Obey Me! | Lesson 5 | Story Review
Move in with Beel and adopt a stray dog – Lesson 5 of Obey Me slows down the pace a little to allow players to acclimatise to all the new information presented in earlier chapters. Instead of rushing through introductions, we get the chance to spend some quality time with a few key members of the cast, particularly Beelzebub and the mysterious Belphegor…
Obey Me doesn’t feature individual character routes, but I still wanted to review the game’s story. However, as the main story is 67 chapters long at the time of writing, I figured it would be incredibly difficult to review all in one go.
This is why I’ve broken down these Obey Me story reviews into an episodic, lesson-by-lesson format — to make the task of playing through the entire game less daunting, and to break my opinions and analysis into easier-to-read, bitesize chunks.
☆ 8 Story Chapters
☆ 13 Dance Battles
In my previous Obey Me lesson review, I mentioned that the dance battle to story ratio had become skewed in the wrong direction – with 8 story parts and 11 dance battle stages. In Lesson 5, this ratio has, unfortunately, become further skewed towards these monotonous minigames that interrupt the flow of the story.
One of the things that has consistently made it difficult for me to continue enjoying the story of Obey Me is the frequency and difficulty of these dance battles — although, I should clarify, I mean difficulty in terms of card power requirements, not actual strategy or skill.
Dance Battles pretty much play themselves, only requiring the player to tap any hearts that appear, as well as the chibi characters once their power gauge fills up. Unfortunately, this style of gameplay hits that not-so-sweet spot between not requiring much thought or skill, but still requiring your attention. I should add that I don’t actually enjoy the gameplay of these dance battles – they’re not exciting, dynamic, or challenging – but I also can’t just put them on auto-play while I do the dishes.
Thankfully, if your cards are a high enough level that you’re pretty much guaranteed to win, you can skip the battle altogether with an auto-win. However, this is only helpful if your cards are already overpowered, which is unlikely to be the case if you’re trying to clear the next chapter of the story.
Playing events is by far the most efficient way to stockpile the necessary items to increase the power of your cards, but even still, I’ve spent many, many hours hitting the ‘Clear x5’ or ‘Clear x3’ buttons and watching mindlessly as numbers go up until I can finally unlock the next level cap… only to then realise that if I now want to quickly level up the card, then I’ll desperately need more Grimm after I spent it all unlocking the Devil Tree spaces.
It’s this mindless grinding and the steep curve in card power requirements that makes progressing through Obey Me’s main story difficult – again, not in an exciting, challenging way, but in a monotonous, time-consuming way. If you have the time to grind out Obey Me’s frequent events, then maybe you’ll be able to level up your cards enough to proceed in the story, but chances are, you’ll be so busy trying to clear the event that you won’t have any time left to actually play the main story anyway.
But, dance battle rant aside, this is a series of story reviews, not minigame reviews. While it may be difficult to level up your cards and clear the dance battle stages, there’s a reason why I (and many other players) continue to return to the game — and that’s the story. Below is a review of Lesson 5, but please be warned that I have included some spoilers in order to properly review this next chapter of the Obey Me story…
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
While I previously praised Obey Me for being able to establish its setting and cast through story-relevant interactions, this Lesson does unfortunately err on the side of ‘telling’ through passages of exposition, rather than ‘showing’ through implication and symbolism. There are a few scenes where characters will simply sit down and tell MC what the player needs to know, rather than letting us figure it out through hints and the way in which certain elements are presented.
For example, early in the chapter we see Lucifer lecturing Mammon, Beel, and MC for over three hours. Through this interaction, we learn that Lucifer is the self-appointed head of the household who can be a little over-zealous in trying to keep his brothers in line.
Furthermore, before the scene cuts to a blank screen that says ‘three hours later’, the writers take the time to make Lucifer specifically mention how their actions affect Diavolo. This implies that his primary concern – the thing the writers deliberately emphasised – is his loyalty and sense of duty to Diavolo.
However, this subtle and effective strategy of conveying Lucifer’s personality and priorities to the audience is undermined when, later in the lesson, the writers explicitly state the exact things we learned through these interactions. Beel specifically says that since they came to the Devildom, Lucifer only cares about serving Diavolo, even if it goes against his own values.
I understand that this is an important part of Lucifer’s character, but I generally got the sense in the second half of this Lesson that the writers were over-explaining certain elements, which slowed down the pace of the story and made the earlier interactions kind of redundant. There were also several scenes with Mammon, Luke, and Beel where they straight up just explain stuff to MC.
Obviously, exposition is sometimes necessary and it’s not inherently bad to have these moments included in the story, but the writers have already demonstrated that they’re able to communicate these ideas without exposition, so it feels more repetitive than useful.
After an impressive, dynamic, fast-paced introduction to the story in the first few lessons, the intensity and excitement has started to peter out. These explanation-heavy scenes combined with the increase in minigames compared to story parts has already made my motivation to keep reading dwindle, which is a shame after the intensity and impact of the initial Lesson.
☆ Beel destroys the kitchen and MC’s room in a rampage after Mammon eats his custard (understandable)
☆ While the repairs are taking place, MC temporarily moves in with Beel
☆ Lilith is name-dropped for the first time
☆ MC realises the man in the attic is none other than Beel’s twin brother, Belphegor
☆ Luke has a fight with Simeon and runs away from home (only to stay with MC in Beel’s room)
☆ Luke disappears and it’s up to Beel and MC to find him…
That being said, there were enough plot hooks to keep me invested and sometimes a lull in intensity is appreciated, so players can focus on processing what they’ve already learned from the story so far. It just stands out more due to the speed and dynamism of the previous lessons, and the fact that the writers have resorted to explaining things the player would already have picked up on, despite doing an amazing job of implying these things in the first place.
Still, the interactions between characters and the comedy is where Obey Me shines, and this continues to be a core factor of the story’s entertainment, even in a slower Lesson. I particularly loved the initial scene, where Lucifer lectures Mammon, Beel, and MC. The banter between the brothers establishes their dynamics, and shows the reader their differing values.
Later into the Lesson, when Luke becomes a more prominent character, we get an interesting glimpse into the relationships between Angels and Demons, and by extension between the Celestial Realm and the Devildom. We learn more about Simeon’s motivations through his conflict with Luke, and the player is invited to make a value judgement on this through player choices.
Furthermore, through Simeon’s callous treatment of Luke (who, by all accounts, is described as basically being a child), we see that not all angels are infallibly kind and pure-hearted – and through Luke’s transparent hatred of demons, we see that there’s prejudice in the Celestial Realm that again implies the divide between good and evil may not be as clear cut as people might claim it to be.
Despite the slowing in pace, there is still a lot to learn in this Lesson and it’s an intriguing opportunity to sit with the concepts introduced thus far and continue to explore the lore of Obey Me. It primarily focuses on Lucifer, Beel, and Belphie (with Lilith also being introduced), and the relationship they shared both in their present lives in the Devildom, and their previous lives in the Celestial Realm.
It sets up motivations for the key characters in this plot arc’s conflict, and allows players to essentially pick a side through their dialogue choices. It also continues to develop the setting and cast, although I do think this could have been done in a more subtle way than simply explaining it to the audience.
Still, I’m curious to keep reading more in Lesson 6, and after a brief lull in action, I get the sense that the cliff-hanger at the end of Lesson 5 exists to begin building tension again for the chapters to come…
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