Today we ask a rather odd question; Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? The goddess Hestia may say yes, but we say no. Infinite Combate isn’t the only thing an adventurer can do there…
Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon – Infinite Combate, also known as DanMachi – Infinite Combate is the game adaption of the popular anime of the same name. For brevity, I’ll refer to it as Infinite Combate for the rest of this review. It’s a cross between a Dungeon RPG and a visual novel, with the story told via visual novel-style scenes and most of the gameplay including exploring dungeons, fighting monsters, and managing stats and upgrades.
I feel that this game is very much aimed towards fans of the series, rather than new players. For those who have experienced the series before, Infinite Combate covers the main points of the first season of the anime and adds in some filler dialogue. For those new to the series, it does work as a place as any to start. It takes you through everything you need to know.
You are first introduced to Bell Cranel, a new adventurer. On arriving in the city, Bell tries to join various groups of adventurers – Familia. He is rejected constantly, until finding Hestia. He then becomes the only member of the Hestia Familia and starts his adventure.
The story highlights Bell’s physical and emotional growth, as he goes through trials and tries to become a hero. You see his failures, how he grows, and his kindness.
Aiz Wallenstein is an important figure to Bell. She is a first-class adventurer and considered to be one of the strongest in the city. She also saves him from a dangerous encounter early on. She becomes Bell’s inspiration.
As someone who has only watched the main anime series, one thing I found interesting was that Infinite Combate switches perspectives between Bell and Aiz. Bell’s story lasts ten chapters, while Aiz’s only lasts six but I enjoyed getting to know Aiz and the members of her Familia more. This may not be as much of a draw to those who have watched the side series focusing on Aiz though.
Overall the story did feel a bit rushed, perhaps because it missed out a lot of minor events where we got to know the character. We don’t really get to see Hermes’ mischievous nature for example or some of Bell’s less than pure motives. Still, it works as a decent introduction to the series, if not one as good as watching the anime and I enjoyed seeing many of the character interactions as a fan of the series.
As mentioned, half of Infinite Combate plays as a visual novel and this is where the story is primarily told. By advancing the story you can experience the visual novel scenes. In addition, you can often choose to go and talk to characters for extra interactions. Beyond that, you can even find more scenes in the post-game by completing extra dungeons for ‘date points’.
Putting aside the visual novel aspects of the game for now, the gameplay of Infinite Combate can be broken down into two parts – in the dungeon and out.
Before going into the dungeon, you can upgrade your skills by spending points, upgrade your weapons and armor by spending money and materials, and perform some further customizations.
The customization appears to be quite good at first, but I did feel the weapon and armor aspect was ruined a bit. You can buy new equipment or unlock further equipment by selling materials at the market. However, throughout the main game, there was no real need for this – equipment was granted through the story and it was always better than the equipment I could purchase. You can still upgrade equipment though by adding elements or just increasing stats, so there’s still things to be done there. I did enjoy how the skills were done too. You can choose to improve in several areas and there’s quite a lot of flexibility.
As for heading in the dungeon, this could be done for the story or optional quests. Each chapter gives you two dungeons to explore for the story quests and two dungeons for quests. Beyond that, you can enter the dungeon with only the objective of reaching a certain point.
Quests tend to be fairly straightforward – enter the dungeon to kill certain enemies or find certain items. I found both of these a bit frustrating at times though. Quite often it was a case of running around to each room, then backtracking because something was missed.
Dungeons themselves never looked unique which added to the issue. If there wasn’t a map, it would be incredibly easy to get lost because rooms look almost exactly the same as each other. These are the handcrafted rooms for the main game quests too – not even the procedurally generated ones found elsewhere.
Combat often felt bland too. I often just ran up to monsters and used a combo until they died. Occasionally I had to dodge after a combo and repeat the attack if it was too strong. There is a magic attack and a strong attack, but I didn’t often need to use them. Magic was always difficult to aim anyway.
One nice feature was supporters. In some circumstances, you can bring two characters into the dungeon with you. They don’t appear on the map, but you can trigger special attacks when their gauges are full, as well as an ability of your own.
Bosses were more of a highlight in some cases and the opposite in others. They actually involved learning the patterns, dodging, attacking openings, and so on. Their attack patterns were quite limited, but this was still more interesting. Except for the final boss who I ended up killing just by standing there, attacking, and using potions until it died.
Another thing to note is the difficulty often felt strange. Either it was too easy or it spiked and then was too difficult until I got an upgrade. Then it was too easy again.
I can’t really say that the combat was good, but I should mention that I ended up playing the game for five hours straight on first booting it up. There is something relaxing sometimes about some mindless slaughter of monsters.
One nice thing I found – after completing the game you unlock further dungeons and other content. As part of this, you can freely switch between Bell and Aiz and use any of their supporters instead of being limited to story-relevant ones. You could also replay boss encounters.
I can only comment on the Nintendo Switch version for this point, but sometimes loading felt quite slow both in handheld and docked mode. It seemed to occasionally drop in frame rate too.
There were several issues with the localization that I noticed too. I feel it needs another editing pass. While it wasn’t too bad, there were issues with spacing, spelling, and so on. In addition, Infinite Combate had a couple of instances of the wrong text being used too, where a title or description was incorrect for the situation. On reaching out to PQube’s PR, I have been informed that there is not a Day 1 patch in the works so it will be the case for the console launch.
Graphics and Audio
The visual novel portion of the graphics all feel high quality as can be seen in the screenshots. Character sprites have their expressions change, eyes move, and lip-sync is included when they speak which is a nice extra. There isn’t really a huge amount of movement though, as there is in some titles with Live 2D or similar systems.
I cannot say that I was impressed with the graphics in the dungeon gameplay. It almost feels like taking a step back to a previous console generation.
As for audio, the voicing is the part that stands out the most. As with the anime series, it’s absolutely great as far as quality goes. With that said, it’s only partially voiced. Story scenes are fully voiced while other parts have short utterances which sometimes only vaguely match the sentence said.
Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon – Infinite Combate is not a game I’d generally recommend. There was a lot of frustration. I found myself disappointed. With that said, as a fan of the anime series, there were certainly points I enjoyed, mostly around seeing the story again and talking to the characters. Some of the customization and extra content in the post-game helped to redeem it too.
WAIT FOR SALE ON IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON – INFINITE COMBATE
If you enjoy more visual novels with gameplay aspects, you may be interested in Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen. Or perhaps Utawarerumono: ZAN which is a retelling of a visual novel, only converted to gameplay.
Many thanks go to PQube for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
Support High-Quality And Detailed Coverage
Want to support the cost of us bringing you these articles or just buy us a coffee for a job well done? Click the Ko-fi button below. You can even find some digital goodies in our shop~!
A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.