"Part Liar Princess, Part Paper Mario, enjoyable but not fully flushed out"
In 2018 Nippon Ichi Software introduced gamers to a new fairy tale story in the form of The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. This year NIS has made a new fantasy styled game with The Cruel King and the Great Hero. Using the same art style and story telling the great hero switches the 2d puzzle platforming for a turn based RPG. The Cruel King is a different genre while but still shares the same art style and is possibly in the same world. But as with all heroic tales The Great Hero must stand and be judged for its own value so let's get into it.
The Cruel King and the great hero is the adventure of Yuu a human child being raised by the Dragon King who rules over a kingdom of monsters. Yuu has been told the story her biological father, the great hero who defeated the demon king, for her entire and thus spends every day training to follow in her papa's footsteps with the assistance and support of her dad the dragon king. And for the most part that is the story, the adventures of Yuu. Starting off small like the dragon king having her go down the mountain to the village "alone" and doing tasks to help any villagers she can while rumors of the demon king returning begin to circulate. What is interesting is the Yuu is a kid and therefore the game sometimes feels like you’re a kid playing a hero but at the same time Yuu is fighting creatures that are shown to be deadly in The Liar Princess. So there is an interesting dynamic of a kid in a nurturing environment while also showing that she has exceptional strength from her family line.
Along with the oversized title The Cruel King and the Great Hero also shares an unique art style with The liar Princess and the Blind prince with a drawn art the looks pulled directly from a fairy tale. Which was the point and the focal point of the games. The Great Hero is great to look at beautifully hand drawn location and nice details such as the character expressions and the dragon king hiding in the background for those supposed solo missions mentioned earlier. To go with the terrific scenery there is always supporting music that matches the scene wonderfully.
With The Cruel King's book like art style, simple menus, only one partner at a time and the fact that it is a turn based RPG, many RPG fans may think of Paper Mario to compare it to. Although that is true aesthetically unfortunately The Cruel King comes up short in gameplay. Combat starts out simple with different options like attack, special, items, guard, or run unfortunately after the tutorial nothing changes. You will get different partners who fight differently but the old thing that will be different between the 1st enemy and the last boss will be your stats and the amount of specials you have. That isn't to say the gameplay isn't fun just repetitive like most RPG's. Although this could be a personal bias as I find myself just finish the story by the end of about 80% of turn based games.
One interesting feature is that while traveling if you end of in areas with weak enemies Yuu can run. This is done automatically and while running Yuu is less likely to get in an encounter. This is an interesting mechanic at 1st but quickly makes dungeons seem unnecessarily long. Being the hero that Yuu is there are plenty of side quests labeled as acts of kindness. These are usually easy to do since the map doesn't have to many branching paths. Both Yuu and her partner get a weapon, armor, and two equipment slots with weapons and armor being exclusive to the character. Howlongtobeat.com clocks this game at 15 hours and that is about as long as I took.
The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a fun little RPG with a good story and nice visuals. Like its predecessor it does a great job of maintaining that fairy tale story feeling. It sports a decent battle system that never real changes or expands and some unique mechanics that don't actually work favorably for it. Not being a very long game some RPG fans may not feel like they get their money's worth but it is better to be shorter rather than out staying it's welcome. So I give The Great Hero a 3.5/5. Fun and nice to look at but doesn't do anything that stands out as very unique.
Community review by scorch3earth (September 14, 2022)
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