Video Game Review: Princess Connect! Re:Dive

Details: Been playing the last few months. Official site is https://www.crunchyroll.com/games/princessconnectredive/index.html

Score: 7.1/10

On the surface, Princess Connect! Re:Dive is yet another degenerate, waifu collector. However, Princess Connect is in actuality the most streamlined auto-battling gacha game I’ve ever played. With this game, they took your average, generic gacha game and polished and refined it into a fine diamond. It takes every gameplay element from the genre and makes it better. From the user interface to the gacha system, everything is at least a little better than the majority of competing games in the genre. The end result is an extremely polished game that does an amazing job of not wasting players’ time. This is something in direct contradiction of most gacha games who instead deliberately seek to annoy players and waste their time with the goal of pushing players to spend money.

One of the most impressive things about Princess Connect is that it shamelessly knows what it is and seeks to be the best version of that that it can be. This is a waifu collector. The first goal of the game is to collect as many female characters as a player may want while providing players with a wide selection of cute, anime girls to choose from. Is this degeneracy? Why, yes. Does Princess Connect do a great job of this? Why yes.

They excel at this by providing voice acting to the vast majority of dialogue within the game. This is a huge feat because most games simply don’t want to go through the hassle of hiring and organizing recording sessions with voice actors. It’s expensive and time consuming. Princess Connect bucks that trend and voices almost everything. This is something I greatly appreciate as dialogue without voice acting just makes me care less about the story of your game.

The other nice thing they did is that they provide a great deal of animated scenes along with the voice acted scenes, which help add to the overall feel of the game. This game really leans into the idea of playing through an anime. The game pretty much works the same way as most JRPG’s. You play through a few levels, you unlock an animated cut scene. Rinse and repeat. This traditional video game structure basically just incentivizes players to keep playing the game in order to see more cut scenes. It’s worked in the past and it works here.

I also like how Princess Connect drops the pretense of how generic, painful and boring the gameplay in most auto-battling gacha games is and instead of trying to change that gameplay formula, does its best to limit the annoying parts of it. For instance, Princess Connect offers a sweep system. That means that if you’ve beaten a level already, you can just instantly beat it again and obtain the rewards without playing it again. This is important because in this game and many games in this genre, you have to replay levels in order to obtain materials necessary to progress. Many gacha games don’t have sweep systems and are pain to play. Princess Connect does not have that problem, though I will say that sweeping a stage does cost tickets, which are a finite resource. Even still, you get plenty of sweep tickets so it’s mostly a non-issue.

As said above, the greatest thing about this game is how they’ve streamlined it into a comfortable experience that is easy to play. The user interface is intuitive and convenient. A good user interface is something I feel most gacha games fail at implementing well. They really should work on it as a good interface improves the overall experience of a game.

The game also runs really well, which is another issue that most mobile games fail at addressing. Most mobile games I’ve played are poorly optimized, lag, crash or raise the temperature of my phone to molten lava. Princess Connect seems to be very well optimized. It runs well and doesn’t burn up my phone. It seems like this is a minor thing, but again it impacts the overall experience and determines which games I will or will not play on my phone. For instance, I will never play Genshin Impact on my phone because it just turn my phone temperature nuclear. Because I can’t play it on my phone, I often times just avoid playing it at all. Technical optimization matters.

Overall, Princess Connect is a generic, but extremely polished gacha game. Compared to most games, it is almost fully voiced, has plenty of animated cut scenes, optimizes gameplay by removing traditional annoyances so as to not waste players’ time, and, on a technical level, runs better than most mobile games I’ve played. It doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it excels at being part of that genre and ends up being one of the best, if not the best game in this genre.