The Conception II demo popped up on the North American eShop and PSN markets this week and since Europe is sitting out, I figured a preview was in order for those waiting patiently. The demo was a short one; not even an hour long, but it showed off many of the critical elements Spike Chunsoft is looking to deliver.
Conception II is basically a dating sim that has been blended into a JRPG. The idea of which is to craft bonds with a group of women to produce a number of star children that can then enter dungeons with you to clear out herds of monsters. Each woman you interact with has her own unique traits and this in turn gets pushed into the children created. The demo sets up this framework by having you communicate with a number of women and then finally allowing you to craft your first child. I created a green haired gunslinger named Dill.
Dill would be thrown together with eight other children as you pair them together in groups of three. The game then pushes you into a dungeon where you will be spending the rest of the demo figuring out and perfecting the battle system.
Fortunately, battles are turn-based affairs that look more complicated than they really are. You will begin each battle surrounding an enemy (which seems to be the strongest of the group) where you’ll proceed to wail on it with attacks, magic and other abilities as you build up meter for chain attacks. The idea of surrounding an opponent is critical as you are given 4 positions for your 4 squads to attack from. Children can be placed in front of adults so you can leave openings to move around, but the basic surround-and-pound strategy worked effectively where this demo was concerned.
The hints of where this could go was more interesting than anything. The children themselves all have unique abilities which can be expanded upon. Having a party mixed and matched up creates a list of abilities that you can run through. The surprisingly large number of children brought into dungeons with you does plenty to open everything up.
The dating sim element of Conception II gave a glimpse of what the dates could turn into, but consequences and reactions are really the main driver of any dating sim so there isn’t much other than a single overly affectionate date you can have with the 3 partners the demo offered up. What we were able to see however was what these personalities are and how Atlus is presenting them.
It seems that the women you get partnered up with will each have their own stereotypical responses from the demo. One is a literal monotone girl with black and white ponytails, one is a pink haired girl who is seems to need a push to do anything successful, and finally there is the tough girl who is a bit ditzy. With a game built around relationships, this isn’t really a showcase of the best potential, but only 1/3 of the voice actresses actually irked me which could be a positive. With such a short experience, you can’t really gauge these introductions, but hopefully these women become more than just shallow host bodies for breeding.
I’m also not a fan of the male protagonists single audible responses. They feel out of place and sometimes don’t even match the dialogue that is written for him. Hopefully this will all work itself out when the full game releases on April 15th.
Conception II feels like a game that could grow with the player as s/he gets deeper and deeper into the game. This demo only gives a sample, but it’s enough to figure out exactly what’s going to be going on in game. I’d recommend you at least try the demo out as the save data can be then transferred into the main game where Dill should be sitting next month.