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Dealing with societal inequity and racial prejudice, far heavier themes than the average video game, Gungnir's intense narrative offers gamers a world worth saving and characters deserving of empathy and attention.
Building upon the traditional action queue of turn?based SRPGs, actions in Gungnir all have a numerical wait interval associated with them. Faster actions bear smaller numbers, allowing them to precede slower preexisting attacks.
Developer Sting has a proud, extensive history of expertly crafted, highly innovative RPGs, having garnered critical acclaim and fan admiration with classics like Riviera, Yggdra Union, and Knights in the Nightmare.
Though the plot of Gungnir is ultimately incomplete, I see many parallels with this game, both in terms in how the plot is revealed and between certain characters of this game and another game series called "Trails in the Sky: First Chapter" Both of these games end on a cliffhanger ending, include and expand on the importance of family ties in relation to children who are adopted, and many of the events that are mentioned in-game have not yet come to pass but will most likely be addressed and resolved in an upcoming sequel.
Although it depends on your perspective, the strategy simulation-like structure of the gameplay hinders the players from seeing more detailed interactions between the characters in my opinion. The characters are detailed enough that you can comprehend their underlying motives and sympathize with them, though some of their more interesting quirks and expanded details are recorded in the Gungnir Artbook in the original Japanese.
For example, Valerie Brighid became a vegetarian ever since the Imperial faction killed off her family since her father was the leader of the Republic faction. She avoids eating meat because they remind her too much of dead bodies.
Back the gameplay, being able to knock characters off maps and drowning works both ways, and the guard/counter system, when combined with the group Wait times and the Tactics guage makes for challenging but rewarding battles. Did I mention that friendly fire is a main component of this game as well? In some extreme cases, friendly fire actually can save your team, rather than harm them from further damage that would be caused by the numerous status effects which pop out in-game such as being frozen.Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I've been playing it now for awhile and I'm still thrilled with it! (Updated)June 21 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I'll be brief, and write a more detailed review once I have some more play time down. This is one of the more 'traditional' games developed by Sting. Which is not to say this is a Disgaea or FF Tactics clone by calling it 'traditional'. But unlike the previous Sting titles (Crimson Gem Saga, Yggdra Union, and Riviera), this one bears some semblance to games of the strategy RPG genre.
The game gives the option of a difficulty setting. I chose Hard (being a veteran SRPG player), and it's tough without being impossible. Normal might be a cakewalk for most players. Of course later in the game I may regret this...
Battles take place on a 3-d isometric grid. Battles are fun and fluid with plenty of action. The story is nice and progresses well. The use of dialogue in battle is a nice dramatic touch.
Leveling is where the game gets interesting and might cause me to replay the game several times. You can level characters and equipment, then recycle old gear to level up new stuff. Leveling characters makes them stronger, leveling equipment unlocks bonuses and skills.
All in all it's fun and very deep. I wouldn't say as deep as Disgaea games, but definitely rivaling most other strategy RPGS on the PSP. Buy if you like Sting titles or solid SRPGs like FF Tactics, Tactics Ogre, or Disgaea.
---- Update: The game gets really tough on the advanced difficulty setting. But what I like is that the programmers didn't make it like Street Fighter where increased difficulty means more damage to you while you hit for less damage on the enemy. Instead the enemy gets really quite creative. The AI is impressive. You find that the enemies will block off your characters so that you can only get one or two in to attack position. They also set up chain attacks frequently. The only boneheaded thing they do is they still jump off tall ledges to take damage. Though this often happens so they can get their character into better position.
If you don't figure out how to properly deploy and position characters and use the Tactics gauge properly (for those quick charge or whatever they are called - where you spend Tactic Points to hasten your turn), then you will be seeing game over screens a lot. Even then you will find yourself losing characters frequently. But it never seems cheap. It's kind of like "Ah man, I can't believe I let my character get backed into a corner like that!". Just don't get too attached to your characters (except the regular NPC characters), you will lose some.
Also of note: the decisions you make affect the progression of the game. When you select whether to slay or spare someone or what course of action to take, it will affect the story. This encourages multiple plays through though. I haven't played through a second time, but I look forward to the changes if I select "To destroy the Empire" instead of "To protect others" when receiving Gungnir.
Oh, and I wanted to point out, there is a time limit for battles, but I haven't surpassed the limits yet. They give you plenty of time though it seems. I think they just don't want you endlessly farming crystals.
Since you can't optionally level up in this game (no optional battles), you might want to keep a few save files handy. I got to a point where I had trouble clearing the stage, and sadly had to go back to the beginning of the game and plan my progress better. As a linear, tough strategy RPG, this is great. But the linear aspect can be a bit frustrating. I always enjoyed the optional battles in FFTactics and Disgaea, but this game doesn't have that. You will need to be careful or you can get stuck at a certain point. Just warning you.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Gungnir: THE Best PSP tactical game... EVER!June 21 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Gungnir's story starts you off leading a small band of thieving rebels trying to ambush a passing imperial caravan. Just when they think they'll get a decent meal, it turns out there's no food or cash aboard the wagons, just some worthless little rich girl. Oh well... it's an honest mistake! However, you find out a little later that just about every rich bugger outside of the slums wants the girl dead, & will happily massacre all the residents & stab your hero & co. in the back, just to find the lost rich girl! It's a good thing that magical spears & Valkries come to your aid, else... your corpse would have just got kicked in the river with everyone else... Enter Gungnir, The Spear of Odin... That seems to just summon every other Norse deity! But it's still one heck of a weapon, considering it's still the start of game! Now, With your hero just barely surviving the massacre, It's now time for the all the fun rebellion plans of the poor people to start! Lead the survivors of the slums strategically into Victory!
*All the battle basics / control stuff is explained quite well in the game, but I'll try to briefly sum it all up here*
The Battles take place on a grid-battle field, with each enemy characters getting a turn,& then you deciding what member of your team will act during your move phases. Characters can boost or team up attacks(if fellow members are within range). All characters have to wait after they act & can move again, but your party members can act faster if you don't mind them taking a HP penalty. Depending on how well a battle goes, treasure chests & crystals can appear in the next fight!
Characters can level up both themselves & their weapons! With enough levels on a weapon, it unlocks new skills & becomes more powerful, saving you some cash when it's time to buy new supplies. Also, there's a alchemist who can recycle unneeded items into crystals, then level up your favorite stuff!
Characters come in all sorts of different classes & equip different things: Fencers stick mostly to swords & heavy armor, Magic users prefer light robes, books, & staffs, etc. While some equipment is unique to one character or class, other stuff is just too heavy for your lv5 soldier to carry around, but don't just sell everything off! Items have capacity levels, the better a weapon or armor is, the more capacity it'll take up. Leveling up characters seems to heighten their capacity, or you can just swap stuff between party members til it all fits! (it's actually fun! he,he,he! =)
You can go to the Guild to recruit new party members. While you can just pay gold & get any random class soldier, giving up a certain type of weapon will insure your only shown recruits who can use that sort of weapon. But! if it's the last one you have, save it! Weapons used to lure in new party members will be eternally lost. You can also just wait for the Camp menu to show up, where there are always at least 3 members waiting to join you! They're really weak, but everything looks much better when it's free!
And the best part: when you pick a difficulty level... the game is actually that level! Normal is fine & going by like a breeze, & hard is, well, harder! so unlike previous Sting/Atlus games, this one doesn't make it impossible for your heroes to pull through to the end. Rah!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not just another Tactics Ogre clone.July 12 2012
Rocco J. Carello
- Published on Amazon.com
Gungnir may look like a simple clone of Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics, but it is actually quite unique. While sharing a similar perspective to these well known Tactical RPGs, Gungnir does some rather interesting things with it's Tactics Gauge and Time systems. I do not wish to go into all the intricate details here, but the combat system provides a lot of flexibility and interesting tactical decisions while also rewarding players who plan ahead.
+ Unique gameplay elements. + Selectable difficulties AND difficulty scales with your performance. + Multiple endings. - Story is nothing special. - Interface could use some improvement.
I would recommend this to anybody who currently enjoys tactical RPGs, or anybody who wishes to try one and is not intimidated by complicated game rules.
good sellerJuly 8 2014
Adam D Stahl
- Published on Amazon.com
Underrated GemMay 3 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
A stiff and satisfying challenge, a well written/translated script and a different feel and flow give this tactical RPG the edge over cookie cutter competitors. Give it a chance and learn its system and you will be rewarded with one of the PSP's best.