ayumu. He proceeds to ignore all of them aside from the necessary skinship for his Engagement ability to work, and go for the childhood friend route. With this, we can conclude that it’s pretty obvious at this point that Ayumu is secretly a very calculating person who ensures that his harem consists of people extremely talented or strong in one way or another. His degree of interest in the girl is proportioned to how strong she is.
Alright that was a little different from what really happened, but it is true that he basically went around on a harem conquest during the first half of the story. Yet towards the end, rather than focusing on the heroines the story shifts focus to his childhood friend with the heroine “endings” slapped in between. In a nutshell, after all that dragged out introduction and development with the heroines they bloody got shafted by the end. There’s hardly much of a “route split” to speak of, much like Eiyuu Senki the story is essentially a one way route. The differences in the routes are limited to that one hscene and the different epilogue which consists of another few lines and a different CG. Obviously the best way to handle provide an ending for your favorite heroines, thanks Giga.
In a nutshell, the heroines were terribly handled. Whose bloody idea was it to spend most of the story developing the heroines only to shaft them in favor for the “true” heroine by the end. Though with the revelations along the way, it actually looks like what happens if you took all of the heroine routes and smashed them into one linear story. In this case, it wasn’t blended very well.
As for the context of the story itself… I don’t know. I think half of the supposedly shocking revelations were either blatantly seen from a mile away or they provided no real foreshadowing so that it basically came out of the blue. I really don’t know who finds it a good idea to show a black screen with the mysterious antagonists speaking yet they don’t bother to change the voice actors or even the color of the text. It’s basically telling the reader who the antagonist is supposed to be and at that point, I don’t even know why they bother hiding them behind a black screen.
I’m not exactly sure if it’s possible to save the story from how badly everything was handled in general but we’ll see. I’m just hoping the writer follows the same trend as Duel Savior and goes for a harem end since at this point, there’s no ending more fitting to Material Brave than another harem end. Duel Savior was probably one of the most satisfactory harem ends I’ve read.
In conclusion the story was simply bad. But wait, there’s still redemption for it. As long as the gameplay is good, even if the story is terrible there’s still hope. That’s basically how most games are like anyway. If we compared the two, then Material Brave would still be pretty decent.
Except the gameplay was questionable as well.
It generally follows along the lines of Duel Savior which was fun. An action game with controls that you can relatively easily master except it tries to improve on that system by adding stats, equipment, quests and dungeon crawling. This itself wasn’t too bad of an idea but the way they did it made it come off as very grindy after a while.
To begin with, they limited the amount of free time you received, so you couldn’t take your time clearing a dungeon before advancing chapters, you had to split your time into making the heroines fall in love with you and finishing quests, crawling around dungeons for items, sometimes with time limits placed on the quests so after x chapter you wouldn’t be able to finish it anymore. In addition the heroines are only available for talking to on certain days, meaning unless you pulled out a walkthrough, you had to experience the fun of cycling through the islands to find the heroine and see if she’s available.
The difficulty curve was also badly done. You would expect that the main story would have difficult battles but the truth was the opposite. In reality from my experience of playing through the entire game on hard mode, the hardest battles happened in the middle of dungeon crawling because you could encounter multiples of annoying monsters that proceeded to combo you to death the second you carelessly attack them.
In comparison most of the storyline bosses died in one, or if they’re amazing, two combos. Contrary to your experience, you watch the characters struggle and look exhausted after the joke of a battle. Maybe they just didn’t want people to get stuck trying to defeat storyline battles but it was in any case not the slightest bit challenging and in my books, that’s not a very good thing.
One last point about the system, though this is merely nitpicking so you don’t need to pay attention to it, the companion system was done strangely in Material Brave. First of all you can only take one partner with you. That fits with the context, but when it came to storyline battles where they’re meant to go around fighting as a team, you still only take one partner with you. In Duel Savior, though they may have not been too useful, in team battles you literally fought with all of the characters there as it was more fitting of the context. In this case, all of them magically vanish leaving you and whoever you chose. Yet despite that, towards the end it was almost laughable how all of the heroines just vanished out of the picture except for your partner who still appeared in combat for some reason. This is admittedly a minor detail but it didn’t really sit well with me.
Overall Material Brave was fairly disappointing considering how it was set up as a spiritual successor to Duel Savior, both story and gameplay was worse than Duel Savior and as I remember someone saying, you might as well invest the time replaying Duel Savior instead.
Now here’s for hoping that the FD will save the day, if it doesn’t then… well damn.
I have nothing in particular to play the moment but January releases aren’t too far off. Looking forward to the new August work after Eustia.