Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigame’s Longest Day (PS3 review): Even the title is an oxymoron

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Combining four short films and one video game, Short Peace takes some of Japanese animation’s biggest names and allows them to run free without boundaries. When you have names like Katsuhiro Otomo, a man who we’ve not seen in ten years since Steamboy, there’s certainly expectations to uphold. Centering around the rich material of Japan’s various eras and beyond, Short Peace’s animated films are a spectacle of talent unhindered by tropes and clichés that plague modern anime today. Short as they are, they exhibit Japanese’s potential of progressing anime as real works of art. It’s quite a compelling collaboration of work, including Possession, which was nominated for an Academy Award just this year. So how does a video game fit into this project?

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Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is a side-scrolling game whose story was written by one of Japan’s most eccentric and flamboyant developers, Suda51. Taking place in modern day Japan, Ranko cooks up a classic revenge story of a girl who desires to kill her own father. For reasons unknown, the death of Ranko’s mother was caused somehow by him. That’s practically the only driving motivation of Ranko’s life as an assassin. What’s even more eccentric is she lives in an automatic parking garage that serves as her base of operations. Things get weirder and crazier as you progress and the title reflects on that. New characters come quickly as they go fulfilling every trope that you’ve likely seen in an anime. But these amazingly animated sequences are but the high points of the game. It’s almost like a critique of the current anime industry if you choose to look deeper than that. There’s nothing really wrong with this approach but once the game begins, that’s where it starts to crumble apart.

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For a studio that’s given us the amazing Sine Mora, Ranko barely qualifies like a full-fledged video game. The majority of Ranko’s stages are a side scroller that lack any sort of impressive visuals or real depth. Controls are simple enough, but they do no more than to simply advance to the next stage in a timely manner. The most unique thing is an ammo gauge that allows you to keep an ever looming pile of spirits at bay, that being the only way to incur a game over if it catches up to you. If you die, you will start at the beginning of the stage, though given the short duration of each stage, it’s not really a problem. After each stage, a result pages displays the time counter and kill that doesn’t even grade you on performance, making any sort of replay rather moot. The latter half of the game begins to really pick up and even the boss fights become somewhat entertaining, but alas these are but short-lived moments, offering only a glimmer of the potential this game truly had.

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Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day clocks in just under an hour and if you count the accompanying short films together, that makes the whole thing a two-hour experience. Having a game complement a set of films is an interesting proposition, but ultimately it falls flat. While the visceral spectacles of the cinematics may impress, it’s a problem when it’s the best part of a video game. Unless you really feel the need to replay each stage for unlockable concept, there’s little to go back on after you’ve played through it once. Bandai Namco had the right idea trying to price this less than your typical video game, but for even $40, it is a tough sell.

Rating: 2.5/5 Atoms

NR 2_5 Atoms - C-

 

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Hokan Lo
Hokan Lo 324 posts

Hokan Lo is a contributing writer and photographer for Nerd Reactor. He likes Pizza Butts and Mello Yellow. You can contact him on twitter @colorinlive. <a href="http://nerdreactor.com/about/">Meet the Nerd Reactor Team</a>