Review by DDT213

Reviewed: 12/02/08

In this game, we solve the mysteries that happened in a small village...NOT! Let's have some mindless fun!!

Introduction: Higurashi Daybreak Portable is a direct port from the PC versions, Higurashi Daybreak / Higurashi Daybreak Kai, which features 2 vs 2 actions that anybody can just pick up right away with ease.

The origin of this game, '' Higurashi no Naku Koro ni '', is actually a Japanese sound novel, later on animated, that focuses on mysterious events that occur in a small village where the protagonists and their friends live in.

As mentioned above, Higurashi Daybreak is a fast-paced 2 vs 2 action game that has very little to no relations to the original novel other than the characters and their backgrounds. The main storyline here revolves around a pair of Yin-Yang symbol-shaped jade seals, one red, the other white. It is said that whoever holding the red seal will instantly fall in love with the possessor of the white seal. The members of this after-school club, which consists of most of the Higurashi main cast, form several tag teams of 2 to fight over the possession of the seals. So the story begins.

Gameplay - 7/10

The gameplay itself is pretty straightforward. There's a '' battle gauge '' in the form of a balloon on each team. Upon defeating your opponent, their balloon fills up a bit, 20% and up each time to be exact, and eventually explodes when it hits the limit. Your goal would be to defeat your opponents as many times as what it takes, and blows up their balloon before they do yours. Simple as that.

The control of this game is rather complicated at first, but smooth. You could walk around, dash on the ground or in the air, step by inputting any direction key twice, or float by holding down the jump button. Combat-wise, you have a range attack, a powerful '' charge attack '', an even more devastating '' FULL charge attack '', and all sorts of different melee attacks to mix up your game with. Once you get used to how the control goes, I see no problems at this department. Very well done.

Adding a rather strategical element to the game is the '' Awakening '' system. Each player has a bar that fills up as you take or deal damage during the match. When it's full, you can unleash it and power yourself up with all kinds of additional abilities ranging from extra attacks to the privilege of revival upon getting knocked out. It could very well turn the tide of a battle when used right.

As pleasant as the control feels, the tracking and hitbox in Higurashi Daybreak, while not game-destroying, can be somewhat awkward. Attacks sometimes go right through the target without making any contact, or just do not track at all when they're supposed to. This is one major drawback of the game, and certainly takes some getting used to.

Also, I don't know if it was a programming miss or they just didn't think of it. You CANNOT get out of a match by using the Start button. This proves to be inconvenient when you just want to test the water with a character or accidentally make a mistake in the settings and want to go back. Again, nothing too serious, just annoying.

Graphics - 5/10

The graphics is mediocre. Presentable, but leaves a little to be desired considering what PSP can do. Characters look a bit blocky, so to speak, and the background of some maps are not rendered very well either. You can easily tell when you're close to a building or a wall. However, the character portraits in the menu and the FMVs both turn out to be pretty decent looking. Overall, it's not the best out there, but it's not too hard on the eyes either.

Sound - 8/10

One thing I love about this game is the BGM. They're all very upbeat and fit the gameplay very well. The voice acting also meets my expectations. It definitely adds a nice touch to the whole brawl theme. A minor flaw I found out during the gameplay or dialogues is that sometimes you can hear '' static '' when explosions occur, or when someone's making a large noise...etc. Other than that, it's pretty good in general.

Replay value - 8/10

There's only 11 teams in the story mode, which means there's only 11 endings to be seen. Once you complete those, you won't get anything more story-wise. However, there's also a tons of unlockables such as unique weapons, costumes, and character portraits you can buy from the store using the points you earn from completing a match. It's great for those who like to collect things you can show for in the game.

Last but not least, since this is a 2 vs 2 brawl game, it is MEANT to be played with your buddies. Thanks to PSP's ad hoc option and Xlink Kai, you can do just that. The great thing about Higurashi Daybreak is, it literally has NO lag through ad hoc mode. At all. None whatsoever. It's so much smoother compared to the other 2 vs 2 titles on PSP such as Rengou vs ZAFT and Gundam vs Gundam. And we all know how slowdowns can ruin an action game where a split second can make a world of differences (speaking from 5 years of RvZ arcading experience). Well, you don't have to worry about that here. In short, this game's replayability lies within PvP, and it certainly does the job very well.

Overall, I'd strongly recommend this game to all the VS series and/or brawl lovers. It's definitely a keeper. Though if you're looking for something with an in-depth story with thorough character developments (why would you for a brawl game anyway?) that has something to do with Higurashi's original story, go for other Higurashi doujin games instead.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Higurashi Daybreak Portable (JP, 11/27/08)

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