Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is less a game and more an interactive anime series.
Taking well over 30-hours, Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth follows directly on from Mask of Deception.
Those who’ve not ‘played’ the first title will be hard pressed to understand what’s happening in Mask of Truth.
When we reviewed Mask of Deception we found it strangely compelling, even though there was barely any game to play. The same is true of Mask of Truth.
After getting to know Haku and his plight through Mask of Deception, watching him continue to struggle and fight in Mask of Truth is the meat of the experience.
Haku has taken on Oshtor’s identity following his death in Mask of Deception and the mental toll it takes on him is obvious throughout the story. To succeed in his mission and save the kingdoms of Ennakamuy and Yamato, Haku must convince everybody that he was the one who died in Mask of Deception and that Oshtor is alive and well. Not an easy task.
Like its predecessor, Mask of Truth is presented from a first-person perspective when Haku is conversing with other characters. Since this makes up roughly 90% of the experience, it helps to put the player in Haku’s shoes, literally. Empathising with Haku’s plight is made all the easier as you literally see the world through his eyes.
The stellar voice acting also sells Haku’s deception to you as you play. His struggle is real as his thoughts are brought to life through spoken word. However, as engrossing as the narrative is, it moves along at a snail’s pace. It takes forever for anything to really happen and the tiny snippets of gameplay meant to break up the dialogue are few and far between.
I preferred to ‘play’ it as if it were an anime series and watch a few ‘episodes’ a night. That way I was getting through the story and enjoying it, without burning myself out. It’s certainly a better and less confusing story than Mask of Truth though it’s almost double the length. If you’re interested in Mask of Deception, make sure you set aside plenty of time.
When you do actually get to play the game, the simple SRPG gameplay won’t really present any challenge. Even if it does, you’re able to rewind your turns and try again to make sure you never lose. Mask of Truth is all about getting you through the narrative and unfolding the plot.
If Mask of Truth wasn’t as well voice acted and the visuals weren’t so delightful to look at, I would have struggled to remain engaged. Thankfully, I was drawn into Haku’s epic quest, no matter how weird and whacky it became.
If you’re a fan of anime then Mask of Truth may very well be exactly what you need after a long day at work. Just be prepared for a lot of reading and a lot of fan service.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided to PowerUp! by Atlus.
Game Title: Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth