Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is a direct sequel to Mask of Deception so unless you have played and enjoyed its predecessor, there is no major reason to play this sequel. The best part of the series is its engaging story and well developed cast of characters and if you miss out on the journey with them through the first game, you might not be able to enjoy your experience with the sequel either. Even though there are a couple of way to get up-to-date with the story, either you have the choice of watching an anime that is based on the story featured in Mask of Deception, or you can just get on with the sequel while reading the Glossary and getting the summary for most of the major events from Mask of Deception, which the game does a good job at explaining them in detail.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth story takes place after the ending of Mask of Deception. There is a certain similarity between the opening in Mask of Truth with Deception because of the way the main character, Haku, awakens to a strange place. He doesn’t seem to recall some of the important events from the first game and has faint memory of the other characters that he meets upon waking up. In the first game, Haku became close friends with several of these characters but with the sequel, you will be building a new relationship with them by assuming the identity of a completely different person.
There is not a whole lot to detail about the story here because it will be hard to avoid spoilers in this case, but the game is heavily focused on the visual novel aspect where you get character portraits in first person view and initiate a long conversation with them. Despite the fact that the game is also part Strategy RPG, the gameplay elements don’t come into play here for the majority of the game. The start of the story is slow paced as you slowly begin to learn the truth behind your amnesia. The combat encounters in the first half are rare and it is not only the second half of the game that the combat begins to ramp up and you start to assume more control over your characters.
Speaking of the Strategy RPG element, there is no major change being made here for the sequel. You still have the same grid-based layout during the combat where you can move each character through a set of grids and attack the enemies. The issue in the beginning is more related to the pacing which means combat encounters will be less frequent so it will be easy to lose a sense of progression. This is rectified somewhat as your progress further in the story, letting you play through more of the enemy encounters, but it still feels like a letdown. Of course, if you prefer the visual novel aspect of the game, you are going to get more of it in the sequel and it is almost twice the size of content compared to its predecessor which should be enough to satisfy the fans of the series.
The combat is fairly simple so there is not a lot of strategy to execute here. If you are looking for complete strategy mechanics, you won’t find them here. The game plays rather easy on the normal difficulty setting. If you have enjoyed the gameplay from the first game, there is no reason to except to hate them here. The new addition here is co-operative attacks and while you will be busy placing your characters around the grid to attack enemies, the interaction is limited and the only thing that keeps you occupied is trying to execute multiple critical strikes on the enemy which require a carefully timed press during attack.
If you are looking for a meaty story content, Mast of Truth has you covered. The game should take somewhere between 40 to 50 hours to complete the first time around. You have a lot of story dialogue to read and the game does a great job by expanding on the lore for the world in Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth. This is in addition to the available glossary in the game that is highly detailed and goes through almost all of the major details for the lore. There is plenty to read about the world and there is even more to discover during the story.
Speaking of the visuals, they seem to aim for the PS Vita with the priority being given to the art style instead of graphics. The game looks nice enough on the big screen and the art shines for the most part, but it also depends on how much tolerance you have for some of the overly cliche anime aesthetics that are prevalent in Mask of Truth. If you are a fan of the series though, this game will be undoubtedly satisfy your curiosity and it neatly wraps up the story which is worth experiencing in my opinion.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: The epic story of Utawarerumono comes to an end in Mask of Truth , as the fate of the world will be determined by warring nations.
The sequel offers twice the content of its predecessor but still suffers from the same flaws. The combat is pretty straightforward but the highlight of the game is easily its visual novel segments that lets you experience the story in great detail.