Citizens of Earth a robust critique masquerading as waffle..honest By ApeMutterings

CitizensEarthHeroSpoiler warning! I might divulge some plot points during this long bit of text so if you don’t want the ‘epic’ and ‘amazing’ plot spoiled be gone with you. You are better off looking at pictures of cats or something.

Another victory for the V.P!

What? What does that mean you might ask, well I’ll get to that in a bit, after all patience is a virtue and by the power of Jesus’s flip flops patience is a a virtue that can be sorely tested.

Anyhow lets get this started and break this bad boy down.

What is Citizens of Earth?

Well it’s a game available on some formats which you could find out for yourself.

This version played was on PS4 and I know it’s available on Vita and PC. It’s available for about a fiver.

If you are the sort of person who likes length then this is for you. This game will last you 20+ hours. So if you are a thrifty old codger who still believes you can buy a house for £10 and have enough change for a bottle of Tizer and a wooden spinning top then this game will arouse you in areas you haven’t felt anything in for many a year.

You may have to call the nurse and ask for oxygen.

It’s a big game for the price you pay, but is it a double nay triple edged sword?

Another victory for the V.P! 

 Prey, what type of game is it?

Citizens-of-Earth-VP-HouseCitizens of the Earth is an old school rpg of sorts. Apparently it is a copy/homage/rip off/piss take of the Earthbound games. Having not played Earthbound I can’t comment if it’s more wink wink nudge nudge in its direction or a copy.

Anyhow think old school Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.  A 2d top down rpg where you play the hero. A large world map, sort of dungeons, items, character classes and an ‘epic quest’.

Only this has its tongue firmly in its cheek. Well it does sometimes, other times it’s tongue is flailing around like a bullwhip made from sausages trying to find a cheek to nestle in but missing the target and ending up hang flaccid, while possibly dribbling on the floor.

A fair bit of enjoyment of this game depends on if you find its humour funny, and if you do how long can you find it funny for.

What’s it about then?

 Another victory for the V.P!

 Sorry, I will get to the point of that soon.

citizens-of-earth-3Right then, plot. You are the V.P which is abbreviationist for Vice President. However you are not the Vice President of the local cribbage club or indeed the local town. Heck you aren’t even Vice President of the country. You are Vice President of the whole damn world! Now while you would think this position of power would earn you kudos or ‘respec’ as the kids say, you would in fact be be wrong.

Turns out being a middle aged man with a vast ego and no common sense of purpose or the real world, an accurate caricature of a politician or possibly just the truth, means that you are in fact unpopular.

The game starts with a protest about you and your selfish ways in your hometown. So you get your first party of your mum and brother who you still live with and you set off to find out who started the trouble. From there it develops into a vast vast vast vast adventure across the country to find out what’s going on in a world where coffee shops, the ‘hilariously’ titled Moonbucks, are flying around and the land is full of wacky creatures all out to get you. Who is behind this conspiracy?

Well to find out you will need you will need some of but not all of the 40, yes indeedy 40, characters you can recruit on the way through its a to b to c to a to d to a to e to b to a storyline.

Another victory for the V.P!

 ………

 How’s it play then?

 Well using the joypad, other options may be available on other formats, you walk around talk to people find places and fight stuff. All of the enemies are visible so there are no random battles which is normally a blessing. All of your character info, quest info and maps are available on the Vice Presidents tablet at the touch of a button.

When fighting you change screens through a wibbly wobbly graphic effect. Your characters are at the bottom of the screen facing your crudely animated enemies. It is turn based combat where you choose actions for each character, attack, defend heal, use item etc. and you keep going till you win while making sure to watch your health metre.

Listen, if you’ve played any rpg you know how to play this so let’s shuffle onwards.

Personal Circumstances

citizens_of_earth Okay confession time. I didn’t play all of Citizens of the Earth I only played some of it. This is because my lovely girlfriend was the main player on this. So I watched it when it wasn’t my turn to walk for 5 seconds and then fight and then walk for 5 seconds and have another fight. She has never played an rpg of this ilk before so it was her game. I thought it may be a jolly little romp for someone with no rpg experience.

Anyone who has a problem with this particular information can frankly bury themselves I a pit. I have seen the whole game whilst probably actually playing about 2-3 hours.

Another victory for the V.P!

 That’s getting slightly tedious…….

Anyway let us cover briefly, or possibly at length as I haven’t written it yet, the good points and bad points I found about this jolly quest. So shall we start with the good or the bad? Let’s go bad so we can end on a high…..ish.

So why isn’t this game excellent, if indeed its not?

 Another victory for the V.P!

 ……..sigh.

 Maps:

Right, so when you are outside at the touch of a shoulder button a map will appear for you showing you the area you are in for example Hometown or Grasslands. You may be saying ‘well that sounds dandy’ and yes it is, sort of.

However there are multiple areas in this game all connected by various paths that may or may not be open to you depending on who is in your party. The story will have you going all over this ‘gigantomap’ from one corner to the next yet there is no over world map showing how or where these areas connect. So you can travel halfway across the whole world map to find out that the area you want, if you can remember where it is in relation to anywhere else, has something in the way so you can’t progress to where you need to be in the new area. Cue having to retrace your steps and find an entirely different route to where you need to be and there fore travelling through multiple areas again. This happens a lot.

Yes there are markers on the map allegedly pointing out the direction of the area you want to be in but they don’t point out the route just the general direction. So they can lead you to dead ends.

Also on the map front indoor locations do not have maps and these can be very large, samey, filled with dead ends and  labyrinthine in construction. With no direction they become tedious.

And for anyone saying;

‘Bloody whiners wanting games to hold there hands, not in my day etc’

I extend my two gnarled middle fingers. There are games like Red Dead Redemption where exploration is wonderful and an experience to behold, then there are games where it is dull and annoying. Much like there is meat like fillet steak and meat like a bag of peppered rat sphincters.

Another victory for the V.P!

 Where’s my hammer?….. He needs to stop that.

 Quest descriptions:

Citizens of Earth 3Lord o Lord have some consistency. Either have clear objective descriptions in your quests or make them all cryptic and stupid. Some of these are obvious such as ‘find the document in Floodlands’ which is fine. It tells me where to go and what I’m looking for. I may not know how to get there or what I will have to do to find it when I get there to acquire said document but it’s a big friendly nudge in the right direction.

There are many quests such as this, and as you potter along mopping all of these up suddenly you are told something along the lines of ‘Think sternly about what a fish fish may feel on Wednesday’….. What?

Okay I made that up but there’re many missions with obscure titles that you may or may not blunder across as the V.P gains Popeye like calf muscles walking the several thousand miles he will have to during this adventure. If you are a completionist prepare to cry.

Another victory for the V.P!

 Hammer….check…. Now I need a burlap sack……

 Party members:

There are forty of the buggers in the world for you to recruit and use there skills, forty…. You don’t need all of them. During this play through thirty two were accumulated and hit my balls with a crow bar it was a slog. To gain one of these ruffians, some of who are amusing and others very not so, you have to start a discussion which will more than likely end up with a fetch quest and an instruction to meet them somewhere else in the world. Once you have served there needs like a snivelling butler, guess V.P of the world carries no  weight whatsoever, you will have them in your party to use during fights and have access to there unique talent. Only you have to level them up in school or by fighting. So be prepared to grind like a million Jack Russell’s on a giant leg. Oh and there talent also has to be levelled up but I believe only by fighting.

Another victory for the V.P!

Hammer…..check….burlap sack…..check….where’s my shovel?…

Party member talents:

So what are these talents? Well some are useful for example;

The pilot can fly you to specific areas of the map saving trawling through it on foot, thank Ryu!

The second hand car salesman can give your car to drive on the roads meaning you don’t have to fight the enemies you just drive through them, thank Ken!

The gardener can prune thorny obstacles making your path quicker, thank Blanka!

The purple chip container thing can change the difficulty, thank… Er what.

The musician let’s you change the music…. Isn’t there an options screen?

Yes you can spend hours getting a character to find out you can now choose the music and the best thing is you have no idea if they will be useful or not until you get them. They are like micro transactions in game but rather than paying with money you pay with time, sanity, sore thumbs and electricity for multiple joypad charges.

Another victory for the V.P!

 ..and shovel…check…now to find a secluded field or something….

Non random battles:

2645166-screen+shot+2014-06-12+at+5.05.30+pmRemember how annoying random battles used to be? Oh how we moaned at FFVII in areas like the train yard where you couldn’t take two steps before the screen went swish  and you were I another fight. How we rejoiced when enemies became visible later I the series. At last we had a choice to fight or not.

Well the good news is that in Citizens of Earth you can see the enemies! So you can choose to fight or not right! Well no, yes, sort of.

There are many many many many many enemies in the game. The bad news is that when you enter an area when you walking anywhere near them they home in on you like a fly round a cow dump.

You will fight. A lot. Many many times. And it an be infuriating especially in interior locations. Outside you have a chance to weave your way past these angry little bastards as they swarm towards you like zombies but indoors in tight corridors er, no. Here you will fight, walk a bit, fight, walk a bit, through these mazes possibly fighting 10-20 times just to find you are going in the wrong direction, oh for a map. Most enemies can be beaten in a few moves so they aren’t tough fights but the quantity wears you down.

Oh and let’s not forget the moment you leave an area, even for 1 second and re enter it we enter the world of respawning enemies. This is annoying if you have gone the wrong way, there is no quick way back. You fight through again and then you fight some more.

There is a small relief however. When you clear a boss in an area the enemies will move away from you and you can have a free passage through the map. But you will have been there a couple of times before, fighting. Forever fighting.

Another victory for the V.P!

 Right, this plan is a goer…….

Music and sound effects, music and sound effects:

 The music in this game much like the graphics, hark back to a simpler time. This is not a bad thing necessarily. Each area has its own tune which are jangly and pleasant enough. You can change the music or tempo, strangely, but you will need to hire a specific character for this.

Another victory for th..(BANG)

 Ah the sound effects and voice work. Do excuse me for a while…..

I drag the unconscious object across the floor and place it in the burlap sack. This is then put in the boot of my car. Miles and miles pass as I reach my destination as the sun goes down.

I find the spot after what seems hours and start digging, luckily the soil is damp from the recent rain and in a short time the hole is dug. I drag the sack from the boot and bury it under the stars, thank god it’s over.

On the way back home I stop for a coffee. The old woman behind the counter has a face like a frustrated squid yet that’s by the by.

I arrive back safe in the knowledge there will be no more interruptions and I can continue…..

Right, so the sound effects and voice work. The voice work here is decent, there is some good work in these characters which matches variety of the characters.

However, in the name of all that is everything I wish there were more of them, especially in battles.

Everyone says something if you launch an attack or you get hit. You will launch thousands upon thousands of attacks and get hit the same amount of times. Hearing the same things again and again and again. All with a commentary from the V.P who will say the same few things again and again and again. And on victory you will get a quip like the one that had been seen in this review in multiple places

And this is again and again and again and again…if only there were more clips or fewer fights.

Jesus, it feels like I have been overly harsh on this game, especially when the good points will be fewer and shorter.

So what’s good then?

The graphics are pretty enough, the game is simple to play and you can just lose a couple of hours in it. In sort bursts this game can work.

20130130_citizens_of_earth

The conclusion, I suppose

See? It’s going to look like I hate this game but I don’t.

In reality the biggest enemy of Citezens of Earth is itself. I said you get a lot of game for your hard earned pennies and you do, perhaps too much. All of the negative points I’ve listed only really become a factor due to the games length. If it had been about 10 hours would I have minded as much?

I certainly wouldn’t have been a miserable sod like I have for a majority of this. This game has a knowing sense of humour and does mock the genre well in places. I’m not sure if the size itself is a slight mockery of rpg’s, if it is it was a little lost on me and that’s probably my fault.

2796364-citizensofearth2For me personally it should have been trimmed down to the size of say Child of Light or Costume Quest. At a length similar to those game it could have been a viable easy to play entry point to rpg’s for people who want to give them a go or a nice little diversion for people to play in between the overlong epic AAA titles we seem to be getting flooded with these days.

So would I recommend it? Tough one. Maybe. If you want an easy to play cheap rpg that doesn’t take itself too seriously then this can be a contender. You may get bored and never see the end but in truth there are a lot of games that never get played to the end.

Are there better games that do the same, in most areas, yes. Look, it’s solid in what it does and there are other games that don’t even manage that.

 

Graphics: nice cartoony fun

Sound: another fucking victory for the V.P

Playability: up, down, left, right, o, x(other platforms may vary)

Length: is not always the answer, sometimes it’s the motion of the ocean.

 

Score: stretched too thin/100