Sense I can't come up with a good way to start this post (I guess that's what I get for not posting much blog entries this month), I'll start with an abbreviated version of my thoughts on the game so far (I'm starting to think this will a regular thing in these posts): it's good. Rather difficult at times, and a tad complex, but good nonetheless.
Now then...with that out of the way, I'll move on to the longer and more in depth version:
So I got this game from GameFly a couple days ago. I've seen the title a few times around the 'net, but I didn't really consider playing it until I heard about it on The HotSpot. Brendan (the host) described it as a tactical role-playing game (like Fire Emblem, Disgea, etc.), mixed with Geometry Wars. And that's all took to catch my interest. After all, with a concept like that, how could I not play it?
And after playing it, I have to agree with that description. As that's what it is basically.
For the most part, it's your basic tactical RPG. You take multiple units into battle, each with a different class and order them to attack enemies with various weapons, and all that other stuff you'd expect to see. The catch, however, is that this all happens in real-time, and in addition, you can't move your units, thus forcing you to think more carefully about where you position them. And to further add to this, each class can only attack in certain directions. This makes strategy a very important element to achieving victory. As without the right units in the right spots, failure is almost certain.
While strategy is important, swift movements are key to victory as well. As if the Wisp (that's you) takes to many hits, the amount of time remaining in your turn decreases. This is where the Geometry Wars aspect comes into play. Throughout the battle, enemies will shoot projectiles of varying shapes and sizes at you. These projectiles (or "bullets" as the game calls 'em) only affect the Wisp; your units, thankfully, are safe from them. Of course, that doesn't make the game any easier, as you still have to make the Wisp dodge the bullets. Which is by no means easy. If any of you have played something like Gradius, then you'll know what to expect. For those who haven't, just imagine bullets everywhere, with very small gaps which you must guide yourself through to stay alive. That's pretty much how it is this game.
As previously mentioned, there are turns in this game, but not in the way you'd expect. Rather than having the player and the artificial intelligence take turns attacking each other, the turns are stages of the battle. The number of stages varies with each battle, but the purpose of them never changes: they act as time limits. These conditions are always the same: defeat enemies to make a line -- horizontally, vertically, or diagonally -- in the "enemy matrix" with the specified number of turns. Boss fights are similar, except for the fact that the "enemy matrix" is not present. All you have to do for those is defeat the boss within the specified number of turns. Simple. There may not be much in terms of variety, but I'm still pretty early on in the game, so that could change.
So then, on to the combat (which is probably the last thing I'll talk about before I end this blog). Again, it's what you'd expect from a game like this for the most part. Each class has their own attack range, that expands when you charge up the attack. The ranges vary from a straight vertical or horizontal line, to wide ones that encompass large portions of the map. These ranges will change depending on what the current phase is. The two phases are Law and Chaos. You can switch between the two on the fly, and each one will affect the attack ranges differently depending on the knight's class. These phases will also affect what weapons can be used to initiate a special attack, which are necessary in order to defeat enemies. The standard attacks simply force enemies to drop crystal-like stones which give you magic points, which are needed for you to use special attacks. You can only take four weapons into battle with you, so you must take much consideration into what ones into battle with you. This may sound rather confusing (it did to me when I was doing the tutorial), but it's pretty easy to get the hang of after you've done a few battles.
So overall, I'm liking it so far. It's a tad on the complicated side, but not as complex as I thought it would be. I probably should have mentioned some of the other parts of the game, but at that point, I might as well make this a review. Which is not something I'm about to do, seeing as I haven't beaten it yet. I'll get started on one once I have, though, so keep an eye out for that.