Okay it’s time to talk about Nexomon, a game that I picked up on a whim and it turned out to be way better than I was expecting. The story is absolutely epic and a nice change of pace after playing through Need for Speed (2015). In a lot of ways it’s sort of what you could picture Pokemon doing if they ever decided to make a story that was a little more Shonen like in nature. There are certainly a whole lot of twists in this one so by the end you know that you were in a huge RPG.
The game starts out by explaining that the Nexomon and Dragons were in a big war a long time ago. The humans didn’t fare too well in the crossfire but eventually a group did manage to destroy Omnicron, the king of the monsters. The world went into a state of relative peace afterwards but the Tyrants continue to spawn and while the humans do their best to fight, every day is a never ending battle. This can’t be how humanity was supposed to live. In comes Terry (You choose the main character’s name) and he aims to become a guild fighter who will climb up the ranks. Can he save this world?
One of the many reasons why the story is so good is because of all the factions here. You have the humans, the Nexomon, the higher Nexomon known as the Tyrants, the kids of Omnicron, the Dragons, etc. Everyone is mixed in here and the Earth can only take so many factions so naturally there is a lot of action all the time. The game also asks you a lot of moral questions as you have to wonder if you are on the right side at all. I would even go as far as to say the game hints you are on the wrong side for a good chunk of the second half and I would say yes.
Now you are technically presented as doing the right thing at least in as far as you’re seeing things from the main character’s point of view but at the same time you also know that the arguments made in favor of his side are usually used by the villains. Basically the heroes fear the birth of a new creature called Vados who will end up wiping out all Tyrants in the world. This is actually the goal of the heroes so that sounds good right? Well the issue is that Vados is so powerful that he can wipe out all Tyrants in the blink of an eye so if he ever turned rogue then the heroes would be in trouble. Sounds similar to how Lex Luthor views Superman eh? Think about it in that context and it makes everything very interesting.
The game also doesn’t take the easy way out by making Vados a mindless creature or one who is super evil. He is actually fully sentient and even says several times that he will not harm the humans. He just seems like a good guy and as the heroes keep pushing him farther and farther you wonder if he will be able to stay strong or not. The writing here is excellent in how the game never makes any side appear to be too deranged and both sides have a lot of good points throughout the adventure. Throw in some clever 4th wall breaks as well as a lot of witty dialogue and you’ve got yourself a very engaging script. This would make for a really solid anime all the way through if it ever got animated.
Now the gameplay is also important of course so lets get into that. It’s basically Pokemon as you fight in turn based combat battles and catch Nexomon to add to your collection. The type advantages are a little different so you will need to get used to that and the way you catch Nexomon is similar to catching Pokemon but still a bit different as you have to match the right actions on the screen in order to effectively throw the Nexotrap. You can also increase the odds of success by feeding Nexomon or using a specific type of trap. As you play through the game you also get a lot stronger thanks to passive items with permanent boosts like EXP going up by 3% or your catch rates going up. Each one stacks so you really want to open every treasure chest that you can find.
The gameplay is very smooth and is probably one of the better Pokemon homages that I’ve seen in a while. The hubworld is really solid and a nice feature here is that monster encounters only happen in specific patches of grass that you see ahead of time. So you don’t have to be constantly worrying about running away from monsters as you can safely avoid them almost 100% of the time. There are a few select areas like some caves where random encounters will happen but these are few and far between. You can expect that you won’t be seeing these very much at all. So you’ve got quite a few quality of life updates here.
One edge Pokemon does have though is the EXP share system. It feels so odd to go back to only leveling up one Nexomon at a time. I’m glad there is only a trophy for getting one of them to level 99 and not a bunch because that would be a lot of work. I got one of mine to around level 70 so I don’t think it’ll be too hard to get it to 99. You do have cores you can synthesize which allow other Nexomon to get at least some EXP per battle though. So if you grind and get enough materials then eventually you can make your own pseudo EXP share.
So yeah you should have a lot of fun with the gameplay. As more and more games turn to a real time action combat system, it can be fun to go back to the more retro turn based style sometimes. I’ll never turn down real time action of course but I also really like turn based. Why not both as they would say right? This one still has a whole lot of relevance within the video gaming world and as long as it’s done smoothly then it will always work out. At most you could say that one thing the game is lacking is that the opponent can switch Nexomon after one is defeated while you cannot. Feels like a bit of an unfair advantage in the game and considering that in Pokemon both trainers can do this, it felt like an odd change. I always thought the computer was basically cheating a bit tbh.
The difficulty can be a little high at times so you should know that you will be grinding at some points within the game. It is basically inevitable but at the same time you can really focus on one and not worry about the other. The game’s enemies scale up so as you level up, so does everyone else in the game. Wild Nexomon, trainers, etc. So just get one Nexomon really high up and then catch 5 others to make up a team of super powerful fighters. If you do that then you will already be in a good spot and will stay that way for the rest of the game. Also make sure you at least use some strategy because the final boss is actually really difficult and has more phases than your average RPG final boss. Now that was an impressive way to end the game and if I had skipped out on any training then I may have been in trouble.
Overall, Nexomon: Extinction is a great game that I definitely recommend. It had one of the best stories that I’ve seen in a while and the developers did a great job with a fairly low budget. There may not have been big animated cutscenes here but the illustrations were all very well done and so were the sprite based animations within the gameplay. They showed more creativity with these than I’ve seen some AAA titles use. You really felt like the world was alive by the end of the game and it nailed the mix of humor and action. This is the kind of game you can play for hours without worry because of how smooth everything is. Definitely check it out and hopefully they get that sequel in quick!