585th played so far
Platform: Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2008
I’ll be honest, based on the cover and title I figured this would be another RPG. It’s not – this is a strategy game in the style of Fire Emblem and the like, but set in a fictional World War II setup.
So to start off, this game immediately lost credit with me for the silliest of reasons. Set in a fictional world war (with magic) that takes inspiration from Europe, seeing real Dutch placenames used – not even major cities for the most part, making it seem like a really odd choice.
Getting past that, these names don’t come up quite as often during the campaign, although that still felt fairly story heavy at times. The game is divided in chapters, with several scenes each. Usually, one of them seems to be the battle for the chapter, while others are different cutscenes. Most of them drive the story, but a bunch of them are optional and give you more information on the characters. This also happens in a bunch of other side features that enrich the world. They make for a more compelling story, filling it with more characters you care about while not forcing you to sit through endless cutscenes when you just want to play.
I struggled more with the actual, core gameplay that comes in with the battles. Not all concepts are explained that well, which left me sending my characters into danger more than once when I shouldn’t have been. This is luckily compensated, at least initially, by you getting enough characters to make it through easily, but it felt a bit odd. At other times I seem to have broken their strategy by doing quite different things from what the game was build to do. That gave me some advantages (like a far better strategic position than at first) but at other times just confused story beats happening in the level.
The one big feature of the game that helped a lot with that is that the scenarios often weren’t “kill everyone”. I can recall one or two that were “kill these units”, but several maps simply relied on a “capture the base” style play where you just needed control of enough points. While still needing a lot of strategy, the strategy repeatedly led to me running to a point and capturing it, figuring out move distances and distractions for units so I could get it. In real situations, they might have been killed after and the point retaken, but as the level just ended there, it worked well enough for me.
Console strategy games of this type are, I have discovered, not always my strong suit – mostly down to exposure and not having gotten deep enough into one to really learn the genre. There were some nice changes in here from others I’ve played though, creating a better world and giving me some more options to win. It made me feel really clever about that a couple of times, as if I had really beaten the game. It’s the most entertaining in its sub genre that I’ve played so far.