Also On: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Medium: Digital/Vita Card
On some level, Conception II isn’t that weird. It’s a dungeon-crawling RPG with turn-based combat. You fight monsters with a party, and like most games of with party- and turn-based fights, you need to optimize your team’s structure. On top of that, you’re playing as a student, and a key part of the game is navigating your high school’s social scene. In other words, if you look at it in just the right light, it’s kind of Persona-y.
If you look at it in any other way, however, it’s pretty freaking weird. See, you’re not just trying to navigate your high school’s social scene, you’re trying to build up your relationships with your female classmates so you can get with them. Like, in the pants, all sexy-like. There’s even a specific term for it: classmating. And it’s not just some side aspect of the game, either: the babies — sorry, the “Star Children” — that result from your getting it on fight monsters alongside you. You’re playing as someone who’s quite literally “God’s Gift” (that’s seriously what your character’s rank is), and your ability to make babies is so amazing, it’s your duty to classmate as often as possible. And when you classmate, your kinda-nude bodies swirl around on the screen, the only thing keeping the game from going above an M rating being that neither the pink girl or the blue boy display any genitals. Once it’s all over, your female partner looks all flushed and out of breath, and she briefly talks about how wonderful it was.
Oh, and just to make you feel little bit creepier for playing, all characters in this game — or, at least, all the characters making babies — are between 16 and 18 years of age.
In other words, Conception II isn’t a game for the prudish or the easily offended. To it’s credit, though, it doesn’t try and shy away from its sleaziness. Right in the game’s first scene, you have an elderly priest mentioning how busty all the new female students seem to be. Girls have conversations about their breasts. Every time a female classmate comes onscreen during a dialogue, her chest always jiggles. And, of course, there’s all that stuff I mentioned just a few sentences ago. There are storylines and plots and character development and whatnot, but at it’s core, Conception II is exactly what it looks like: a high school sim where you make babies and fight through monster-infested dungeons.
Of course, critics might say that the game prioritizes things in that order — that the dungeon-crawling is secondary to the baby-making. And there’s probably some validity to that criticism, too. The monsters vary a little, particularly when it comes to the bosses, but to get to those bosses you mostly fight your way through the same monsters over and over again. There’s something novel about seeing babies fighting demon horses and flying imps and such, but at the same time, it can feel a little heavy on the grinding after you’ve been doing it awhile.
I think, though, that criticizing the combat too much is missing the point. It’s an integral part of the game for sure, but considering how much effort gets put into that compared to how much time is devoted to interacting — and “interacting”, wink wink nudge nudge — with your fellow students, it’s clear what Spike Chunsoft want to be the focus of their game. That may make Conception II one of the weirder (and arguably creepier) games to come out in quite some time, but anyone looking for an RPG with a unique personality need look no further.