When any game is ported from one console to another there arrives a handful of problems that need to be addressed.
Take Dark Souls, for example: the console controls were terribly transitioned to mouse and keyboard, and many found the game unplayable without a community made fix. Dark Souls II also found these problems but were handled far more efficiently than the previous installment, or at least it was in my experience. However none of the ports that I've played, whether it be older games from the SNES days or a franchise that was exclusive to older generations being available on PC, were as unplayable without a controller as Mind Zero.
This is not to say Mind Zero was a terrible game. In fact, it's quite enjoyable on it's own. I would highly recommend this title as one of the better JRPGs for the PlayStation Vita. The battle system is simple and quick to pick up. The storyline is engaging (though extremely ripped influenced from Persona), and the graphics are phenominal for a handheld game. However, this is a port of a handheld game to PC, which requires it to be held to higher standards. The moment Mind Zero wasn't able to be displayed in multiple resolutions other than 960x544 (which the Vita uses) it gave me little hope.
Another major problem that shouldn't have even been there in the Mind Zero port is that to exit the game, one needs to manually close the window by using Alt+F4 or some other command. I couldn't simply Save and Exit as is the standard, but perhaps I didn't dig deep enough through the cluttered menus or read through the text heavy tutorials explaining how to press the “fight” button.
Considering the Vita's screen, it's understandable to have half of it be used to show the commands Mind Zero gives to the player But when you're upgrading from a resolution on a handheld device the vastly oversized menus and ridiculously tiny sprites in comparison makes one feel claustrophobic: a feeling that should have only been pervasive when exploring the Legend of Grimrock style dungeon-wandering through labyrinthine corridors with small floating “Event” signs that might signify a boss battle or a quirky character interaction. It's impossible to tell until you walk into it, leaving the paranoid RPG player like myself to grind in front of the bouncing red sign until I feel over-leveled for the particular area.
Did I mention how the story was stolen partial to Persona?
In Mind Zero's very first scene we meet the two cops from Persona 4 searching for clues about mysterious murders.Then our all too generic angsty teenager protagonist learns about supernatural powers that have a connection in some way to what's causing these atrocities, and it's up to him and his friends to find out about it all. This isn't Persona 5, by the way, in case anyone was wondering. I can understand the confusion.
Despite the unoriginality of the story the combat is on par with the top tier JRPGs, and one brilliant addition I love is the ability to fast forward through the fight so you aren't stuck with seeing the same abilities over and over again (looking at you, SquareEnix).
The voicework is phenominally well done and a great improvement over the lower quality on the VITA. The sounds are crisp and clear without any hiccups or buzz that I can notice. The voices embody the characters to a T, though I can only say that for the Japanese voices as I'm not a fan of localization in recent times. Each character has a “MIND,” which I'm putting in capital letters, because that's how to avoid confusion in localizing something that would be written in different ways - as the Asian languages are apt to use (マインド would be MIND while 脳裏 [pronounced 'nori'] would be mind, at least to my rudimentary understanding of it).
The MINDs, while all different, aren't really specialized with their own set of skills; as you can switch them all between each different character. But as enemy variety grows, players will find that being able to swap skills can be advantageous, yet it still feels like it drags away from what each character was designed to be focused on.
In the end, Mind Zero is an alright JRPG, but a failure of a port. It would be far better suited to being played on the Vita, its original platform. Mind Zero is not groundbreaking like Final Fantasy 7, but it's also not anything like Final Fantasy 7 so that's a huge plus in my book.
Mind Zero is an alright JRPG, but a failure of a port. It would be far better suited to being played on the Vita, its original platform. Mind Zero is not groundbreaking like Final Fantasy 7, but it's also not anything like Final Fantasy 7 so that's a huge plus in my book.