I still don’t like trying demos and didn’t even consider trying the Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars Demo, but a combination of some discussions about the fanservice elements of this game and a high from the Bravely Default Demo I became curious enough to look into this.
Before I talk abut the demo, let me talk about the basic premise of Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars – in this game’s world, monsters have appeared and only special people who have the “mark of the Star God” can fight these monsters. Not only do you play the role of a character with the ability to fight against these monsters, but you also have the ability to create Star Children by partnering with females who also have the “mark of the Star God” (called Heroines) through a process called “classmating”.
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars is an RPG that combines aspects of a dungeon crawler with dating sim elements. You have several Heroines with whom you can interact with, and during key points in your conversations, you will be given the chance to choose between three responses. Bonding with the Heroine will depend on how you respond, and this somehow influences how much BP you earn, which you’ll need in battle. The Demo shows you a glimpse of this, with three Heroines available to interact with, but you can only interact with two Heroines per playthrough.
Once you’re done with that, you get to go through “classmating”, which is probably what caused this game to get an M rating. “Classmating” doesn’t involve actual mating, but the game really goes out of its way with its sexual allusions – the available Heroines are embarrassed prior to the ritual and are quite exhausted after, and the act itself involves the Heroine’s nude energy form (think Sailor Moon transformations, or Alpha-152 from Dead or Alive games) stretching out in sexual poses while someone sings “touch my heart, I want to make love to you” in the background.
After classmating, you immediately have a new Star Child and you get to choose it’s class (there are four available in the demo) and name. This new Star Child becomes available for you to select in your party. Your party is composed of yourself, a Heroine of your choice, and three teams of three Star Children each. After that, the dungeon crawling aspect of the game kicks in as you set out to battle the monsters.
Dungeons in Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars appear to be randomly-generated, and filled with monsters which appear in plain sight (no random encounters). To initiate a battle, you have to run into a monster (or a monster has to run into you).
And this is where Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars shines – the battle system takes a new approach to the usual RPG style of turn-based combat by incorporating positions into the strategy. It’s a little hard to explain, but let me try – imagine a grid representing the battle area. Monsters occupy the squares in the grid, while your teams occupy the lines in the grid. So, you can actually surround a monster by placing a team on each of the four lines of it’s square. Your attacks vary depending on where you attack from – either behind, in front of, or to the side of the monster. And that’s where strategy comes into play – do you gang up on one monster and attack it from all sides, or do you split your teams and attack different monsters from behind?
There are other elements in the battle system, such as chain combos and the use of special attacks, but the way Conception II utilizes positions strategically is the most noticeable aspect. The Demo has three dungeon floors filled with different monsters to battle to your heart’s content so you can get a feel of the nuances of the battle system and test out the different Star Child classes.
I didn’t like the Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars Demo that much. I think that Conception II has three selling points: (1) the dating sim aspect, (2) the ability to customize your party with different Star Children, and (3) the innovative battle system. In terms of the dating sim aspect, the Demo only lets you have two conversations per playthrough so you don’t get to see how your choices during conversations impacts the resulting bond or the resulting gameplay. You get to spawn one Star Child, but the rest of your party is pre-determined so you don’t get to play around with Star Children combinations. You do get the chance to battle a lot, but the Demo doesn’t allow you to save your game until after you’ve beaten the playable dungeon, so it’s not something that you can just pick up and stop.
If it were up to me, I would’ve: (1) set up the Demo to spawn three Star Children so that players have the opportunity to test different party combinations, (2) continued the Demo past the first dungeon and let the player get back to town so that he can have additional interactions with the Heroines and (3) allow the player to save at any point in the Demo, instead of only at the very end.
The Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars Demo does succeed in showing off the production values of the actual game, and it looks and sounds really good. The battle system does seem promising, and I did consider getting a copy of the game when it came out, but it didn’t really convince me the way the Bravely Default Demo did. There’s really nothing to lose here, the Demo is free to try so if you’re into RPGs and have a 3DS, you should download the demo and give it a shot.