Important Importables Review: Ranshima Monogatari: Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou for PSP

May 1, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Ranshima Monogatari: Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou for PSP

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Ranshima Monogatari: Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou

Title: Ranshima Monogatari Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou
Price: $48.90
System(s): PSP
Release Date: July 22, 2009
Publisher (Developer): Arc System Works (Arc System Works)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero B for Ages 12+
Pros: Everything you earned the previous run-through is saved for future run-throughs, nice selection of jobs, lots of clothing options, can change Chiria’s hairstyle, nice variety of endings for her, many NPCs to interact with, Chiria can use magic, many places to go in the city, pretty visuals and the voice acting is well done. It spans a four year period, which makes it easy to replay.
Cons: It’s fairly short, and goes by four, 30 day seasons instead of by months of a year. Chiria tires fairly easily. Balancing rebuilding the town, boosting Chiria’s stats, determining what NPCs to interact wit and trying to acquire items can be quite complicated.
Overall Score: 9/10

The Princess Maker series of game is so popular in Asia that it’s not only developed a devoted fanbase, but also encouraged other publishers to make similar games. Ranshima Monogatari Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou is one of those games. It was originally a Chinese PC Princess Maker-style simulation, but Arc System Works decided it would work quite well on the PSP and thus ported it to the system. The result is a game that complements Princess Maker, but also adds its own unique twists to the character raising genre.

Ranshima Monogatari: Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou

Help a mysterious girl find a place in the world.

After a kingdom is attacked by all kinds of monsters and devious forces, one of the main heroes (appropriately named Hiro) comes across a young woman with a mysterious power. She uses an amazing power which helps subdue the evil, and when Hiro finds her, she’s alone in a temple and doesn’t remember a thing.

So Hiro decides to take Chiria, the mysterious girl, in for four years and help her out. The two work together to help rebuild the kingdom, but also to help Chiria make something of herself. Along the way, you can also help Hiro find love, either with one of the other girls of the town or Chiria, and help Chiria find a path to follow, either with Hiro or one of the other men in town.

Gameplay is identical to that found in every Princess Maker game, with you determining Chiria’s schedule for the week, and then letting her roam around town on weekends, for every week for a four year period. Years are divided up into four, 30 day seasons, so you can really blast through playthroughs quickly if you sit down and focus.

Ranshima Monogatari: Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou

Who’s happiness is more important, Hiro’s or Chiria’s?

Ranshima Monogatari requires quite a bit of balancing. There’s a lot to do, and very little time to actually accomplish it all. It’s almost like you have to spend one or two playthroughs just working to acquire items, since you can keep clothing/furniture/items from prior completed runs, then work on actually trying to get certain endings for Chiria and Hiro. There are classes for Chiria, jobs for Chiria, lots of NPCs to talk to, spells that can be used, extracurricular activities and, not to mention, a town to rebuild!

There are also tons of customization options. In most Princess Maker style games, all you can do is change your character’s clothing. In Ranshima Monogatari you can change everything. You can, of course, change her clothes. You can decorate her room. You can even take her to the salon to have her hair done. (Hairstyles are temporary though!) Also, as Chiria helps to rebuild the town and you update her room, her living quarters get better, larger and more elaborate.

Finally, the dynamic between Hiro and Chiria is quite interesting. As the game progresses, you can start to develop the two main character’s relationships. You can try to pair Hiro and Chiria with each other, or you can try to pair them up with certain people in town. It can be a little tricky though, as in two of my playthroughs it really seemed as though Chiria favored Hiro and it was difficult to try and pair him up with Fei the priestess or Chiria up with Rui. In one playthrough, it even seemed as though her demeanor changed as Hiro got closer to Fei.

Ranshima Monogatari: Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou

An unusual twist on Princess Maker-style games.

Ranshima Monogatari Rare Land Story: Shoujo no Yakujou is very clearly inspired by the Princess Maker series of games, but at the same time it adds its own special twists and additions that make it more than just a knock off. Yes, you’re once again raising a young girl in the hopes of preparing her for a new life, but this time there are many more ways to customize your experience, dating sim elements, the ability to aid both Hiro and Chiria and a shorter time span to encourage replays. It isn’t a revolutionary game, but it’s well made and quite entertaining. Simulation fans should definitely give it a chance.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about 5 great games inspired by anime series.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports offered suggestions for starting a trading figurine collection.

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