Woodsalt Review - JRPG without gameplay
"Woodsalt" is an adventure game set on the planet of Nu-Terra, 1000 years after Earth was evacuated during chaotic natural disasters and an attack by giant creatures.
You control Emcy, a man born on Earth, who wakes up in a bubble from a stasis into a new city while waiting for a sign to return home, but not everyone wants to go back as they thought. There is civil disturbance rising in the city with a conspiratory to prevent mankind from leaving, while Emcy is troubled by visions and messages from a voice unseen to no one else. Multiple endings, many side plots with their own branching stories, will impact the main drawing and the discovery of hidden secret ends.
I won't beat the bush around: From a historical perspective, Woodsalt has significant structural issues, resulting in a very uneven experience, which unfortunately does not meet its high admission price. There are a few characters who make the science fiction narrative a perfect way to connect to them in side stories, but there's an inconsistency with what characters and how they influence the story. Certain incidents do not make sense in the big picture of the plot, and it doesn't help to ensure that the structure of the game has a glaring weak spot on either side of the game and plays both sides of the game towards the middle-end. Again, the contradictions of the events in the main tract make the game really suffer because they sound like there are huge chunks that are missing. You just don't believe what's going on before you, even with the game's Science Fiction. The characters, in particular Gi, only ask if conflicts are added in order to avoid conflicts.
This bizarre little title doesn't really know what it wants to be, so it tends to give rise to doubt as to why it remains in its current form. Often – despite pacing problems – his story is truly interesting, but I think it would have worked as a visual novel better. But the many glitches that brought me out of the experience ruined the game for me. They stopped progress and broke the game eventually and prevented me from completing any one of the many endings this match appears to bring. I absolutely cannot recommend it in its current state. This could be worth a look if it gets patched. But before then...
However, it was the countless bugs which penetrated the whole experience that really ruined the game. The game sometimes did not react after cutscences, so I had to skip all of them and miss the creation of the main character. Fortunately, most of the cutscenes were optional. I never had the opportunity to complete Woodsalt completely until the game broke for me. It was autosaved during the last cutscene I thought, and crashed at the end. Since the game has only one slot, the savefile is bricked because I just can't go beyond it. It has many endings, and I still haven't seen one.
Woodsalt is also a mixed bag with regard to presentation. It appears to have been made in the now cool PSP era, which is no compliment. The world is divided into very small segments with crash-prone load screens that are surprisingly long. The game also has very few hints that are apparent to everyone, like when you have to interact with an object. The mediocrity of the gameplay is accompanied by a genuinely terribly boring soundtrack, I suppose. I ended up muting the game. The soundtrack has a big problem with having lots of short loops for music. It gets old extremely quickly.
Woodsalt begins to fall apart from all its narrative strengths once you start to play. The small town Nu-Terra is one you can visit. NPCs you can chat with, from different sites to various locations, and from several optional activities / talks to attend. The problem is, everything is meaningless apart from the optional nattering. NPCs never have anything interesting to say. There's just a walk to the next story - mainline or not. A lot of dialogue choices in the game just feel like filler and they don't seem to have any meaningful impact.
This is one of the most strange things I ever have written, but walking in Woodsalt is an obstacle. Since it's just walking and speaking – only half that's important – it seemed like I was just moving and hoping that any path I chose would have resulted in a portion of the story progressing. Every day I made my little circuit in the hope of having a new character development with him and whoever that is created for me and dragged it along.
I was consciously aware of the game's pacing – which is everywhere when I didn't take myself to Nu-Terra. The game is pretty quick, even with it's multiple endings, so I am surprised that the plot can't hold a consistent standard. The start and the start are fine, but the center was boring. What frankly testifies to the fact that the tedium was created with a desire to advance the story is how fascinating it is.
I was hooked instantly when I first learned of Woodsalt. A 90s JRPG-style psychological adventure game? Just sign me up. Sign me up. After all, I'm a child of the 90's and all that panders on my old sense of nostalgia. This decade has been a groundbreaking succession of consecutive solar cycles from Final Fantasy VII to Persona, and everything was spawning.
The world Woodsalt creates is lovely. Things begin to get freaky from the outset, and a cast of fascinating and diverse characters is introduced not long before you. Split into a healthy dose of killing, intrigue, politics and things begin to get spicy. Your actions have an effect as well and what you tell people may have disastrous consequences. All seems hunky-dory so far.
Whilst some of these items are updated and fixed, so many games with science fiction topics from a historic standpoint are already available to play before looking at Woodsalt. The fundamental issues with the plot just outweigh everything else.