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Jinshin Review

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KEMCO are back with another retro styled JRPG, and all is well with the world again. After the last game of theirs, METRO QUESTER, decided to deviate from the usual by not being a JRPG, it is somewhat refreshing to see them going back to their wheelhouse. 

I have to be honest, I am running out of ways to write these introductory sentences for these types of games, having reviewed more than thirty of the finest from KEMCO now, but the basic facts are always the same – this is a retro styled JRPG, and while the setting is somewhat different this time around, being almost set in Feudal Japan, the rest of the game is likely to cause as much deja vu as anything else. So, let’s go to the land of Asuka and see what is threatening the world this time…

jinshin review 1
Usual KEMCO stuff, eh?

We’ll start by looking at the presentation of Jinshin and, frankly, there is nothing new here. The characters that we control are all designed in an anime kind of style, all big eyes and tiny noses, odd coloured and wackily styled hair. From there, things are split into two halves, both for presentation and for gameplay, as is usual. There is an overworld map, where our team can wander around and go to the next objective, and then there is the screen when we are either in towns or in dungeons; if one can call a mountain or a forest a dungeon. 

The style of the graphics, and even of the music that plays throughout Jinshin, is very reminiscent of the Japanese feudal era, and certainly helps to set the scene. However, the usual tropes of these games apply as always, whooshing of the spells, thwacks of physical attacks and so on, and while this isn’t going to set the world on fire, it is perfectly acceptable and does nothing overly wrong. The only thing that bugs me with these games (and not just this one, most of the KEMCO games) is that the same old enemies appear again and again, just with a different colour palette applied; it does feel a little bit lazy. 

But it is in the story in which a game like Jinshin can be seen as a success or failure and here the story is better. I have to just pause at this moment and pay tribute to the story writers over at KEMCO, as I have no idea how they can keep coming up with the tales that they throw out. 

jinshin review 2
A great way to get into KEMCO

Anyway, back to the review, and in Jinshin we play the part of a young man called Mikazuchi, who, in a completely unheard twist, has lost his memory. He is troubled by dreams of a young girl asking for his help, and then his master is kidnapped by the big baddy of the game. In order to get him back, Mikazuchi joins forces with the Amaterasu Clan, a group of mercenaries who do their best to do good deeds in an increasingly evil world. 

It’s lucky then that Mikazuchi turns out to have a talent for being a tactician, and so he is put in charge of tactics and planning for the group. From there, we are set on a collision course with the prime bad guy, and so the game is afoot. Through a series of events that I won’t go into, we have to save the world (again). Did you expect anything different? 

If you’ve played any KEMCO game previously, the exploration found in Jinshin is very much the same, but just for a change, the usual imprecision in the controls is completely absent. As a result, actually walking about is possible. This is a good thing, as not only are there the traditional spiky floor traps, but there are also puzzles that require us to move boulders around and slide boxes to precise locations, and this really helps a lot. It must be coming to something when you have to make a point of mentioning that something works as it should, isn’t it?

Anyway, the rest of the systems are pretty much the same as most other KEMCO games. There are a couple of exceptions however, with two things that I haven’t seen in any previous games. The first is during the combat screen, where a new mechanic allows you to alter the formation of your party on the fly. You can change formation at any time, and doing this in response to the enemies doing so can give you an advantage. I’m a big fan of a formation called Sword, and this gives us all a damage reduction (incoming) of 20% and also increases our outgoing attack by 5%. Unless, that is, the enemy formation is in a Bow configuration, in which case the effects are doubled. Choosing the right formation can have a big effect on some of the fights, and this is an interesting addition. 

jinshin review 3
Will you win out?

The other new feature is the ability to develop your home village, at least once you get beyond a certain point in the game. You can issue commands that help your village to grow, and this growth comes with other rewards, such as new recipes for the crafting system and so on. The crafting system is also pretty interesting, allowing you to either create new weapons or armour from materials lying around. You can also use upgrade stones to, believe it or not, upgrade your weapons and armour. Other than these features, Jinshin could be pretty much any other KEMCO game. In fact, there is a standing joke in my house when I have to review one of these games where both my wife and son mention that I’m playing “Another Asdivine game” as they cannot tell the difference between them. 

All in all, Jinshin does enough to be worthy of a recommendation. The setting is good, the story keeps you guessing, and the new features that it brings in are interesting enough. If you like a JRPG, then Jinshin is an easy sell, but if you are looking for a way into the KEMCO universe, this is as good a place as any to start.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Good story
  • Setting is interesting
  • New features are intriguing
Cons:
  • Very strong feeling of deja vu
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, KEMCO
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 22 December 2023 | £12.49
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Good story</li> <li>Setting is interesting</li> <li>New features are intriguing</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Very strong feeling of deja vu</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, KEMCO</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 22 December 2023 | £12.49</li> </ul>Jinshin Review
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