You might have noticed my recent obsession with Ensemble Stars, and if you follow me over on Twitter, I’d been sharing posts about the rhythm game getting an English release! I’ve been very excited, and as an Android user, I’ve been able to beta test the game. Obviously, I’ve been leaving reviews and comments in the appropriate ways to the game devs, but I also wanted to post something about it. I don’t talk about games enough on this blog, so here we go.
First of all, the majority of my experience with the game has been with the original Japanese version. I made an account with the original game and have continued playing it since the split into two apps. In Japan, they have Basic, a tap and level game version and Music, which is the rhythm game. Basic gives you access to stories and gacha from the original. I think it was essentially so people didn’t lose everything they’d worked on before playing before. While Music solely focuses on the game’s story since its rerelease. In the west, we’re only getting Music. This is fine, and it’ll work as an introduction to new players.
The reason I specified that I’ve played the Japanese version is this game has also had releases in China and Korea. Those versions of the game are slightly different, and that’s the version we’ve gotten too. That means that some things are not what I am used to, and that could be both good and bad.
Gameplay-wise, the game is working fine. There have been glitches here and there, but the devs have been fixing those in a timely fashion. It’s easy to play, and I do love the auto-live feature. It’s a feature that means once you’ve played a song fully without missing a single beat, you can set the game so it’ll just replay that. You’ll still get the levelling and points, but without needing to physically play it yourself multiple times. It’s a lifesaver when it comes to events. The only thing is that you still have to at least listen to the song being played. So if you’re playing a song you don’t like, or you’re just tired of it, just mute the sound and put your phone aside whilst it does its thing.
As well as that, there are live modes that don’t feature in JP but do in China and Korea. I’ve only played Infinite Live currently, which was pretty fun. You play through levels of different songs, and that’s how you get !! points that can be traded for items. It’s a set song list, so you’ll wind up playing songs that you might not usually pick, which is good for when you want some variety. There’s also Starry Live, which I’ve yet to play, but it looks like it’s four daily songs that if you play, you can get bonus dia and gems. The event song is one that’s been included today, but I’m not sure if the event song is always included.
The best thing about the game being in English is that I can finally read the full story. I’ve read bits and pieces from fan translations, but it is nice to know everything that is going on. Turns out Eichi is still a dick, for one thing. One of the best things about EnStars is the story. It can be ridiculously dramatic and emotional for sure, but there’s such a wide variety of characters that you’ll enjoy learning about at least some of the characters. I’m loving being able to read the main story, even if I’m still eh about Alkaloid as a unit, but it does mean I’m learning about them. That’s a lot of fun. The translation is actually pretty decent, something that I know many people were worried about. I won’t say it’s perfect yet, but it mostly seems to be pretty accurate.
I am a little disappointed in the gacha system. It plays the same as in the other versions, and we’re starting with Meowsketeers which I really want the cards for. Though I did get the Ritsu on my JP account recently. It’s super cute. The problem is, and I’ve seen others say it’s the same on the Chinese and Korean servers, but the dia cost is so expensive. The game does give you more ways to earn dia, for sure, but once you’re playing regularly, it’s hard to earn. A 10 pull on the JP server is 350 dia. A 10 pull on the English server is 3500 dia. I have 2780 dia on this account right now. Way more than I’ve ever had. And it’s not enough for a single ten pull. The amount of dia they’ll give us from preregistration won’t be enough for a 10 pull either. I know other countries have been playing it with these rates for a while, but it feels ridiculously high and like I’m going to have a lot fewer chances to do a 10 pull, even if I do buy dia every now and then.
Music-wise, the game is going slowly. They’ve got a list they’re adding one song a day from, but there are still not many of the songs I like to play. I will say they’re already offering plenty of variety though, so if you don’t know the units, it should be fun to explore the different songs.
I’m overall happy with how the translation seems to be going in beta. I look forward to the full release and see what we have coming. Especially for EN-only events and gacha. It’ll be a lot of fun. I’m just a little sad about how costly it seems to be, and I’m hoping they’ll add more songs I like soon.