Record of Agarest War is by no means a new game -- it'll be a year old come April -- but even so I have chosen it as the topic of this blog. Perhaps it was due to the grossly misrepresentative advertising campaign that had captured both my heart and imagination, but upon actually purchasing and playing it, I found myself immensely disappointed. The images on GiantBomb's own wiki page for Agarest War will further strengthen this dissonance I feel. Behold:
Now, I've played 40 hours of Agarest War. Not only have I not run into either of these CGs, but the sole 'erotic' CG I have encountered was far tamer than what I was lead to believe. This is fine. I didn't purchase this game seeking hentai. However, I was not amused when I found that to access these CGs I must slog through hours and hours of repetitive SRPG battles. Let me say this: the gameplay isn't terrible (though it's no Disgaea). If there were 1/5 the encounters, it'd be brilliant. Indeed, if either the CGs were more numerous or the battles less repetitive, I would have enjoyed my time with Agarest War far more.
That is not to say that Agarest is utterly bereft of any redeeming features, though. The gameplay's one original conceit is the seamless mixture of dating sim elements into the storyline. Occasionally, you will be offered several choices. Each choice will raise the affection of one heroine at the expense of another. This is important, as the game is broken into several parts, dubbed 'Generations' : at the end of the first generation, you must choose one of the three aforementioned heroines. You will then impregnate her and your progeny will be whisked away to another continent to do it all over again. Depending on the heroine's affection, your child will have differing stats.
Unfortunately, the heroines are mostly bland. For Generation One, there is Fyuria, an elf-like girl with small breasts; Luana, an eccentric woman with medium-sized breasts; and Elaine, a noble human warrior-princess with large breasts. Generation Two's selection is similar, featuring: a miko with small breasts, an aristocratic woman with medium-sized breasts, and an odd cat lady with ridiculously-sized breasts. Furthermore, I suspect the already-limited CGs are split between these characters: yet another disappointment.
The gameplay, as mentioned prior, is not inherently terrible per se. It held my interest until I needed to replay missions to level up to beat a boss, at which point I paid for $15 worth of DLC in an attempt to free myself from the onerous shackles of grinding. It worked -- I took out the boss in a single hit -- and from that point forward the battle system became nothing more than a buffer between myself and the next story section.
As it stands, Agarest tries to be both a visual novel and a tactical RPG, succeeding at neither. Lacking either titillating images or absorbing gameplay, there is little to be found in Record of Agarest War. For $30, you could do worse. You could also do far better.