Kuon Impressions

A buddy of mine and I have been playing through Kuon lately. It seems like it will be pretty short, so hopefully I’ll have a review up by the end of the week.

If you’re not familiar with Kuon, it’s basically a Resident Evil game set in Heian (794-1192) period of Japan. You can play as Utsuki, a woman who lives a sheltered life in a mountain shrine, or Sakuya, an exorcist. I’m playing as Sakuya, and I think that you probably get a third playable character if you beat both. Anyway, the game takes place in medieval Japan, so there’s lots of kimono-wearing, giant hats, etc.

So far, the game’s been a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, they’ve got a pretty good style going for the environments and characters. Utsuki and her sister in particular are really well done. The game is dark, but what little you can see looks pretty good. It’s similar to Fatal Frame in that it relies on Japanese history for a lot of its environments, but the execution isn’t as good as Tecmo’s game. The mechanics are mostly passible: the combat system is a little weird (no auto-aim for projectile attacks…??) and the game punishes you for running (which is frustrating, as there is plenty of backtracking), but otherwise the game controls well.

I guess that my biggest complaint is that there doesn’t really seem to be much going on in Kuon. I’m running around, fighting some guys, solving some puzzles, reading some documents, but nothing is really happening. Maybe the story setup is the problem–there’s almost no back story or impetus for the plot provided.

So, so far, I give them points for style, points for setting their game in an unusual time period, and I think the moment-to-moment mechanics are good enough. But there’s not a lot of story or interaction variety to keep me interested. Hopefully by the time I finish the game my impressions will have changed.

8 thoughts on “Kuon Impressions

  1. http://www.xeromusic.com
    Yeah, your observations so far are pretty spot on. It’s short because you have to play through it three times. It’s not an option. As for the plot, again, spot on. But it is a fun game, and it has a rather unique style, something that’s rare and what I always look for. The song the kids sing never gets old!

    This is a great one for anyone not into button mashing action games. It’s all atmosphere and little actual combat. Even less than Fatal Frame.

  2. It wasn’t bad but a bit too slow paced for my taste despite my enjoyment of games such as Fatal Frame. It has quite the creepy atmosphere at times though.

  3. http://spooky.ms11.net/index.html
    Chris, where did you get your copy of Kuon from?

    I had placed an on-line order to get Kuon about a year ago, either from Wal-Mart.com or Target.com, don’t remember which – and it was on back order for so long, (like 6 months or more!)that I finally said ‘to heck with it’ and cancelled my order.

    Maybe some day I can get a copy.

  4. My last post got cut off abruptly – what I said was (in response to Chris’ post),
    You lucky dog! I think we have an EB at a mall, but I don’t go there much, it’s a 45 min. drive from where I live.

    We do have a Game Stop that’s like a 20 minute drive from my house, maybe I can check them out sometime and see if they have Kuon.

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