Natsuki Chronicles Review (PlayStation 4)

Natsuki Chronicles Review

New dramatic horizontal shoot ’em up that takes place in the same setting as Ginga Force. An immersive story that follows protagonist Natsuki. Discover the story of her past as a rookie pilot up to the present day with events that are parallel to those in Ginga Force.

Pros:

  • Decent Anime-style graphics.
  • 4.822GB download size.
  • Platinum trophy.
  • Shmup gameplay.
  • Japanese voice work.
  • In-game cutscenes.
  • Has a tutorial section.
  • Earn EXP and level up across both modes.
  • Works on Playstation 5.
  • Fast-paced.
  • Shields-regen when not shooting.
  • Two game modes- story and arcade.
  • Arcade mode-you have a set amount of lives and can pick up powerups as you play.
  • Online leaderboards.
  • Story mode-more like a Shmup RPG, you earn exp and level up, earn exp for playing the level and rank up to increase your shields (making it easier) and you earn cash to buy unlocked upgrades and ship parts.
  • Ship load out-primary weapon, secondary weapon, special weapon, body-color, and EX shields (health).
  • Game settings-speed shift mode, speed setting A, speed setting B, spawn marker display, bullet trajectory display, bullet deflection display, and bullet deflection sounds.
  • You can shoot forward or back, press both buttons together to change shot type but shoot both ways simultaneously.
  • The story mode plays out over a Timeline layout that allows you to replay levels and change the difficulty (easy/normal and hard).
  • Big end-of-level boss fights.
  • Arcade mode is how shmups typically play.
  • Arcade mode-earn extra starting credits based on your performance.
  • Unlock gun types in story mode by levelling up and then paying the research cost.
  • Each upgrade/new weapon has a video showing it in action.
  • Simple controls.
  • Keep any earned EXP in story mode even if you die and get game over.
  • Can shoot through structures.
  • Can tailor the game to your needs both by speed and notification alerts.
  • Very addictive.
  • Satisfying to play as every story mode level regardless of victory, propels you forward.
  • Can rebind controls.
  • Activity tracker-shows every run, every time you earned credits, or when you unlocked something new with a time and date stamp.
  • Can skip cutscenes.
  • Full level breakdown including total score, rank, kill count of each enemy type, and clear bonus.
  • Formation bonus-clear a formation of enemies for extra points.

Natsuki Chronicles Review

Cons:

  • Story mode is very difficult.
  • A lot of repetition is needed to level up your ships, guns etc.
  • Minimal control settings.
  • The first tutorial comes up after you play a level first.
  • Not Playstation 5 enhanced.
  • Not a fan of the noises that pop up after each story mode run and the way the cards pop up showing exp.
  • The levels love to do tight corridors and hard to hit enemies.
  • Had a few instances where the guns I picked didn’t work for tight corridor levels.
  • Takes a while to get to the good guns.
  • Hard to make out enemy bullets at times especially if you have any alerts set up for showing enemy projectiles.
  • Not sure what power-ups do in arcade mode.
  • Harsh damage when hitting the scenery, walls, or floor.

Natsuki Chronicles Review

  • 7/10
    Graphics - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Sound - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Accessibility - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Length - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Fun Factor - 7/10
7.2/10

Summary

I seem to be playing more shmups this year than any other genre, it’s exciting to see all these different takes on what I thought would be a stale repetitive place. Herewith Natsuki Chronicles we have a more RPG orientated approach. In story mode, you earn exp and level up like any other game but you also earn exp just for playing the level, building it up means you can make it easier in future runs by giving more shields. Talking of shields these keep you alive and can regen when you are not firing. You have 3 weapon slots as it were, primary/secondary and special. Over time you unlock and develop new weapons for these slots which adds a layer of customisation. Special weapons start off as shield extensions whereby you can (for a limited time) wipe away any enemy projectiles but later on you can have a powerful attack weapon in that slot. Every weapon regardless if it’s a defensive or offensive item can be upgraded and improved. The story mode also trickles in tutorial areas with rewards and tips given out. Arcade mode is your typical Shmup mode, jump on and play through the levels collecting power-ups as you go which will change weapons or upgrade them. No matter which model you play you will earn player EXP and you will have end-of-level boss fights. The story mode has one life and your dead approach but you keep all earned progress whereas arcade mode has you starting with one credit but you can earn extra credits by playing and unlocking them. Overall I loved the style and presentation of Natsuki Chronicles, it does a lot of things right but the road to progress (ie opening up new weapons) is one that is focused on grinding. You can be bad at a level and earn exp/cash and get better but that entails replaying the level a lot and depending on your skill level, could take ages. It’s almost like the good intentions of player rewards and progression is there but it’s not quite right. You can just play arcade mode and see what the game has to offer, you would only play story mode if you want a longer more arduous time. Still, it is fun but it doesn’t last as long as I hoped it would and there is no level deviation or difference between the modes.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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