Mana Khemia: Student Alliance

Review

posted 4/27/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
Unfortunately it's not just the terrible load screens that plague this game's narrative. As you play through the game you'll discover that the whole engine seems to sputter about as if it's in serious need of repair. When you are having a simple conversation the game will just stop for a few seconds to think, and then start back up. This also seems to happen when I'm just running around the incredibly cramped corridors. The game will just stop for a few minutes, as if it needs some time to catch up with the rest of the game. It also happens when you're jumping, moving from one room to another, entering battles, looking up the status in the menus and so on so forth. I'm never doing anything exciting, so, there's no reason for the game to feel so fragile. How is it possible that Rockstar Games can stream an entire Liberty City and Mana Khemia can't even fully load a single room?

And if the load times and constant disc access pause isn't annoying enough, the game also has terrible frame rate problems and, even worse, game breaking bugs. In all of the years that I have been playing PSP games, Mana Khemia was the first game to actually lock up on me. If the frustration of having the game break in front of your eyes wasn't bad enough, just wait until you realize that how long it has been since you last saved. The game gives you a place to save, but getting there can often be a hassle and wading through the load screens sucks.

There's more to the game that I haven't mentioned. I haven't complained yet about the horrendous graphics, a very odd combination of blown-up low res graphics and beautiful hand-drawn art. I haven't complained about the game's horrible voice acting (where everybody sounds about thirty years older than they should be). I haven't mentioned the cliche plot, which seems to chug along as a snail's pace. I haven't complained about how generic each and every enemy in this game is. Or how the game's big additions (such as a "jump start") is pointless and lame. I haven't mentioned any of these things because when it comes right down to it these things don't matter.

When your game is this difficulty to play and enjoy, it doesn't matter how great the graphics are. When you have to put up with a loading screen every few seconds, you aren't going to care how good the story is. When the game literally freezes on you, you aren't going to care if the voice acting was good. None of this matters because this game is practically unplayable in its current state. The fact that these problems also persist is annoying and lame, but it is not what breaks the game. It's just more reason for you to never, ever play Mana Khemia: Student Alliance.


D
The only reason you would have to buy Mana Khemia is if you are a huge fan of load screens and generic role-playing antics. Why buy this game when you can get the superior PlayStation 2 version for cheaper? Especially since this PSP game is virtually unplayable in its current state!


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