Xblaze Lost: Memories review for PS Vita, PS3

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS3
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works
Medium: Digital/Vita Card/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Xblaze Lost: Memories may just be the most niche game I’ve ever played. It’s a sequel to Xblaze Code: Embryo, which itself was a spin-off from the Blazblue fighting game universe. Except…it’s not a sequel, so much as it’s a retelling of the events of the first game, only with a little more detail. In other words, it’s a game specifically for people who not only love BlazBlue so much that they just must know its origins, but who also didn’t feel those origins were told in sufficient detail the first time around and are desperate for even more information.

I’m not sure there’s anything in my life — game-related or otherwise — that I’m quite that obsessed with.

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I know that I certainly didn’t leave Xblaze Code: Embryo feeling like I had to know more. One time was more than enough, in fact. It was a neat little curio, sure, and I liked how it was basically a branching Choose Your Own Adventure story in video game form, but I can’t say that I was staying up at night, agonizing over some loose plot threads. The existence of Xblaze Lost: Memories, however, would seem to suggest that my experience was a bit of an anomaly, and that there were a sufficient number of people out there who wanted to know more to warrant this game’s release and localization.

Will they be satisfied with this? I honestly have no idea. From the perspective of someone who questions why the game exists in the first place, though, I can’t say I get it. In fact, Xblaze Lost: Memories actually kind of annoys me, since not only does it retell Code: Embryo in extreme detail, it does so at the expense of a frame story that seems to be a whole lot more interesting. Lost: Memories takes an easy-to-understand story about a girl trying to get her sister back and mucks it up with…well, literally everything that happened in Code: Embryo, and then some.

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Not only that, it throws in all kinds of extra interactivity, as it to bury the interesting plot even further. On the one hand, I do appreciate that they expanded the gameplay beyond “Press X to continue”, since that was kind of dull. On the other hand, the way they do so is by introducing the concept of Memory Fragments (which aren’t that difficult to find and collect) and pop quizzes on the story so far (which are never all that difficult, since you have an infinite number of opportunities to retake the tests every time you get a question wrong). The latter seems to be there for the sole purpose of padding the game’s length, while the former exists in an odd place: it’s mandatory to pick them all up, but not mandatory to watch them. I did, of course, since they’re kind of the point of the game, but it’s a little bizarre to think that anyone would pick this game up unless they really wanted to know the full Code: Embryo story.

Because seriously, I can’t think of why anyone else would want to pick up Xblaze Lost: Memories. It’s for extraordinarily dedicated Xblaze Code: Embryo fans only — and I don’t think I could possibly emphasize that “only” enough, because if that phrase doesn’t describe you, you’d be better off picking up literally any other game in existence.

Grade: C+