Tappei Nagatsuki and Shinichirou Otsuka’s Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- is one of the biggest “another world” franchises in recent memory. Not only did the original light novels find their success, but the franchise has exploded into a completely new realm of popularity with the debut of the anime adaptation. The first season of the anime was one of the most well-received first outings of the last decade, and the second season is just hitting its stride. But those aren’t the only new releases to come from the franchise, however, as now it is set to launch its first console gaming effort outside of Japan.
Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne is a tactical adventure game that tells its story through visual novel elements (with both Japanese and English dub language tracks when it launches) featuring art from the original light novel series illustrator. But rather than having still profile images for each character, there’s a bouncy, slightly animated nature to them to keep the text fresh and intriguing.
The story itself is kept fresh, too. The Prophecy of the Throne is a completely new narrative set within the universe approved and supervised by the original light novel series author. You don’t need to be completely caught up with the two-season anime to enjoy it, but you do need some semblance of prior knowledge going in, as it’s set within the events in the middle of the anime’s first season.
Taking place one month after being brought to another world and realizing he’ll come back to life whenever he dies, protagonist Subaru Natsuki finds himself getting ready for the royal selection, an event in which Emilia will participate in to decide the next ruler of the Lungenica kingdom. But while the original series had five candidates vowing for the throne, The Prophecy of the Throne throws a wrench into things by introducing a sixth candidate. Now Subaru has to investigate which of the candidates is an impostor and keep all of his friends safe from the mysterious Witch’s Cult.
In between the visual-novel storytelling are the in-game “battles” that place you and your opponents within a 3D space. In these special missions, you take control of Subaru as you interact with various pieces on a map. Taking turns between you and the enemies, each battle has a different objective, such as Subaru finding the right weapon for a counterattack or moving obstacles in the way of the opponent to protect a third party.
These battles are not as action-based as one might think as the overall movement throughout the 3D spaces can be stiff and limiting. Although there are cute makeovers for each of the characters in this mode, sometimes it can feel a bit counterintuitive when you can’t make it past a character to get to an objective in time. Making matters stickier is the lack of overall options for differing tactics in each mission. Although Subaru learns from his time loops in the story, it doesn’t seem to directly impact the actual mission gameplay itself.
Subaru’s Return By Death does factor into the overall progression of the story, however, but it gets a little bumpy in its execution. Much like the light novels and anime, death brings you back in time to an earlier point in the story. It’s not like the game resets itself, as each of these loops is laid out in a straight line graph as you play, but re-experiencing certain events can be a bit tough sometimes if you’re not fully invested.
There is a lot of nuance in the smaller differences each of these conversations has due to Subaru trying to change his tactics with each death, but you have to be 100% committed and invested to seeing this adventure through to really push ahead. Otherwise, these conversations can run the risk of being redundant. That’s why The Prophecy of the Throne is a must-play for fans of the franchise but not necessarily for everyone else.
Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne is a fun way to jump into the franchise for those who want more after seeing the anime and reading through the light novel releases. It has a fun mystery exploring a topic the anime itself hasn’t really dived into, and new characters that fit right into the universe. It’s just better suited to those already a little invested in Subaru’s journey and know the time travel shenanigans this story can pull off.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne releases January 29th in North America and February 5th in Europe for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Steam. A PS4 review code was provided by the publisher, and it was reviewed on a base model PS4.