By ttocs 31 Comments
Record of Agarest War was a title that was on my radar for some time, mainly through seeing it in magazine ads and on websites. I'm a pretty big fan of JRPGs so I was excited to see what AKSYS would bring to the states with this release. After picking up the limited edition yesterday, I've put in a solid 6 hours or so and I'm here to let you know what the game is like in the beginning. If you are on the fence about purchasing this title, you may use this as a guide to see if it will suit your taste (since there aren't many reviews out there for the game). So, without further adieu, my impressions...
Record of Agarest War is a Japanese SRPG (Strategy Role Playing Game). What this means is that you have a team of characters strategically placed on the battlefield and one by one you move them to a position and attack. The enemy will be doing the same. With Agarest though, they treat it a little different than the big boys (namely Disgaea). For starters, turns are broken into a couple steps. You begin your turn by moving all of your characters. When you are finished moving, you and the enemy move at the same time (so where an enemy is standing when you begin moving might not be where he is when you finish). After the movement phase, comes the action phase. You are given action points to do certain things. There are no free attacks, each attack will use points, as does using potions, and items. You can chose to bank points and do nothing that turn and use them for the next round, but you can never go above your maximum point count x2. Sometimes this is a good strategy on bosses, but on small mobs you won't need to do this. Another important part of attacking is that you can link up attacks depending on where you are standing in regards to other players. So, when you move, be sure to pay attention to not only the enemies position, but also where your teammates will be positioned. This all sounds a little complicated but there are some tutorials that taught it well.
So that is the quick and dirty description of the battle system (which in my opinion is the biggest part of a SRPG game). It's not the best, I'll be the first to admit, but I feel it's adequate. Disgaea does it better with obstacles and blocks, plus the maps in Agarest are pretty boring, but for some reason I had fun playing Agarest. The battles never lasted too long and I never felt I was at the end of a cheap attack by a computer. You can upgrade your characters individually after each level they receive, which is a welcome addition to any RPG fans playing the game. The system reminds me of Mass Effect where you have a couple different options and you receive a certain number of points per level you need to sink into each level of your character. As you level up you will unlock more skills and such. It's nothing revolutionary, but it works.
The other draw of the game is the dating sim that is apparently present. I haven't encountered much of it since I'm still very early in the game. I have met on e of the girls you can woo and a decision I made to go around a fort instead of threw it made her like me a little more. I'm sure there will be more choices down the ro ad with girls who like different actions at different times. I doubt you can please them all. The story also ranges across generations. So, at the end of the first generatio n (first of five parts of the game) you will need to pick a woman to have a child with. This will then move into the next generation where new girls will be present and new characters to continue your journey. This was one of the major selling points for me in getting this game, so I'm excited to see how this works.
So, there you have it, my quick and dirty first impressions of Record of Agarest War. If you aren't a SRPG fan, avoid this game. If you are an SRPG fan and ha ven't played Disgaea 3, maybe you should start there to experience one of the best SRPG games out. This game is for the rest of us. We've played Disgaea, maybe it wasn't our thing and wanted something a little toned down, not as serious...maybe you like the dating sim aspect, whatever it is, there is a lot to like with Agarest. Unfortunately, there are also some things to not like and if you are one to be brought down by the small things, you may not like this game.
So, has anyone else picked up the game? What do you think of it so far?