Gungnir is a strategy RPG developed by Sting Entertainment and published by Atlus for the PlayStation Portable in Japan on June 12, 2012. Atlus USA released the game in North America a year later in 2012 and eventually in Europe in 2013 (only digital). The title is Episode IX in Sting's loosely connected Dept. Heaven series designed by Shinichi Ito, although the game is technically the fourth entry in franchise.
The empire of Gargandia is made from many peoples, but the Leonican ethnic minority is subject to persection, enough persecution to cause them to rise up time and time again. By the time of the game's beginning, the group is restricted largely to one small corner of the empire in ghetto-like reservations, managed by distant, greedy overlords from the main ethnic group, the Daltons.
The recent rebellions are sparked by Esperanza, lead by Ragnus Raguel, adopted son of the slain previous leader. After a squad lead by his younger brother Guilio rescues a mysterious teenage girl from slavers, fate lands the titular Gungnir into Esperanza's hands, and another revolution begins.
While less exotic and mind-bending than other recent Sting titles, Gungnir comes equipped with a few tricks and twists to earn its place as a distinctive SRPG.
Battles take place in the familiar territory of a grid of squares, with the usual complexities of height, ravines, and differing terrain to deal with and take advantage of. The first twist is Gungnir utilizes an "Ace", a leader of sorts for the team. The Ace (who is always a character for your side) grants bonuses to certain generic classes' Wait Time (WT), reducing the time that character can act without penalty (more on this later), and which classes recieve this varies by the Ace. As a cost, if the Ace dies, it's a game over, but this also affects the enemy, potentially leading to opportunites to win faster.
Spread out amongst the usual buildings, rocks, ponds, and trees are Points, Crystals, Collect Points, and Treasure Chests. Points come in two flavors: Base Points and Retreat Points. Base Points are capturable nodes that, when taken, allow for more Tactics Points to be accrued, while Retreat Points allow members of the team whose flag is on the Point to escape and be replaced by a fresh unit. Crystals drop Alchemal crystals when struck by the element of the weapon wielded by the attacker. Collect Points allow you to pick up rocks to throw or various minor treasures. Treasure Chests give valuable loot provided you not Retry.
Time moves differently for you and your opponents. Your opponents get their turns in the manner of most SRPGs where each unit has their own WT which must be emptied before they recieve another turn. Your crew however share a single turn that comes up far quicker than they otherwise would. There is a punishment keeping a single ringer from mowing down enemies every turn however: if a characters WT is not below 5 and the character moves again, their max HP is reduced by that percentage for the rest of the battle unless healed.
Manipulating the clock further is Scramble. By stopping the battle clock with the R trigger, you stop time. If you have enough Tactics Points accrued via moving, you can sacrifice some to gain another turn for your party (handy when you need to get clear of a powerful spell or that one enemy unit must die now.)
Tactics Points provide more than just time-manipulation fuel, the higher the TP, the higher the damage from every attack (approximately 1% per point of TP). TP can also be utilized for Beats and Boosts.
Beats are similar to systems of ganging up on a target found in Front Mission 4 or the Disgaea series. If the lead character connects with their attack, allies at any side of the target can do a followup attack for half damage guarenteed. Note also this attack ignores elemental type, mobility issues, or allied characters, and can afflict ailments of the wielded weapon. The only restrictions are line-of-sight, TP restricts the distance allies can take part, and that no enemy can be between the target and the ally, making Beats valuable offense in a resource-scarce game dominated by offense. Beats consume 2 Tactics Points per unit.
Boosts come from gear that grant Boost skills, often in the Hand slot, and grant passive bonuses to the attack. Bonuses range from boosting various forms of attack (melee, ranged, magical), accuracy, upping damage against an Ace, and so on. Boosts can stack and cost 1 Tactics Point per unit.