Soma Bringer is a JRPG game made by Monolith Soft, the makers of the Xeno series, for the DS. It is the first real time action JRPG created by Monolith Soft made. Compared to Xenoblade, this game is more linear in terms of story and in gameplay where you can’t really progress until you achieve a certain objective. The story is typical to a sci-fi JRPG and not as complex as Xeno series. It's set on a continent known as Barnea where mysterious “visitors” are attacking and you must save the planet from them.
You can play as one of eight different characters that’s part of a military team called Pharzuph Division 7 exploring dungeons. The game play is hack and slash based where your party members target and attack an enemy and you can form combos to deal high damage to enemies. If you keep on attacking, the enemies will be stunned and you are able to inflict even greater damage to them. Each of the characters has its own 6 classes that they specialize in with its own unique fighting style and abilities. A gunner for example would focus on long range attacks. You can also find orbs during your playthrough for weapons upgrated. Orbs can also be created by finding items during dungeon exploration.
As you complete dungeons, you unlock new areas of the world where you can ask for info, purchase equipment and items and take on quests. Dungeons get much larger and more complex as you progress through the game. You can also find waypoints in dungeons which can transport you from one area to another. You can also unlock a new character as soon as you finish the game. You can replay dungeons and also fight hidden powerful bosses in the game.
The controls were very straightforward and you can also change the buttons to make it fit your playstyle. The art direction and character designs look really great and the graphics look amazing with the mix of 2D and 3D backgrounds. Each dungeon had its own unique design. Matsuda Yatsunori’s music is one of the game’s highlights.
Whenever you move to a new area, health is automatically restored which is convenient to help you conserve health status. If you do die however, you and your party is respawned at the nearest town but you lose experience points when you die. You can earn experience points by defeating enemies or by finishing quests. With each level up, you can distribute points to character stats like strength or agility. Ability points are also given, which are allocated to skills related to different weapons and abilities such as spells and passive buffs and debuffs. These skills are maxed out at Level 20. There is a multiplayer feature of the game but since Nintendo’s wi-fi for DS is long gone, you're not able to play it.
It's pretty strange how gameplay isn’t paused when the item menu is selected.
Sadly, there aren’t any full storytime cutscenes or dramatic animations. The game is fairly long and text heavy like Xenogears. The interface takes some time getting used to.
The game hints at a sequel but sadly none has been made as of this writing.
It gets 5 out of 5 stars.
It would be really incredible to see this series on the Switch one day.