Like typical academies filled with teenagers, Conception II's National Star God Academy exists for the sole purpose to train disciples to kill the monsters that plague the world. Being a disciple occurs when one day your discover the mark of the Star God upon your hand; at this point you are destined to fight the creatures that come out of Dusk Circles. Our protagonist, Wake (by default), becomes a disciple after his sister is horribly murdered by such a creature, and he now lives for the purpose of revenge.
The one little catch here is that Wake ends up being God’s Gift (G.G.). This means he has a 100% chance to create Star Children with S Rank Disciples due to some mad ether inside him. Star Children are like your own person Children’s Crusade army. They aren’t human, but they still call you dad and sometimes creep the hell out of you. You can also grant them independence, which allows them to become citizens of the city, open shops, and form guilds.
As someone who’s never played a Conception title or really knew what he was getting into, I have all sorts of mixed feelings about this game. Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars is a single-player hybrid dungeon crawler and dating sim. For the record, I played it on 3DS and completed it. Due to the mere fact that I put a Dirty Dancing (1987) reference in the title, I’m going to continue this theme with quotes in my breakdown. Why? No reason other than my own sick entertainment.
- Penny: Oh, come on, ladies. God wouldn't have given you maracas if He didn't want you to shake 'em.
As Wake, you learn that you’re God’s Gift at the start of the game. This makes Wake an instant celebrity and big deal at the academy. His ether rate is way higher than the average man, so he sort of starts a harem with S Rank female disciples to create Star Children to battle monsters. He has to keep the ladies happy by visiting them, giving them gifts, choosing the correct dialogue options, and taking them on missions. If their mood is up, they’ll make better Star Children. As you progress in the game, their bond potentially increases. This is the dating sim portion of the game.
There are a total of seven women in the game you can interact with, hence the title. Each has a different personality and on-going story which progresses through the game, and each one is completely unique from the others. The progression of the Seven Stories was my favorite part of this game and easily the most interesting aspect of it.
Although the overall plot was a bit bland and highly predictable, the writing for the women’s stories was very engaging. The seven women are either in love with your from the start, become so very quickly, or hide the fact that they are without you really deserving it. The game does a good job at making the less interesting stories better if you continue to give them a chance. This gets you right back in it.
With that said, how the game handles the dating sim portion was lacking. My largest issue was the lack of time sensitivity. While you can only visit three women each time you're back in town, you can just rest and visit three more infinitely. There is no penalty in doing so. If you want, you can do all the dating sim aspects up to where each woman is maxed, then do the dungeon section, then go back to the women. Unless you pick the obviously bad conversation choices, there is nothing stopping you from easily maxing every woman’s meter. The fact that you can save and load your game at any time only adds to this.
Lastly, once you finish that character’s story, you can KEEP visiting them and repeat scenarios that you’ve already done with them, which gets their affection rate even higher if somehow you didn’t max it out already. This takes the urgency and precision out of the dialogue choices, since you can do it infinitely until you get your desired results. What I’m getting at here is that there is really no way you can mess up the dating sim portion of the game. It’s far too easy.
- Baby: Have you had many women?
- Johnny: What?
- Baby: Have you *had* many women?
- Johnny: Baby, come on.
- Baby: Tell me. I wanna know.
The Star Children are where most of the RPG elements come from. Each woman is associated with a different element and has different stats. Your Star Children need certain stats to be certain classes. Especially in the early game, you need to ‘Classmate’ with the right woman to try to get the class you want your child to be. Supposedly the classmating ritual just involves touching hands, but the clip that plays after suggests otherwise. Later in the game, some of the women start thinking of more ostentatious things to do during the ritual. Classmating is done in a church.
Your Star Children will bond and level faster if you take their mother into the labyrinth with you. Each class has different abilities and are stronger if combined with other classes. You can take a total of nine Star Children into dungeons: three groups of three; eleven total characters at once with Wake and a Heroine. Each child has its own equipment and max level depending on the level of Wake and the Woman he classmated with. Sometimes you can get twins, and other times you get a kid that can reach level 99 – keep those.
- Max: I want you girls to know if it were not for this man, I'd be standing here dead.
Of all the aspects of this game, I disliked the dungeon crawling the most. Battles are long, numerous, and extremely repetitive. With no random battles, you can dodge the majority of monsters if you wish, but then you don’t get experience. There are a bunch of elaborate attacks and techniques to perform, but most the time they're completely unnecessary.
The saving grace of the dungeon system is auto-battle and fast-forward. I’m pretty sure that’s not a good thing. Most of my experience with this game was loading up a labyrinth, running into monsters, and putting the 3DS down on the counter until the fight was over. If my units needed healing, I’d fix that. Otherwise I’d explore and run into the next monster.
This system is completely unengaging. Sure I could do all the battles myself, but the game would take FOREVER if I did that. The way I did it STILL took my 43 hours to complete. There was some downtime, but that was with 98% of the game on auto-pilot. Even with fast-forward on, the fights still got really lengthy towards the end. The dungeons get a real tedious crawl aspect to them that made me want to try to dodge all the foes towards the end.
The last few dungeon bosses were the only point where the game started to get challenging. There is a consumable called “Multi-Potion” that completely breaks combat. They're expensive, but I had 50+ of them since you can just buy them from the store. On use, they basically full heal all of your eleven troops. The end boss of the game was difficult until I realized this. So yeah, if you’re playing, and are having any sort of difficulty – Muti-Potion FTW.
- Johnny: I'll never be sorry.
- Baby: Neither will I.
There you have it. Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars has some great stories and an interesting class system. I wasn’t fond of the dating sim execution or the dungeon crawling. With ALL of that said though, I put 40+ hours into this game and found myself playing it constantly. I can say unflattering things about the plot, but I wanted to know how the game was going to end – that was my drive.
I didn’t come across too much challenge in my playthrough and you can always grind if things do get hard. There is also a ‘New Game +’ option where you can start in the last chapter or from the start with all your levels and most your gear. So in conclusion: talk to ladies, create bonds, breed an army, grind dungeons, populate the local city with your children, get your revenge, Dirty Dancing, win.
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ