If we look back on the PSOne era, one of the most well known developers that made good RPGs was Red Entertainment. The company developed Thousand Arms, a highly acclaimed RPG with a mix of dating SIM feature that allowed the main protagonist to build relationships with other characters. Almost a decade later, Red Entertainment and Spectral Souls developer (Idea Factory) bring us Record of Agarest War, a next-generation strategy role-playing game with the same dating SIM feature that we found in Thousand Arms.
Record of Agarest War is being published by Aksys Games and is slated to be released on April 27. I had the privilege to play the final build of the game and managed to get through a decent amount of gameplay. As with every Japanese role playing game, it starts with an opening anime cutscene. The story revolves on some kind of war that’s been going on for ages. You play as a Leonhardt, a lonesome soldier who leaves his job to protect this Elf despite all the hatred the Elves have been getting for centuries. From there starts the epic adventure of Leonhardt where it will turn into a war that history will remember. RPG fans worried about cheesy English voice overs shouldn’t do so as Agarest of War is equipped with the original voice over only. That’s right, throughout the game you will be hearing the original Japanese voice overs, and it’s uncut too.
As for the gameplay, it is the classic strategy RPG that we all adore. However, it is a hard game. You will have to really spend your time planning your attacks. You can chain your attacks in this game but you have to pair them up on a grid and use the AP points that you have to execute skills. More of the battle system will be talked in the review when it hits next week. There are also a decent of characters that can be recruited that will really help Leonhardt in his quest to save the world.
Exploring in Record of Agarest War is similar to every SRPG out there. There are no towns to explore but there is an exploration for dungeons. When you go to some places in the map, you will enable the exploration mode of the game where you can go do quest, open treasures, and even encounter random battles. When fighting enemies or venturing through dungeons, you will notice that the graphics are very old school except they’re crisp as its in HD. I believe this was done to bring back fans of classic SRPG.
Expect a lot of customizations to be done especially when you’re leveling up. Every time a character levels up, they all get points that you get to spend on the characters’ STR, AGI, VIT, INT, and LCK. The choice of whether making them strong or not is all up to you. When visiting towns, you will see a Blacksmith Shop, Item Shops, First Aid, and an Alchemy Shop where you can upgrade the equipments of the characters. The First Aid shop is like a Hospital where you can bring dead characters back to life. When someone in your party dies while exploring dungeons, they will not be healed automatically but when you’re in the World Map, all characters regain their HP after battle.
So far, Record of Agarest War manages to impress me. I am a big RPG and SRPG fans and the challenges that I’ve been getting from this game is great. The old-school graphics doesn’t bother me at all. I haven’t tried out the feature where you can date girls but I will get to that on the full review of the game. We will have the review of Agarest War in a week.Record of Agarest War Hands-On Impression,