Agarest: Generations of War

Posted on October 23rd, 2013 by Ryu Sheng |

agarest_logo

At the dawn of time, a terrible war raged between the forces of good and evil, ending in the destruction of the world of Agarest. After their victory, the Gods of Light unified the decaying bodies of the Gods of Darkness and created a new world.
Now, the forces of darkness are awakening once again…
• Choose the path of Darkness or Light through a truly epic story, spanning multiple generations
• Battle hundreds of different creatures using an array of character abilities, in a compelling and innovative turn-based combat system
• Build your ultimate army of warriors and master Extra Skills, Special Arts and Over Kills to defeat colossal enemies!
• Unite with your chosen heroine and use the “Soul Breed” system to shape the fate of the next generation of heroes

Agarest: Generations of War includes many unique features that cannot be found in any other Strategy Role Playing Game. Here’s a summary of some of the best:

Extended Area

Extended Area is the “Linked Area” set for both your party and your enemies. Each character in the game has a uniquely shaped extended area. When a character’s turn comes around, all other characters in the Extended Area of the character in play (and characters in the extended areas of those characters!) can combine in an extended attack. This allows you to chain your party’s attacks together, allowing access to more Arts and huge Combos!

Blacksmith’s Guild

You can upgrade various Items and Equipment at the Blacksmith’s Guild in two different ways:

By Enhancement: You can enhance equipment to a maximum of Level 5. Once an Item is enhanced to Level 5, you can convert the Item, changing it into something else. This process is irreversible and the original item is lost. Experimentation reveals some great new items!

Through Alchemy: Alchemy allows you to combine several items to create a single, more powerful piece of equipment. While you lose the items used in the alchemy, you gain a powerful new piece of equipment and permanent access to your new item in the Shop! Alchemy can create powerful new weapons and armour but occasionally a Smithing Accident will occur and the smith will create a different item than what you expected!

The “Soul Breed” system

Agarest takes place across 5 generations of heroes, starting with your first character, Leonhardt. During each generation you will build relationships with 3 different female party members, and at the end of each generation’s story arc you must choose to marry one of the girls.

Your choice of marriage partner is restricted to girls who’ve grown fond of you over a particular generation. Your options are determined by your choices during conversations at certain points of the story.

The girl you choose as your wife – and the strength of their relationship with you – will determine the abilities of the main character in the next generation of the story. You’ll have to experience multiple playthrough’s to see all of the character possibilities open to you! What heroes might you create?

Well, that’s the corporate blurb out the way and what a lot there was!! I felt it was worth posting though as it does a great job (rather unexpectedly) of explaining the game. Now onto the review, but before we do I need to explain how this post is going work. It’s coming in two parts, the first will be about the game itself, is it good, bad, best thing since sliced cheese? all that stuff. The second part will be on the PC port which was done by Ghostlight.

I felt it important to separate the two since the original version was done by a completely different company.

So, lets get on!!

I have yet to complete this game, I’m now well over 100 hours into the game and on my 5th playthrough and it looks like I may finally get to the ending. Before we go anywhere I just need to re-emphasise that, 100 hours!! and over 80 of those were in the first week of launch. No other game (with the exception of Persona 4 Golden) has taken over my life to that extent. And very few games have kept my attention and desire to play for this long.

That aspect alone makes me shout at the top of my voice, though a bullhorn, that this is a game worth buying.

However, don’t be fooled. While this is very firmly in the TJRPG genre (Tactics JRPG) like the Disgaea franchise, it’s not as complex. I want to give it the ‘lite’ label, but that wouldn’t really do the game justice. While it’s easier to pick up than Disgaea, it has a lot of complexity in it, and mastering the game is no easy feat.

Yet at the same time it’s not the most complex of games, and once you figure out how things work it does indeed loose a bit of appeal.

What made this an interesting game for me was the story. We have the typical handsome knight who realises he’s wrong and sets about to put things right. Fails miserably and gets splattered. Mystical being makes a contract with him and brings him back to life but binds him and his progeny to a purpose.

This makes for an interesting tale, since we now have a story spanning a total of five generations. During each generation you travel and fight, heading towards your goal, picking up followers and lovers. Some of your followers are ‘immortal’ and stay with you through the generations, others, such as the love interests, are there for just that generation.

Each generation gives you a chance at three different love interests, and depending on how well you woo your girl, your kid will change. This makes for some interesting replays where you change your love interests. these changes are very important since it will change your character ‘class’ and give you different weapons. Magic, daggers, guns, swords and spears are all potential weapons, and as you’d imagine each have a different play style.

The combat is pretty much your generic TJRPG style combat. Grid based, move range, skill range etc. etc. However Idea Factory change things up a bit by adding linking. Depending on where your characters are on the field you can connect with other characters and perform some really amazing combos.

linking 3

If you position them right you can have your entire party linked together and smacking the crap out of a boss pulling off various combo shots. While you may not think it’s an important feature initially, your quickly shown that this linking is an integral part of the game, and will hurt you in the long run if you don’t do it. Linking, as well as allowing you to pull of combo attacks and beat the crap out of mobs that a single character probably wouldn’t hurt that much; also means you’re doing multi hits. The higher the combo count the better since at the end of the fight you’ll be given your rewards. During the fights as you kill mobs you’ll get items as rewards, but at the end you’re give several other rewards: Gold, EP, PP, and TP.

linking

Gold, well gold is gold. you use it to buy stuff.

EP are Enhancement Points, you use these at the blacksmith to upgrade weapons, armours, spells, pretty much everything. they all have five levels and, as you’d expect, the higher the level the more EP it costs. Some weapons can cost ridiculous amounts of EP to upgrade. so you have to consider whether something is actually worth upgrading. An item costing 6EP to upgrade is nothing, but what about an items costing 12000EP and up. this makes your upgrading more tactical and less wasteful. However, you do waste some EP on upgrades because to get some materials you HAVE to fully upgrade an item. Once you hit lvl5 you can upgrade once more and destroy the weapon but gain some sort of crafting material. Again you need to consider the pro’s and con’s.

PP = Party Points are free boosts to your character stats. These accumulate rather slowly and are easy to spend. It can cost 8PP to upgrade a stat by 1 point, and PP is the slowest to accumulate. So you need to be very cautious about how you spend them.

TP= Technical Points, these are earned by your combo’s. Think of it this way, the higher the combo you hit the more TP you’ll get. TP is used in the Adventure’s store to buy rare items, weapons and spells.

Like a lot of games in this genre there’s a lot of grinding in the game, getting the EP and TP needed to get the upgrades and items does take a lot of time. However, to get the ‘True Ending’ there’s a 500 turn limit. So while your grinding away you need to keep in mind the turn count. thankfully in certain areas the turn count pauses. So you could spend 500 turns in there and not actually lose any off your game limit. The game will punish you though if you stay in an area your over levelled for, the game will give you a lower grade for your fight and thus your rewards are less. This means the game will push you on after a while.

Apparently, when the game was initially released in the west there was a lot of complaints about how hard the game was. In answer to this Idea Factory produced a LOT (over 30) of DLC. What these did was gave you various weapons and other cheats. If you bought all the DLC you’d pretty much breeze through the game. They did also produce five other DLC, these are dungeons giving you an additional place to level up.

If I’m reading this right, the original game was translated and released by Aksys Games. And this is where I have to say the game fails badly. Like a lot of JRPG’s it’s been heavily localised. And when i say heavy i mean STUPIDLY localised. We get a character saying a single word (usually ‘hai’) and Aksys re-wrote that as a paragraph.

to be fair a lot of the time it’s not that noticeable, however the times it comes to the fore are painfully obvious. These moment destroy immersion and for me, are game breaking. The text is usually so jarring it’s a ‘WTF’ moment that pulls me from the story. I usually take a break and come back later. This is always bad, and companies really need to move from localisation and realise that their customers aren’t idiots.

And that’s pretty much everything i can think of on the game side of things. So lets move onto the PC Port by Ghostlight….

I’m surprised, and happy to say the port is damn near perfect. There were the usual teething problems at launch, but the vast majority of those were down to user issues with conflicting or none installed codecs, as well as the pre-requisite stuff not installing properly.

The game has full keyboard and mouse implementation, but as you’d expect with this type of game it works best with a 360 pad.

There have been a few minor problems along the way, such as the achievements not updating and a problem with the steam cards. And the weird graphical bug:

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If you look at the selected toon, Furiya, you’ll notice that her daggers are out of synch with her body and seem to be hovering in front of her. This was supposedly fixed in a recent patch, but i do still have it. It’s not a huge problem, but a weird one, and as bugs go in a PC port it’s negligible.

Ghostlight have gone out of their way to give the fans the things they’ve wanted in the game, as far as they were able to. Steam Cards were added after fan requests, as was disabling the auto pause which would pause the game every time the game window lost focus.

Truth be told, the only ‘major’ bug I’ve encountered is the inability to rotate the camera with the 360 pad. It works during the movement phase of the turn, but not during the combat phase; which is when it’s really needed.

Personally i consider this to be near perfect, with only one minor niggle, DLC. I pre-ordered the game and got some of the DLC for free, but they’ve slowly been adding others to the steam page. The game is priced at £15, which i have to admit i do think is a bit pricey, but only just. I paid £12 when i pre-ordered and i think that was about the right price for it.

The DLC however is where the problem lies. Currently we’ve got 13 of the 32 provided DLC available, and buying all of them will cost you a staggering £21.47. Considering these are all cheat DLC this is insane. By cheat DLC I mean these are all aimed at making you OP in the early game. the weapons, amour and spells you get will carry you over to the 3rd Generation, which when combined with the points packs make the early game stupidly easy. Even the later generations become relatively easy because of the boosts you’ve gotten.

Honestly, i would say don’t buy ANY of the DLC, there’s no need for them. The only ones i would have said to get are the 5 dungeon DLC, but those are already included in the game for free.

Other than that though, I highly recommend this game. I’ll probably spend another 100 hours trying to finish it and i wont regret it. I’m now hoping Ghostlight port the others in the series over to PC as well, I’d buy them in a heart beat.

You can currently buy this game over on Steam for £14.99. I wouldn’t bother with the DLC though.

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