Also On: PS Vita, PC
Publisher: NIS America
At first, The Longest Five Minutes seems like it’s going to be a completely new take on the JRPG formula: it runs through the entire story’s narrative in a couple of cutscenes before dropping you right into the final boss battle — where, inconveniently, the game’s hero (appropriately named “Flash Back”) is struck with amnesia, and has forgotten everything that’s brought him to that point. The game then tells its story in a series of flashbacks, every so often jumping ahead to the final battle when Flash remembers something new.
It’s an interesting way of telling a story that has been basically told countless times before by all kinds of other RPGs of all stripes. Unfortunately, it’s also the game’s lone moment of inspiration, as you quickly discover that everything else here falls somewhere between boring and generic.
First, the generic: the plot. If there’s one thing that JRPG designers love, it’s a story about a group of teens who are tasked with saving the world from a demon. You get that same story here, and there’s nothing about the way that it’s told that’s even remotely interesting.
As for the boring…well, pretty much everything else. You basically wander around a forgettable map, looking for points of interest and getting drawn into lots of forgettable battles at random moments. The good news is that the battles have an “auto” option — but that’s also bad news for the game, since it means that you can zip through every battle without having to think about any of them for a second. I’m not going to complain about the option too long or too loudly, since figuring out how to properly manage my parties in turn-based battles has long been one of my Achilles heels, but the novelty of the thing wears off kind of quickly.
And one it does, there’s not much to do but wait for the flash-forwards to reveal the game’s ending. It’s a shame, because The Longest Five Minutes starts off so well — but, at the same time, it makes the title oddly ironic, since the five or so minutes in which the game seems genuinely interesting and fresh are over far, far too quickly.
NIS America provided us with a The Longest Five Minutes Switch code for review purposes.