Written by Twisted Ideas
It’s not every day that you get to play the Vice President of Earth but in Citizens of Earth you get to live out this dream. This Earthbound inspired RPG is a politically satirical experience that has the Vice President solve the people’s problem with only a lot of violence. Does he have your vote?
Citizens of Earth
Developer: Eden Industries
Publisher: ATLUS U.S.A.
Platforms: 3DS, PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Steam, Wii U
What is it?
Citizens of Earth is a turn based RPG that is reminiscent of the Earthbound/Mother series in gameplay, humor and strangeness. You are the Vice President of Earth who he and the President have just been elected into office the previous day. Already there is an uproar which leads the Vice President to rally his family and supporters to fight off protestors, secret service agents and walking coffee machines.
How does it play?
Even though you are the Vice President and lead a party of three into battle, he doesn’t engage with battle himself. Enemies appear on-screen and when in contact it will initiate a battle with the enemy and any others nearby. You party will have various attacks and abilities, several with various effects. Characters also have their own energy units which is used for their stronger attacks and support abilities. Abilities indicated with a blue up arrow will replenish energy and those indicated with a red down arrow uses energy. Consumable items can be used to restore energy too. Unique equipment can also be found throughout the game or dropped by enemies.
Outside of battles you can see enemies on the screen before hand. You can avoid combat but you can also send you party to rush into an enemy. If you encounter enemies from behind you will gain a free energy unit at the start of the battle and lose one if you’re caught from behind. If your party is strong enough enemies will begin to avoid you. If your party rushes the enemy during this state then the enemy will be defeated before the battle starts.
There are forty party members you can recruit throughout the game. Most characters require you to complete a side quest before you can recruit them which often can’t be completed until later into the game. Each character has unique traits, some of which can be leveled up. Some of these traits can be used to you advantage such as having stores sell more items or interacting to areas of the game that you couldn’t do otherwise.
How does it look?
The game has an American cartoon style and uses lots of bright and vivid colors. The game’s bizarre tone is also reflected in the character and enemy design as you can fight talking political eagles and sentient coffee machines.
How does it sound?
Most characters besides the Vice President don’t have a voice during the story cut scenes because you party is never fixed after a certain point. However each party member does have a voice that is used during battles.
What do I think?
Citizens of Earth is a type of RPG that we don’t see too often. It’s very reminiscent of Earthbound in gameplay and even brings back some mechanics that haven’t been seen outside of that game. The game has a lot of political humor and the Vice President is your typical oven enthusiastic politician. It’s funny for a while but the joke eventually wares out.
I have had a lot of technical issues with the game. I don’t know if this is just a Vita issue but this game has crashed and softlocked on me several times and is pretty buggy in placed. The worst of all is the loading times. Every screen transition comes with a loading screen. They’re not long, about 5 seconds for small rooms and 7-12 seconds for big areas but they are really irritating after a while. This is a game that has a lot of exploration. When the loading screen looks like it’s having problems loading it’s even more frustrating to play with all the rooms and buildings to search.
I have not finished the game. I was going to sit down and push through the main chapters but after one of the numerous softlocks and crashes I accidentally over wrote my save file. The main menu defaults on new game and I relied on auto-saves exclusively. I wanted to see if I could return to the title screen from the menus but after the first scene the game auto-saved, erasing all of my progress. I could have avoided this but if the game didn’t keep crashing and testing my patience I wouldn’t have done this. I played the game from the beginning again and realized how slow the game is. Enemies are sometimes tough to avoid and you do need the experience. Even if you know where to go it’s still a slow-paced game. Recruiting characters and side missions are optional but the amount of experience gained by doing them is necessary, especially with how tough enemies can be in new areas and without level grinding.
My enthusiasm with this game has dwindled but I will eventually go through it. Even though it’s tedious this is a type of game that I enjoy.
Should you get it?
Citizens of Earth is a good game with a lot of technical problems holding it back. The stability issues my be resolved with patches but the amount of loading isn’t okay for something that shouldn’t need this much loading time. The game is fun if you like traditional RPGs with a lot of side quests and exploration. The loading screens will test your patience in this area though. If the game goes on sale for around $10 then it is something to consider if you’re curious; Otherwise there are more polished games worth your money.