Based on a light novel and first released in 2015, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? (DanMachi, for short) is one of the most popular anime series of the decade. Some might say it's because of its premise, but we can't deny another factor: Hestia, the busty female lead, sparked a lot of memes and trends, like the phrase "Hestia is bestia" or holding your boobs up with a blue ribbon.
Being so famous, set in a world inspired by video games, it was about time for it to have its own console adaptation! Well, too bad it's not what we were expecting, or what a franchise like this deserves...
If You Take It as a Visual Novel, It Works
Many anime games use visual novel storytelling, and this one is just another example. After all, the whole visual novel concept is closely linked to anime and manga, so why experimenting with it? It just works. That being said, some stories are more action-inclined, so you need something you can actually play with, not just a collection of images and dialogues. Plus, most anime-based titles just follow the same events we already know, and animation is always better than still pictures.
Infinite Combate is a re-telling of Bell and Hestia's story, so you won't find anything new here. In terms of quality, we can't deny it's a good visual novel, and it's faithful to the original source, too, but that's not enough to justify its existence. Maybe that's why they added these dungeon-crawling segments... which in turn is the weakest part of the game.
Less is More, Unless Your Console/PC Game Looks Like a Cheap Mobile App
There are dozens of amazing Android/iOS games with splendid graphics and elaborate stories, some of these based on huge anime franchises, but we still associate mobile games with dull gameplay and inferior quality. DanMachi itself has 2 mobile games already, Memoria Freese and the browser-based Orario Rhapsodia. When we heard a DanMachi game was being developed in Japan, our expectations were quite high, more so given we're talking about a PC, PS4, and Switch title... until we watched some gameplay clips before its release.
In Infinite Combate, you get to play as either Bell or Aiz, exploring dungeons full of monsters and looting everything you can. However, it all looks like they made the least possible effort when adapting the story to an RPG, with repetitive and boring quests, over-simplistic graphics, and a shallow experience overall, which is depressing considering these RPG elements are what makes the anime so enjoyable.
In theory, everything you'd expect in an RPG is there: you can level your characters, you can make them stronger by acquiring new skills and gear, you can trade and craft, etc. Sadly, it all feels meaningless when all you need to do is learn to dodge and use the same skills over and over again. Nevertheless, we're not saying Infinite Combate is unplayable or anything like that; we're just saying it could be way better, and even if you like the game and don't care about bland mechanics and bad graphics, there's another, bigger problem...
Is It Wrong to Try and Charge 40 Dollars For This Game?
Although we're talking about a fairly long game, it certainly has a lot of flaws. For instance, all those who have read the light novel or watched the anime won't find anything new or special, just a visual novel reinterpreting the first arcs. Another reason to buy this game would be the excitement of playing as your favorite characters or maybe interacting with Hestia (there are date events), but it's hard to feel attracted to the gameplay or invested in it. Lastly, maybe you're OK with everything about Infinite Combate just because you're a huge fan of DanMachi... but after finishing the game, it's hard to justify spending 40 dollars on it: if you're new to DanMachi, you're better off watching the anime or reading the light novel; if you already did it, there's no need to torture yourself with a boring RPG that goes nowhere and offers nothing new.
We could happily spend half the price if it was a cool visual novel adapting the whole story—maybe a little more if it includes some new stuff. It is what it is, though, and there are better games out there for a better bang for your buck!
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? Infinite Combate is not the worst game ever, but it makes us sad to see yet another unsatisfactory game based on a largely acclaimed anime series.
If you were thinking of buying it, please do some research before doing so—and we hope this mini-review has been useful to you. There's definitely an audience for a game like this, but it's a small one!