Reviewed: April 7, 2009
Released: March 24, 2009
Lux-Pain is as mysterious as a title as is its release here in the States. Ignition Entertainment brings another adventure to our shores that have left the gaming community (at least those at all the major press outlets) scratching their heads or their DS screens trying to figure out what to make of this rather interesting title.
Unlike the rest of my fellow writers here in the States so far, I actually like this title. Sure it does suffer from a few localization problems but I’ll get to that later on. Lux-Pain is one of the best adventure titles for the DS since Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Trace Memory in my opinion.
Lux-Pain is the story of one Atsuki Saijo, a boy that has lost both of his parents to a heinous evil known only as “Silent.” He himself was infected but after a dangerous operation he was freed of it. Gifted by the power of Lux-Pain (or Divine Pain) via a ring he sets out to destroy the Original. So without further delay I give you my review of Lux-Pain for the Nintendo DS.
One’s perception of what makes something a game will vary from person to person and even from country to country. Lux-Pain is a visual novel adventure title that takes place in Kisaragi City where a series of disturbing events has shattered this scenic historical town. You the player assume the role of Atsuki Saijo as he infiltrates Kisaragi High School as a transfer student in attempt to get to the bottom of these events.
Somewhere over the course of time before his insertion into the school Atsuki has lost all memory of his own days at high school, so not only does he have to his job but deal with the everyday workings. But I will say one thing about this title is that it does have a very sad, somewhat depressing mood to it.
The gameplay itself consists of using the power of S (or Sigma) to search crime scenes for clues or use your power to retrieve information or remove a Silent from that person. You do this by using your stylus in Search and/or Erase mode to scratch away at the Reality Screen to uncover hidden ethers, worms, terms and Silents. So you’re basically playing a game of scratch the lottery ticket with a human being in order to save them.
There is also a bit of player interaction via conversations where you must choose between two three option and see how the conversation plays out. There are even times when you have to choose between emotions that are color-coded. These will also aid you in understanding the colors associated with the other characters in the title.
Lux-Pain features anywhere from 19 to 21 chapters depending on which ending you get. Yes there are multiple endings to be had if you meet certain requirements through out the adventure. There are times when you need to be at the right place at the right time to save someone. I would go into it more but that would create spoilers.
There is a lot of dialogue to be read in Lux-Pain and to some that can be a drag. Now, I‘m an avid reader and quite accustomed to reading in RPG’s so I didn’t mind all the reading personally. The localization does cause some issues such as typos such as “Burse Office.” There are also variances between what the voice actor is saying and what is presented in print is not always correct.
I like the way that Lux-Pain’s story is presented. Instead of it being told from one person’s perspective it is presented to you in pieces via all of the different characters that you meet. I slowly get to see the relationships that are there and that unfold as you go about your job. The one thing that I particularly like is the way memories are played back after you remove a worm form someone and imbed the term back into them. It plays out like a nightmare except with words that fade in and out and appear randomly on the upper screen.
Graphically, Lux-Pain looks great and features an anime style look that most visual novels carry. We gamers in the States don’t see these types of games often so it was a welcome change for me. The beginning video that plays when you load up the game is pretty nice and gives you a glimpse of some of the characters that you will meet and work with.
The majority of the Lux-Pain is presented with still anime shots that change a bit with the characters moods. I like that the characters mouths do move when they are talking to you both when speaking out load and when you are just reading text. I also liked the various locations that there was to offer. I even liked the little newscasts that you could watch via your mobile.
Despite the voice actors words not matching the written dialogue I think that they did a great job. Even if they were off, they got the point across on what they were trying to tell you. Sometimes it was funny to hear the conversations that were happening off screen or between two people in front of you.
The music and sound effects also complimented the sound department of Lux-Pain. The music that you will hear will vary for sad and melodramatic to cheerful to up-tempo when something is about to happen. The sound effects are also cool such as the ringing of bells and birds. The one sound that I find hilarious is that of the door sounds used to emulate some sort of sliding door. It sounds like an angry being until I realized exactly what it was the first time.
Lux-Pain features 21 total chapters assuming you did things correctly and offers 20+ hours of gameplay. I like the fact that there is more than one ending so you can see what things would have happened if you did things differently. Players can have up to 3 save slots to use and you can have more that game session saved so more that one person can play. Not that I would advise it as some of these chapters are looong.
There are also extras to be unlocked as you progress through the adventures. Most of these are unlocked as you become closer to the various characters within Lux-Pain. Some of them are only able to be unlocked during a second play though. So there other than the different endings there is reason to play through again.
Lux-Pain retails for around $30 dollars at most retailers and can easily be spotted by its sleek shiny sleeve cover. That seems to be an image thing for Ignition this year as all of their DS titles like Blue Dragon Plus and Boing! Docomodake have them. Lux-pain also comes with an art book that highlights the different characters as well as a little background on the major characters. It’s a pretty cool bonus gift if you ask me.
So Lux-Pain suffers from localization issues, the voices often don’t match the words and there are typos. That alone will drive some North American gamers crazy, but I guess that I am the odd man out, as I actually like this title despite its flaws or lack of “gameplay.” Lux-Pain is a visual novel plain and simple. Its looks good has a good story and a nice concept. I recommend this title to anyone that wants to try something a bit outside of the norm here in the States.