Ray Gigant is an anime-styled, first-person dungeon crawler which has superb art and addictive gameplay and although I have some issues with it, it’s possibly the best game in the genre that I’ve played.
Ray Gigant revolves around humanity fighting for survival against the fearsome and grand Gigants who’ve ravaged the world and murdered many people in it. Military forces have done their best in trying to fight the Gigants away but have not been successful, and it’s only until Ichiya Amakaze, a teenager, defeats one that people start to gain hope that the Gigants can be truly beaten. Amakaze won the battle with the power of the mysterious Yorigami but whilst he took to battle in the hopes of defending his home and city, he ends up losing control of his power and destroys them himself. Losing consciousness, he’s taken away to a safe location to work with others who are compatible with Yorigami in the hopes that together, they’re able to put an end to the Gigants for good. Whilst you start off with Amakaze and much of the story revolves around him, new plot lines and characters are introduced during the course of the game, and the characters are colourful, charismatic and get you to empathise with their situation in only being young, but having to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. The story is better than many others in the genre, and it makes for a great experience.
The gameplay did a lot to keep me hooked with it’s turn-based battles and massive, monstrous boss battles. Dungeon-crawling happens in first-person where enemies appear as skulls – their colour indicates how strong they are with red being strong, yellow being normal and blue being weak – and you step onto the square they’re occupying to initiate battle. Otherwise most of your dungeon time is spent searching for the areas Gigant, finding items to level up your characters stats or grinding. Thankfully the repetition is staved off due to the sheer excitement of battling gigants and the enjoyable conversation between characters, and it’s not unusual to not realise how much time you’ve spend examining the same locales again and again.
In battle, you have 100 action points which deplete with any action you take (bar waiting, which quickly refills them), and with 3 characters in your party with 5 chances to attack each turn, you can find yourself doing up to 15 things per turn which range from physically attacking, using magic, healing, guarding and buffing or debuffing. At first you can only equip 3 abilities to each character, but you unlock the option to have several different sets of attacks which you can freely switch between in battle. The leader of each party can access SBM once the counter is at either 50 or 100, with the number depending on whether it’s a short or long SBM, which sees them turn into a different form with the help of their Aragami. When you’ve triggered SBM, you’re taken to a rhythm mini-game where you use which attack you want in time with the buttons overlapping with their targets, and stringing together a combo allows you to inflict more damage. It’s good fun and the music is great, plus with the damage you become capable of doing you’ll quickly become familiar with it.
Another thing you’ll want to watch out for is Parasitism. As you may have guessed, this works like a parasite where once it’s been activated naturally through battle, you start to use health instead of AP to attack. You can use 30 SP to dispel it but if you can manage to win the battle before you fall in battle, you can win and it’ll be removed until the next time. It takes 10 turns to trigger so it happens rather often, so it’s best to find a weak enemy to reset it and to not jump into a boss battle if you’re about to trigger Parasitism. Ray Gigant can be quite challenging at times but as long as you play it safe, you should be able to get through without too much trouble.
Before I got to play Ray Gigant, it was the visuals that really appealed to me. Brimming with anime-influenced art and beautifully fluid, Ray Gigant is an absolutely gorgeous game. The 3D designed dungeons have art and visuals that may not be as detailed, clean and breathtaking as the character portraits which are simply fantastic. The art, and excuse me if you don’t understand the reference, reminds me of Studio Trigger’s Little Witch Academia movies which boasts brilliant art. It would’ve been nice for more animation during the attacks as once you’ve chosen what to do, it zooms in and the attacks do as expected but you don’t see the characters perform them. Other than that, character design and colour is outstanding, the enemies and CG screens are equally as brilliant and Ray Gigant could potentially be one of the most pretty games of 2016 and on the Vita.
Ray Gigant has no English Dub but the Japanese voice-over is thankfully energetic and lively, giving life to the bewitching cast and their charming personalities. Going into Ray Gigant I expected a soundtrack that boasted a series of rock tracks and found myself pleasantly surprised when it is mostly jazzy, upbeat and incredibly catchy – I have the SBM theme stuck in my head right now! Composer Naoaki Jimbo has a new fan in me, and it’s just now that I’m realising that they’ve also worked on Demon Gaze which boasted some spectacular tunes too. Ray Gigant has a captivating OST which exceeded expectations, and I’d love to own the OST.
Ray Gigant is a game that’s impressed me far more than I thought it would as it’s a game in a genre that I’m not particularly fond of, but there’s a perfect balance between gameplay, story and character interaction that greatly appeals to me and kept pulling me in for more. Boss battles are thrilling, the visuals are stunning and the music is amazing, and Ray Gigant is a game that I’d recommend to any Vita owner looking for an RPG or an all-around good game. I’m very happy that Acttil brought Ray Gigant to the West because this game deserves to find its way to more people, so I hope you give it a go.