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My Review of Undertale

Posted February 21st, 2016 at 11:05 PM by Lunaris Adamantine
Updated February 22nd, 2016 at 12:49 AM by Lunaris Adamantine


I don't usually do reviews, but I just wanted to voice my opinion about this game, and it turned out to be lengthier than I expected.

My first impressions of it were with all of the hype generated by the internet. I usually take that as a sign that it's a game I'm probably not going to like. It's not that I just hate everything that is hyped, but the general opinion of other people tends to be the opposite of my own when it comes to video games. I really had no intention of playing it until I saw the voice acting thread here. I wanted to be a part of such a project, so I decided to play the game to get a better understanding of the characters.

I'll start with the gameplay here.

Once I started the game, the gameplay turned out to be nothing like I expected. I didn't expect the weird dodging element to be a part of the game at all, but it was one that I actually enjoyed about the game. Especially later on, when I got to challenge my reflexes to their max potential.

I didn't really like the whole sparing mechanic, though. Not because I think you should just kill everything in an RPG, but because the way it worked was kind of nonsensical. Many times it was pretty much just trial and error to figure out what to do. Especially with the bosses. What do I do? Am I just supposed to survive to a certain point? Do a specific set of actions to calm them? One in particular was with Undyne. I had no idea I was supposed to flee to get away until looking it up online. It's this sort of trial and error that I really dislike in a game.

Another part I was disappointed about was the puzzles. I was pleased in the beginning to hear that there would be puzzles. I like a good puzzle, but the puzzles in this game were simple. The ease with which I solved them was the complete opposite of the challenge presented to me in the battles. I wasn't challenged, so I wasn't really having fun during those.

Let's move on to the story now.

The story started off kind of interesting. The whole thing with Toriel got me curious, as for FLowey, I didn't really know what to expect from that. After leaving the ruins, though? Things started to get a lot less interesting. Most everything after that was just jokes, references and humor. There were few parts that were interesting. Like learning about the 7 souls for the barrier, and the history of the monsters. But these things were only a small part of what was going on. THis is the opposite of comic relief, really. A comedy with a bit of drama relief.

The part that started to get interesting was after finishing the neutral route that leads up to the true pacifist route. The True Lab was no doubt the most interesting part of the game. Learning the origins of Flowey, the discovery of Determination, and the horrifying experiments that Alphys underwent to try and escape the Underground. That was when I got interested, and afterwards the whole deal with Asriel, finding out that he was used in experiments that turned him into an emotionless flower, who was driven crazy by the fact that he could no longer feel love. This is where the story actually had potential. It's sad that this potential was pretty much wasted by being a small part of a game that is truly more of comedy than one that tells a story.

That's essentially how I feel about the story, now I'll tell my opinion of the characters.

I'll start with Sans, since I mentioned was one of my favorite characters. I'll explain why here.

After playing through the game, I learned that Sans has a pretty sad story, really. He dislikes fighting, has a laid-back attitude about pretty much everything. But he is also watching over you. Keeping an eye on you to see if you do the right thing. He clearly knows more about the world than everyone else, and in the Genocide route he even explains how he knows you can simply reset the world, knowing that even if things came out perfectly, they could just end up being all for nothing if you decide to start over and murder everyone. (Which I did. and it was more fun than the original run, honestly)

I haven't done this myself, but there is a way to get into his room and discover a broken machine of some sorts, as well as a picture of Sans looking happy with friends and/or family. I've seen rumors that it's a time machine, or some sort of thing regarding the existence of multiple timelines. But it's obvious this machine somehow gives him a look into the different endings of the game, and is also the reason why he acts the way he does. Trying to nudge Frisk into choosing the Pacifist route, but still being rather stoic since things could always reset and turn sour at any moment. It makes sense that he finds joy in his terrible jokes and skeletal puns. His funny bones are all he's got to keep him going.

As for Asriel? I probably don't need to say much about it. He's been through all sorts of different hells, and his actions are completely understandable under the circumstances. Unlike Sans, what happened to him is clearly revealed in the story. His adopted human brother dies from an illness. Them he is beaten to death by humans, after trying to return his body to where he belongs. (It's actually more complicated than that, but that's what is revealed during the True Pacifist route) Then after he dies, he is suddenly reawakened as an emotionless flowers, with only memories to tell him what it's like to be loved. I imagine just about anyone would react similarly in this kind of situation.

The rest of the characters? None of them are as deep as Asriel and Sans. The ones who come closest are Toriel and Asgore. Both of which suffered a great loss when their two sons died. I do like the both of them, but this is a scenario I've a countless number of times. It's rather cliche, really, so it doesn't add much to the story.

The rest of the character are very two-dimensional. Especially during the pacifist route. Most of them start off as your enemy, then suddenly they become your friend after you spare them. The only other one that has a bit of development is Undyne. She at least gets a chance to see you being nice to the young monster kid, and then you even help her by giving her a conveniently placed glass of water in Hotland. After that, the way she becomes your friend is just comical. And I don't even find it to be that funny, personally.

Undyne in Genocide, though? She becomes much more interesting. Not only does she prove to be a worthy enemy, but she also proves to be the most Determined Monster in the whole underground. Even after a mortal blow, she remains to take you down. And she is indeed a very tough challenger, as well.

The ones I didn't single out are simply not fleshed out enough to be mentioned. The only one who sort of deserves a spot is Alphys, but the reason for that is the same reason the True Lab was one of the few good parts of the story. Apart from that, her character is mostly just annoying with her obsessive phone use. Also, Mettaton can just go kill himself.

I'll just leave a small bit here for the music.

The soundtrack is pretty much the best part of the game. I enjoyed the music, except for a very few tracks. It was easier to feel emotions from the music than it was to get any from eighty five percent of the characters. It's the only thing I'd love to see more of from this game.

And that's pretty much all I have to say about Undertale.

To summarize what I said:

While I did enjoy playing the game, it falls short of being a good story. I saw great potential for an incredible story, but the execution fails at bringing it to fruition. It's hard to relate to any of the characters, and you don't even get enough time with them to give them more than a small handful of development.

I understand that my thoughts likely don't reflect your own. Feel free to comment about your opinions, but I would please ask that you also respect mine. (And anybody else that has differing opinions)
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  1. Old Comment
    Salzorrah's Avatar
    I'm pretty sure no one would dispute that the soundtrack is the best part of the game, considering that is what Toby Fox is known for... I mean, he even made music for Homestuck so I'm not surprised to see the soundtrack be better :x
    Posted February 22nd, 2016 at 3:10 AM by Salzorrah Salzorrah is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by Davepetasprite^2 View Comment
    I'm pretty sure no one would dispute that the soundtrack is the best part of the game, considering that is what Toby Fox is known for... I mean, he even made music for Homestuck so I'm not surprised to see the soundtrack be better :x
    Yeah, I had learned about that later on. He certainly does excel in that field above all others. I particularly enjoyed "Megalovania", the song that plays when you fight Sans in the Genocide run. Even though I listened to it for pretty much hours straight (Cause that battle is a pain in fifty asses) I never got tired of listening to it.

    In fact, I can say without a doubt that the song filled me with Determination!
    Posted February 22nd, 2016 at 8:15 PM by Lunaris Adamantine Lunaris Adamantine is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Meganium's Avatar
    I could not do the Genocide mode because of how emotionally painful it was to "kill everyone". After I finished my Pacifist run I just left the game. I would totally do another run again.

    My favorites from the soundtrack was "Heartache" and "Another Medium".
    Posted February 24th, 2016 at 7:35 PM by Meganium Meganium is offline