Review by kevbum

"Good, but could be better"

Inuyasha fans rejoice: there's finally an Inuyasha RPG out in the states. Inuyasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask is a decent turn based RPG - a rarity recently for the next-gen consoles - and is pretty damn good for an RPG pulled from an anime series. That being said, there are many qualities that could have been improved.

Graphics: 8/10
The background graphics for towns and fields were obviously hand drawn and are very beautiful, reminiscent of the anime series. The in-game cinematics and character portraits are excellent as well. Where the -3 in the score comes from is the 3D models for the characters themselves. Honestly, the 3D graphics sucked. In fact, some features were totally changed from the models and how the characters look in the anime (major example: look at Shippo's eyes...). The 3D graphics look like they should be in an older PS2 game or a PS1 game. Disappointing, but the background graphics and hand drawn graphics more than make up for it.

Gameplay: 7/10
The battle system is great; a very good tried-and-true typical turn based game. That being said, there are some obvious deficiencies. Item use was completely demolished: there are very VERY few practical uses for carrying around a bunch of curative items, especially status effect healing items. With 3 characters that can heal without using energy, it's more practical to just wait till the next battle. Speaking of using energy, techniques could have been improved; a lot. There are tons of ways around limiting characters to their signature moves in the anime, giving Sango 4 different moves that use her hiraikotsu is probably not the most effective way. Also: co-op techniques seemed to be hurriedly thrown together then hidden as such by using cinematics instead of normal battle animations. They don't seem to really calculate damage and damage is always done in multiples of 111, which screams lazy. Lastly, the game flows too slow! Each time a choice is made in battle, you have to wait about half a second for the next menu to pop up and animate a little before you can make your next choice. Half a second may not seem like much, but when you're using techniques you're going through 3 menus and enemy choice: 2 seconds spent waiting for menus to pop up. Even in older RPGs you could just smash the confirm button and make your complete choice of action in less than a second, more if you had a long list of techniques to choose from. Furthermore, it takes at least 10-15 seconds from the battle start animation to the start of the battle. Making such a sluggish battle system takes away from the fast paced button mashing a battle is supposed to be... well sorta. The battle system is very doable though, other than that handful of complaints the battle system is quite excellent.

Sound: 7/10
Wonderful voiceovers and appropriate sounds. Why the low score then? WE WANT BACKGROUND MUSIC. If you're not in a town or in a battle, you don't get background music: you get a bird chirping in the background and that's it. Then a battle starts and it startles you because you suddenly have a loud sound in the middle of a bunch of silence.

Plot: 9/10
Adding another character just for the game was a great idea; it makes the plot for the game much less stale. Unfortunatly: the plot is really lacking near the end and meeting Inuyasha and his gang went way too smooth without a whole lot of communication between them; if you haven't seen the anime you wouldn't know what was going on with them. The ending looked rather hurried and may as well have been the main character waking up and saying "oh, so that was all a dream?" qualitywise.

Overall: 7/10
If you're an uber-Inuyasha superfan, buying this game wouldn't be a waste. Otherwise, there are probably better games out there, but you definitely don't want to turn this game down just because it's based on an anime series: it's too good for that.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/22/04

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