Top Critic Average
Utawarerumono: Zan is not a bad game, but it is a game made for fans of the series exclusively. If folks go into this with no knowledge of Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception’s story they will be completely lost. The combat is solid and tons of fun. I really enjoyed unlocking all the different modes and watching all my favorite characters grow stronger along the way. The story mode is well done, but it does skip around a bit too much, and some will find its length a bit on the short side. However, I do think fans will find plenty of content here to justify the around $50 price point. In the end this game is the very definition of a fan service game, and I think that’s perfectly fine.
Anyone looking for an anime brawler will find this one to be a very good one. It is not to be played for its highly-compressed retelling of a former story, nor its short length; but for mindless action and fighting it delivers fairly well. The combat is fun with enough to it to stay fairly interesting for the ten or so hours it takes to beat, just be warned there isn't some great adventure to partake in here.
For a fan of the series this is still a pleasant diversion, even though we don't think it's worth the full price. For a new player, this doesn't seem like the ideal title to get introduced to the series.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Utawarerumono Zan is a remake of the first episode with muso phase instead of tactical RPG ones. The result is not bad, but the visual novel part suffers from all thoses changes.
Review in French | Read full review
Overall, Utawarerumono Zan is a bit of an awkward title to give a score to. On the one hand, as someone who has played the other games in the series and knows the plot, it’s really fun without needing to slog through a bunch of text. For new players however, the lack of fleshed out storytelling may leave a bitter taste and feel a bit underwhelming. The series was really made on the story telling, and would do well with more of it, even if it’s in something like a “sidestories” section, so you can have that faster gameplay for those who can’t sit through two hours of intricate characters before needing to shake someone down for loot and exp. Doesn’t stop me from wanting to pick up another title if they do the same thing with “Mask of Truth” though!
Utawarerumono: Zan is a decent action RPG that doesn't take too long to beat, but at full retail price, it feels like an overly expensive endeavour -- especially for existing fans of the series.
Ultimately, it doesn't feel like Utawarerumono: ZAN effectively serves any part of its prospective audience. It's inadequate as a gateway game for newcomers to the franchise, and despite some decent graphics and interesting musou-gameplay twists, it lacks the substance to attract existing fans. It feels like a game created mainly to remind people that the franchise still exists, rather than actually satisfy those who'd deign to play it. Utawarerumono fans are better off waiting for the remake of the original game in the series, while newcomers are advised to pick up the game, or watch the anime instead.
Utawarerumono: Zan is only for the most dedicated of fans to the series. Newcomers will be lost by the incredibly brisk and abbreviated story, and even though the combat is fun and the characters unique, there are just so many other Warriors-style games out there that provide fun gameplay and addictive action without slacking on the story. Hardcore Utawarerumono might get more pleasure out of this game than fresh faces would, but are sure to be just as disappointed by how thoroughly the story has been butchered.
Even for returning fans, this is just a retread of the same plot of Mask of Deception, a short tale that doesn’t leave much left but the grind of optional missions. Sure, there’s some fun to be had in taking out armies with a colossal sparrow, but it’s something that might be more palatable at a lower price point.
Utawarerumono ZAN is a great example of a way to turn a tactical strategy RPG into a much more action-oriented gameplay experience. I had way more fun this time around than I did a few years ago playing through the original release. I do hope that the developers are able to do with the other games in the series what they did with this one, because the stories have all been so excellent. If you’ve not played the original release, it’s still recommended to go back and do so to see where it all began, especially because the character development is a lot more in-depth with deeper RPG elements.