If music be the food of love then play on as the great Bard wrote. Well this game takes the view that if music be the food of battle then sing on and kick some ass!  Five young ladies, known as Verse Maidens who inbetween being revered as superstars, fight to save the world using music as the ultimate weapon are the main focus of this game, although one young lady is to take center stage as one of the greatest Verse Maidens is stepping down and this young starlet is being pushed front and center and is given the task of filling her shoes.

Sounds simple enough, what could possibly go wrong? Well she has, shall we say, just to be polite, confidence issues. OK she's a wimp, no really she is. When she's not seeking the others approval, she spends most of her time blubbing and showing the world that she's an emotional wreck. Honestly the world's fate rests in HER hands?

To further complicate matters, there's a young man on the scene called Taki, who is her 'friend'. Now Verse Maidens are NOT supposed to take men onto the field of battle with them, but this young bundle of nerves, can only really do her job knowing that she has his support! So it is, with reluctance, the Verse Maidens take this young man into the field with them, and it's clear he really doesn't want to do it. So we have a nertvous heroine, a reluctant hero, and their mentor to be blunt, is a spoilt brat grown into an even more spoilt woman!

This means there's an awful lot of interaction between this group and well...I'll get back too that subject later. So what are they fighting? They are battling a dark energy called Blare. Where there is Blare, there are monsters, so get them girls!

Dressing up the action....

If that strikes you as an odd header, it isn't hard to understand when you discover the customisation options that come your way as you collect materials as a reward for your battles. These can upgrade powers, costumes and special abilities like you would perhaps expect from an RPG like this. It's all explained in a detailed but somewhat fragmented tutorial, fragmented because you keep getting lessons scattered through at least the first two chapters of episode 1 of this game. Annoyingly though by the time they have told you all this, you may well have worked it all out for yourselves. These options for customisation have been in games for a long time now, from Final Fantasy, to White Knight Chronicles to name but two.

But it's not just the tutorial that breaks the flow of the action, it's the damned lengthy sections of dialogue that go on and on and on...yes you can skip them by hitting square (and you'll be tempted to do this a lot) BUT if you do you might just skip a tutorial, yes they often lump the dialogue with a tutorial, but hey if you miss it, it'll pop up, usually right before you are about to engage in a fight. <sigh> So like Elvis said, "A little less talking, a little more action" please....

Altogether now...1..2...BOOM!


So you have waded through tutorials, through the dialogue, when does the action start? Thankfully it's does come fairly regularly and battles are suitably large and in your face. OK minor beasties will be handles with relative ease (even by Little Miss Squeaky voiced nervous girl) but occasionally along comes the dreaded boss fight. Early battles are fairly easy though but be warned, the learning curve gets sharper as you go along and the difficulty levels rise steadily.

Timing is important, keep an eye on the various gauges on the screen because you can time paired defence or attacks, and these are courtesy of Taki, who will take one for the team or deal some damage of his own. He has his own set of skills so he's not just there for decoration, he is sometimes more useful than our young heroine.

Get ready to grind....


So you get the gang together, you have a manager, you have the retiring diva who is there to help you (supposedly) and a shiny HQ. You get your missions from a terminal, and you head off after selecting a zone on the world map and hold on wait...sure you can explore and fight but sometimes you'll come across an area that's blocked off by a gate that needs some skill level to break it. You can come back time and time again...but sometimes those locks stay stubbornly closed. You are sure there must be something shiny beyond them but darn, it can take a while....a LOOONG while...

And it's not always that clear what skills are needed to open the damned thing...so you may well find yourself grinding the level or farming as it's called now. If you have the patience though, you'll get the rewards. Just keep at it.

You'll get out of this whatever you put into it....

So the powers are there, the upgrading/customisation is there, it's up to you to put the effort into it. You'll get what...well read the heading for this section, you'll get the idea. It's hard work, that may become tedious for some or have that, "Darn one more go" element too it for others.  It really is up too you as a player as to just how much work you want to put into this. I find myself falling somewhere in the middle of this, my opinions are really quite divided about this title as you'll discover as we head for....

The grand finale.....

This is where in the old days we would have summed things up and given this a score out of 10. But we don't do that now, we sum up and press one of the tags, the Must Buy, Avoid or the No specific Tag button. It's now that i wish we had a fourth 'recommended' option, or one that says 'Maybe not for everyone'

It looks and plays like an interactive Manga or Anime series, and is even presented in episodes. Once you complete a section you get an opening title sequence complete with catchy theme song and off you go for some cut scenes, that switch between heart broken fans, the girls and the guy and the mysterious couple who seem to know about what's going on more than the Verse Maidens do.

We have Japanese Pop Music, a hint of a conspiracy and dynamic battles, and yes it looks very four colour comic book style but with all that glitter do we have gold underneath? Yes and no. Like I said the game has depths too it, but how far you dig under the gloss and try and get to the meat and muscle of the game, is all dependent on you. It will try your patience for sure, at least it did mine. I just wanted to say (and did) from time to time, "JUST SHUT UP AND GET THE **** ON WITH IT!". You have been warned.

Plus points:

Immersive customisation options.

Craetive elements, clothing, weapons and even pop videos...yes music videos!!

Dynamic battles with a relatively easy to learn combat system.

Minus points

Way too much talking...enough already...

Attempts at humour that fall between cringeworthy and genuinely unamusing.

Titilation is offered but it's at a very school boy level. As battles goes on and the ladies take damage, the armour....you get the drift.

Too much grinding...even for me who is a BIG fan of Diablo 3....

It's OK I suppose but I think with some careful editing and more judicious trimming of froth we could have had a really really great RPG game, sadly this one falls somewhat short of being great...it's good but definitely is a 'Marmite Title'.