First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.
Stella Glow is yet another title from the Atlus game company, and being honest the last few titles from them have been less than enjoyable. These include Legend of Legacy and Etrian Odyssey II, so I go into this with low expectations.
However right from the start, I noticed another company had a hand in making this title; my old friend SEGA. The game started and I was instantly taken to a screen where apparently a previous protagonist is being engulfed in some type of fire; he is dying as his teammates look on. So now I’m intrigued as I try to struggle with looking past the flames that are burning and engulfing me, and a promise is made so that no one else will have to suffer the same way.
The game soon cuts to a girl named Lisette in the village of Mithra, talking about a previous hero who stopped God’s wrath by sacrificing himself. I assume this to be the previous protagonist from the cut-scene. Before long she learns that her adopted brother is off in the forest hunting, and she runs after him. As soon as they meet they’re tossed into the first battle of the game!
Combat is in the form of a Final Fantasy style tactic, with the twist that players are allowed to move around the board only a certain number of steps. When he gets close to an enemy he can attack. The game instructs the player to attack rear flanks, as enemies are weaker there. Upon attacking you are treated to a nice cut-scene of the player battling with the monster. It was a nice change from what I’ve seen in other game titles. It also gives a nice look at character appearance, in an in-depth…albeit chibi design. After the battle ends and you continue on with the story, you are treated to some spectacular voice acting that made me just want to play the game even more. The voices felt like they belonged with the characters. I also noticed that the voice actors never once went off script, where as in other games the text would say one thing and the voices another. Everything was precise and to the point, explaining the story so I wouldn’t get lost.
As I continued on with the game, Lisette soon became a witch and I was told to tune her soul, which played out as you would expect. No hidden mini-game, no random hidden feature, just a small story cut-scene again where I talk to her and am given some “yes” or “no” options. I was a little confused when the prologue was over. It said the story is now mine to tell, but through playing the game there was very little room for customization (outside of character creation).
The game itself is very limiting as well, as to what the player can actually do. Through my entire time playing, it felt as if the story was just advancing without much of my input. At times I felt forced to grind away. I get that a role-playing game wants to tell a story, but it felt more like a Telltale game where I don’t get a choice between going to point A or to point B. I was just forced to do it.
Overall though, despite that one flaw with the game, I have been having a good time playing through and I wish there was more I could do. But I suppose some things are just not meant to be. I recommend picking up Stella Glow if you have the money laying around, as it’s a fun title and the story to me at least is fairly good; even with its blatant attempt at a materia-like setup for its weapons.