Undertale – A Tale of Determination

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ATTENTION!

If you do not want to read any information and would rather find out everything for yourself, I would recommend not reading any part of this article except for the “Recommendations and Overall Thoughts” section. The only spoilers that are mentioned include how the gameplay works, the story, and some of the characters’ names and abilities.

Intro:

Recently, one of my friends told me that I should play the game Undertale. It’s a retro-styled, birds-eye roleplaying game that allows you to make your own decisions deep within the game’s monster-infested caverns.

Such decisions include who you allow to live or who you want to kill. But, the ultimate decision lies not in camaraderie, but in whether or not you want to kill off all the monsters in the underworld or become friendly by trying to live with them.

Since it was only $10, I decided I would try it out, and I’m extremely glad I did—so happy, in fact, that I wanted to make a review about it.  I’ll start by giving some information about the game with my overall thoughts at the bottom, along with recommendations for who should play it.

Story:

Once you launch Undertale, you’ll notice that some information is given about the history between monsters and humans in a cutscene. War and chaos broke out between the two, and the humans were victorious. In order to keep the monsters from entering Earth, the humans used a magic spell to seal the underground with the monsters there. It then fast-forwards many years later to show you, the player: a human who, perusing a summit named Mt. Ebott, falls to the underground where the monsters are lurking. After that, you are determined (remember that word) to return home from your fall.

From there, the gameplay actually begins, and you are prompted to name your own character and start the journey.

While on your journey, you will encounter many monsters. Some characters you may see as enemies, and others you may see as helpful friends. One character that may come across as an enemy is the fearless knight Undyne. With her shining armor and confident walk, she may seem intimidating. Toriel, who acts like a mother, is very friendly by taking you under her own wing by helping you through puzzles in the underground. The brilliance of this game is that you get to choose who you like and don’t like. If you don’t like a certain character, you can treat them as an enemy, but if you do like them, you can try to become friends or at least acquaintances with them.

Keep in mind, most monsters will start out by attacking you as they view you as the actual monster. They can be easily provoked by attacking them back, saying the wrong things at the wrong time, and by other attributes that you may have caused within the game.

Gameplay:

If you are expecting some major hardcore gaming out of this game, you will be disappointed. Now, don’t get me wrong, the gameplay in this is actually very fun. When fighting a character, you will have four options to choose from as seen below: Fight, Act, Item and Mercy.

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Fighting is pretty self explanatory; it allows you to attack a monster and deal damage to them. After dealing enough damage, the enemy will die or lose.

“Act” is a form of communicating with a monster, and it contains different options depending on what type of monster you are fighting. Usually, if you “act” appropriately to the given situation, you are given the option to spare the creature.

“Item” allows you to equip certain weapons or armor that you have bought or encountered along the way, and it allows you to heal yourself if you have certain healing items in your inventory.

“Mercy” has two options: Spare and Flee. Sparing can only be done when a character’s name is yellow or the word “Spare” is yellow itself. Basically, a monster’s name will be yellow when it doesn’t want to fight you. Usually this is achieved by acting towards the monster in a way to convince it that you aren’t a horrible human being. If a monster has a low enough level, you might be able to spare it immediately, but this isn’t always the case. Fleeing is usually allowed against any monsters you run into on the paths. It allows you to avoid the fight and can be very useful when low on health. However, most bosses that you run into will not give you the option to flee.

Once you have chosen what to do against the monster, your turn will end. Most likely, the monster will fight back in an attempt to deal damage to you. Once he/she attacks, it will become your turn again, and this will continue until a victor is determined. If you happen to die, you will return to your last saved point (which look like little flashing stars), but if you win, you will be able to move on with the story. (Tip: Whenever you save at any of the saving locations, your health will be refilled.) In order to avoid damage, you move your arrow keys around to dodge the attacks coming at you (Your mouse is not required in this game as it is only keyboard-based).

Certain fights can give you different colored hearts. For example, if you fight Papyrus, he will turn your heart blue. This affects the gameplay immensely by giving your heart gravity. Basically, the blue heart does not allow your heart to move freely. It only lets you jump up and then fall right back down. I had a bit of trouble with this at first because it was much more challenging, but it was nice to see something different.

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So, the gameplay isn’t very challenging, nor is it very difficult. Although, I still thought that it was fun.

Game Paths:

There are three ways I see to take on the game. Depending on the way you choose to play the game, you will receive a different ending.

Pacifist: This is probably the most popular and challenging way to play the game. By playing as a pacifist, you are required to NOT kill anyone in your path. Because you won’t be killing any monsters, your health will remain at the bare minimum, thus making this challenging. If you successfully beat the game without killing anyone, you will get the pacifist ending.

Genocide: By killing every single monster you encounter in the game, you will achieve the genocide ending to the game. This means you cannot spare or flee from any fight, and you MUST kill them.

Your Own Way: Now, this isn’t a specific type of ending, but what this basically means is that your ending will reflect upon who you chose to spare or kill, and what your actions are. I did this on my first try. I decided whom I wanted to kill and let live based upon my own liking of a character. By doing this, I got a different ending than the genocide and pacifist endings, and I got a different ending than a variety of endings from other people who played this game their own way.

In all honesty, it does not matter what path you take to play this game. If you are like me, you might want to try all three. If you want to get a special, designated type of ending, choose the genocide or pacifist endings.

Extras:

One of the best features of this videogame is the soundtrack. While you are on your journey, different songs will play due to the environment and characters you encounter. One of my favorite songs comes from fighting the robot Mettaton EX which is called “Death by Glamour”. The situation of this fight flows perfectly with the song as Mettaton EX has a rock-star look, and he is dancing while you are fighting him. Overall, most of these songs fit the situations you encounter and simply sound great.

Recommendations and Overall Thoughts:

Lovers of intriguing storylines, well-developed characters, endearing yet simple gameplay, and just an overall great plotline will devour this game. Also, if you don’t have a great computer, don’t worry: The graphics of this game are meant to be retro, so they aren’t meant to be great-looking or anything spectacular unlike 3-D graphics that you would see in most modern video games. If 3-D graphics is an absolute need, this won’t be a game for you. Undertale is an 8-bit resolution game, but the graphics still have enough color and look great.

Additionally, if you are a hardcore gamer who’s looking for something extremely difficult to play, this probably isn’t the game for you either.

There’s no multiplayer on this game, so you will be playing this solo. Don’t spoil anything in your solitary exploration!

Overall, the game was amazing. I had already been told that this game was something special, but I wasn’t expecting to receive such quality. The plotline is excellent and all the characters are very well-developed. Its gameplay wasn’t bothersome for me as I could easily play it on the Sprinter when leaving from school. Overall, I’m very satisfied with this game, and as I said earlier, I will be playing this game again.

Thank you for reading my review on Undertale. I hope you found this helpful. Remember: When playing this game, be filled with determination!

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