Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mind Zero (PC) Quick Review

Mind Zero, released almost 2 years ago on the Playstation Vita, has recently been released on the PCs via Steam.  First off, I'll run through a recap of my Mind Zero impressions from the Vita version.  If you want the full rundown of what I thought, check out the full review here.

Mind Zero is a first-person dungeon crawler, much in the vein of Wizardry (I use this phrase a lot).  There are three different meters to take care of, HP, MP and TP.  Each character can summon a Mind, which does more damage to most enemies.  Also while your Mind is out, damage taken is from MP instead of HP.  You can also use skills during this time, which requires TP.  I found that using your Mind as much as possible makes fights go fairly smooth.  They are a great resource, so learn when and how to use them.

Moving around in dungeons is done via first person, and most dungeons have gimmick tiles that inconvenience you in some way.  When you attack in battle, your character is actually shown attacking, so in my opinion, it is a step above other first person dungeon crawlers in that regard.  Battles are usually random encounters when in dungeons, but some are marked by an icon when you are walking around.  Most story locations and shops are taken care of on the world map, where you just select where you are going.

My main gripes with the game were the strange dungeon layouts and the old school grind mentality.  Dungeons don't really flow from floor 1 to 2 to 3, etc.  Instead you might start on floor 1, then find the stairs to 4, which then leads to the 2nd floor and the boss.  The dungeons aren't missing floors, but you won't visit them all on your first expedition into them, or in order.  The grinding I had to do in almost all the dungeons is likely because of the type of game.  It's a more old school dungeon crawler, so they expect you to approach it as such, which means spending time walking in circles to fight battles and level up before you complete it.  It won't be a problem for everyone, or even in every game, but it is a turn off for some.

The only problem I really had with the PC port was its display size.  It runs in either windowed mode or full screen (you have to reload to see the change).  Windowed just looked too small.  Full screen was better, but then the game is much harder to exit.  It's weird to me that I couldn't find an return to title function or an exit to desktop.  Other than that, the game ran well on my i-7, and I didn't notice any performance problems.  It also loads faster than the Vita version.  My wife, on her 1-5 laptop, did have some issues.  It would sometimes flash a white screen during tutorial messages, and she had no sound.  We aren't sure what was the cause of either of those things.

For the PC release, I had my wife try the game as well.  She really likes games like this, and she had not yet tried the Vita version.  While I found the game pretty fun, and liked the higher than normal emphasis on characters and story, she did not.  For these kinds of games, she prefers less talking.  She also didn't like that it took a long time to get the ability to level up your skills.

If you like dungeon crawlers with characters and story (not characters you create yourself), you should check out Mind Zero.  The Mind mechanic is worth checking out, as it adds a very interesting mechanic to fights.  I found the game pretty fun, and the PC port ran well for me.

(Review code for Mind Zero was provided by the publisher.)

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