Soul Nomad and the World Eaters has held up pretty well, I think.
Shame that my very first VGJ wasn’t detailed enough to do it justice. If it was done today, it would have had more descriptions of the gameplay and battles, as well as more transcriptions of dialog.
The story really surprised me with its depth and intensity. There are some very serious themes here of slavery, rape, illness, crime, reincarnation, betrayal, destiny, freedom, and redemption. SnatWE features a wide range of morality and lack thereof. Yet somehow, there’s never a sense that hope is completely lost. The game feels more serious than Nippon Ichi’s breakout hit Disgaea, and also less fourth-wall breaking and animesque overall. SnatWE may have one of the best and most underrated storylines ever in a game.
I really like some of the characters in the game. Danette in particular, due to sheer cuteness and goodness. She really comes off as an innocent character compared to most of the others. Impossible though it may seem at the start of the game, Gig gets redeemed over the course of the story and becomes a much better person. I love a good jerk with a heart of gold, and a good redemption story, and Gig has both. But in hindsight, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to make Gig as standoffish as he was. It got the game off to a shaky start.
I think that one good thing that the game did was make each character have a real place in the story, and gave them their own defining moment, ranging from Tricia’s sister Shauna dying in her arms, to Shauna’s act of cruel mercy towards her in killing Hawthorne; to Levin’s betrayal; to Cuthbert’s attempt at redemption; to the truth behind Layna’s fate and identity; and even to Odie becoming the skilled mage that he wanted to.
The Voice Acting
I can’t remember why exactly, but I played through the game for a long while with the Japanese voice acting. Maybe I didn’t like the English voice acting at first, or, more likely, I got the idea from somewhere that the English acting wasn’t good, and went along with that like the sheeple that I am. I honestly don’t think it’s that bad, but it doesn’t quite feel right considering the talent cast. It’s affected in a way that feels theatrical. I’ll chalk it up to iffy voice direction. And what about that talent?
Gig: Yuri Lowenthal: We’ll be hearing a lot more from him in the future. 😀
Danette: Amanda Winn-Lee
Tricia: Wendee Lee
Levin/Raksha: Liam Christopher O’Brien
Thorndyke and Vangogh: Dave Wittenberg
Layna: Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
Endorph/Walnut: Troy Baker, before he got really famous. I honestly don’t even remember what Endorph sounded like in the game.
The Multiple Endings and the Demon Path
I didn’t know that this game’s multiple endings were determined by relationship values from your choices. Your choices determine how the other characters feel about you, and which of their endings you will get. These range from everyone to Danette, to Gig, to a reincarnated Levin wandering the earth in search of a purpose. It’s nice that there are so many different endings, but I wish that there was more of a sense that your choices affected how the others felt about them and you. Alpha Protocol, this is not in this regard.
I didn’t know that I got the Reyva/Danette ending; I just thought that I got the default ending. I’m actually happy with this result, because I think this is a cute and happy coupling, and that they’ll make each other happy. Blink and you’ll miss it, but it’s there. This actually came long before I chose certain other couplings in later games.
One infamous part of the game is the Demon Path where Reyva goes mad with Gig’s power and becomes such a threat that the game’s other bad guys team up to try and take them down. I’ve heard that there are some horrifying things in this path, like the likelihood of Tricia actually having been raped by Hawthorne and her mental breakdown thereafter, leading to her suicide and Shauna getting pushed over the edge of morality to become a murderer. Things like that, along with the fact that I rarely go evil in games anyway, and how I don’t want to sour the happy ending that I already got ensure that I’ll never go on the Demon Path. Never!
This game featured Asagi, a character that first appeared in Makai Kingdom and later appeared in Disgaea 2. All she really wants is to star in her own game. If you beat Feinne without Gig’s help, then Asagi pops in to try and claim Reyva’s rightful spot as main character. It is hilarious and features a reference to Zetta, a character from MK.
Female Reyva and Gig were DLC characters in Disgaea 3. Danette had a cameo in Reyva’s Holy Justice attack (which was also their combo attack in SNatWE).
Should I Buy It?
Yes, if you like great stories in games and don’t mind a slow start.
In the next VGJ, we’ll explore the origins of evil in an unlikely battleground: a sleepy vacation town where many inexplicably find their destinies.