Archive for the ‘Strategy RPG Reviews’ Category.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift – Staff Review

When you’re a kid, summer vacation is the best time for swimming, riding bikes, and playing outside until after sundown. But for Luso, the main character of Final Fantasy Tactics A2, summer vacation is about leading a clan, fighting monsters, and saving another world. It is the making of an epic “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay. Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift – Staff Review’ »

Wild ARMs XF – Staff Review

The Wild ARMs series has never been known for stellar quality, but the games — excluding the second installment, which left many fans with PTSD — are still the objects of affection for many RPG connoisseurs. Naturally, players have certain standards and tolerances when it comes to Wild ARMs games. They know they aren’t getting a perfectly polished game, just an above average one that gains appeal largely from nostalgic references.

So when a longtime fan recognizes that the newest Wild ARMs title isn’t up to the series’ standards, you know it’s bad.
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Blurring the Line: Fallout: Tactics – Staff Review

Coming in on the heels of the popular Fallout RPGs, Fallout: Tactics was bound to confuse more than a few fans with its radical departure in gameplay and story. As a squad-based strategy game, Tactics feels closer to titles like Silent Storm or X-Com than its role-playing ancestors, with the Fallout license as essentially a coat of paint. Though it has its share of problems, and suffers simply by virtue of not being Fallout 3, Tactics is nonetheless a competent strategy game with an uncommon amount of content and depth. Continue reading ‘Blurring the Line: Fallout: Tactics – Staff Review’ »

Soul Nomad – Staff Review

Long ago, a powerful warrior and grim reaper of sorts by the name of Gig appeared, along with three mighty beings known as World Eaters. Together, they wrought devastation upon the world thanks to their superior power and otherworldly abilities. At last, some hope came when Gig was sealed away within a sword. Of course, there was still the not-so-small problem of the remaining World Eaters. This is where the hero of Soul Nomad and the World Eaters comes in. He or she, depending on the player’s choice, takes up the sword that Gig was sealed in, gaining some of Gig’s powers. However, these borrowed powers come at a price. The more the hero takes advantage of them, the closer Gig will come to being able to take control of their body. Given that the hero’s mission is to hunt down and defeat the remaining World Eaters, all while getting caught up with the motives of various factions, the offer for more power is going to become awfully tempting at times. Continue reading ‘Soul Nomad – Staff Review’ »

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness – Staff Review

When Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was released in late 2003, it quickly became a sleeper hit, its offbeat humor and complex tactical RPG gameplay combining to make it a highly appealing entry in an underrepresented genre. Although none of NIS’s games have done quite as well in North America, Disgaea is still going strong, with a sequel and now a nearly picture-perfect port of the original game to the PSP, with a few minor additions. Although Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness purports to offer an entire post-lunchtime of darkness, what it gains over the original is honestly not that impressive, making this version more of an extended brunch. Continue reading ‘Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness – Staff Review’ »

Blurring the Line: Silent Storm: Sentinels

It’s difficult enough for a video game to tackle the second World War without seeming stale and cliche; to remind us we’ve landed at Omaha beach before, and in better games. Compound that with the typical problems of an expansion pack – that they tend to retread the same ideas in the same engine featuring the same story – and you’ve got every reason to believe that Nival’s add-on to their sleeper hit Silent Storm is going to be underwhelming. Against all odds, however, Silent Storm: Sentinels is bolstered by the strong gameplay of its predecessor and brings enough new ideas to the table to keep the formula fresh – or at least from becoming too stale. Continue reading ‘Blurring the Line: Silent Storm: Sentinels’ »

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance – Staff Review

It’s fairly common for video game enthusiasts to have dreams about whichever game they are currently playing. Sometimes aspects of real life will become blended with the game inside the dream. Some people may even have nightmares in which they are trapped within the game.
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Growlanser: Heritage of War – Staff Review

A continent, sealed off from the rest of the world by powerful barriers, has been plagued by amphibious creatures known as Screapers, causing humans to be pushed inland. This isn’t the end of the troubles though; the land has also begun to decay forcing humans to turn on one another over scraps of land capable of producing crops. Tired of these wars, two orphans by the names of Seldous and Vanette have begun to scour the world, following the legend of a civilization that was able to bring peace and prosperity to the world. Though peace is the ultimate goal, the world is war-torn and full of warriors with their own goals in mind. With the threat of the Screapers and wild monsters as well, the heroes will be going through a lot of battles as they progress towards their goals. Continue reading ‘Growlanser: Heritage of War – Staff Review’ »

Final Fantasy Tactics: the War of the Lions – Staff Review

Despite having some game-breaking bugs and a translation just this side of gibberish, Final Fantasy Tactics has gone on to gather quite an impressive following in the decade since its launch, and today it is widely recognized as one of the classics of the gaming world. With the release of Final Fantasy Tactics: the War of the Lions on the PSP, Square Enix has managed to fix some of the game’s more glaring issues, bugs and translation included. Of course, with this new version comes problems of its own, such as low sound quality and a slight but persistent amount of slowdown and lag. However, even with these problems, the new translation, added content, and a slight rebalancing of the Job Class system makes Final Fantasy Tactics: the War of the Lions the definitive version of this gaming classic, and worth a look to anyone with even a passing interest in tactical RPGs.  Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy Tactics: the War of the Lions – Staff Review’ »

Blurring the Line: Silent Storm

World War II games are a dime a dozen these days, so normally it takes a unique hook or extremely skillful presentation to set a game apart from the pack. Silent Storm, a strategy RPG by Nival Interactive, has the good sense to try for both, and fortunately it usually succeeds. It is a game brought low by technical issues and a threadbare plot, but elevated to almost epic status by fantastic gameplay and almost unprecedented tactical depth. Continue reading ‘Blurring the Line: Silent Storm’ »

Jeanne d’Arc – Staff Review

RPGs as a whole have a penchant for history, often absorbing established historical fact piecemeal into their plots. Jeanne d’Arc takes this much further than most, taking more or less the entire history of Joan of Arc into its plot, altering 15th century Europe and the Hundred Years War to fit a fantasy RPG template, complete with Elves, Dwarves, and a race of animal people known as Therions. Continue reading ‘Jeanne d’Arc – Staff Review’ »