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Gungnir - PlayStation Portable Standard Edition
|List Price:||CDN$ 29.99|
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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.
- Platform: Sony PSP
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
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Amazon.ca Product Description
In a land ravaged by disparity where the impoverished must battle for survival, the fate of all is thrust into uncertainty when rebels happen upon custody of a young female noble and a magical spear of immeasurable power falls from the heavens. Now, hunted by incumbent powers desperate to reclaim the girl and armed with a weapon capable of reshaping the realm, the Resistance must wage war to deliver themselves from the tyranny of their oppressors. A unique political drama set in a captivating fantasy world: 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. Deep risk/reward battle mechanics: 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. Should the player wish, they may sacrifice tactical points, which afford them more combat options, in order to accelerate actions. From the makers of Knights in the Nightmare and Riviera: 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.
From the Manufacturer
A game as original as its narrative, Gungnir's strategy RPG mechanics offer a number of fresh twists on an expertly honed formula. The classic balance of risk and reward, a staple of Sting titles, enriches Gungnir's deep strategic battles and gives the player critical decisions to weigh.
Giulio with Gungnir, the mysterious lance of untold power.
Build Giulio's army combining story characters and mercenaries.
(JPN version image)
Elise, the mysterious protector
(JPN version image)
Entertaining event scenes take
place between major battles.
(JPN version image)
Use the tactics gauge to enact a
scramble and earn extra turns.
(JPN version image)
The liberation army Esperanza
hopes for peace in Gargania.
(JPN version image)
The Boost system strengthens a
team of units at once.
(JPN version image)
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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!
+ 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.
In Gungnir, a lot of what I have come to know as standard gameplay mechanics in SRPGs have been turned on their ear: Turn order is handled via "Clock Shift" which initially is a little frustrating to work with because it seems as though your characters practically never get a turn. Once your turn comes up, you must choose which character will act-- if they are able to, based on their "cool down" status from any previous actions. This was slightly frustrating in the beginning because I found myself neglecting certain characters on the field entirely, however, once you start getting the hang of using the clock mechanics and exploiting the system, it becomes infinitely easier to manage.
There is also a mechanic that plays out sort of similar to capture-the-flag wherein during a each battle there are flags scattered on the field which you (and enemies) can land on and "capture", and for each flag you capture it adds a point to your "Tactics Meter", and for each tactics point you have (up to 20) your team receives bonuses such as increased damage, etc... You essentially use a certain number of tactics points for any action you take, and while each action depletes the tactics meter, it recharges over time. This dynamic really adds an extra bit of strategy to consider during every battle as you try to prevent the enemy team from accumulating too many extra tactics points, steal them from you, and combinations of the like.
Also, if you have enough tactics points, you are able to "break" the clock, essentially bumping your turn up. It's not something that's recommended to do frequently, though, as it really depletes your tactics meter, but in a pinch sometimes this can be a real life saver.
Confused yet? Well this will really get you going...
Certain equipment and classes are capable of initiating "Beats" against enemy units during battle. Beats are these super-powered moves that are determined by not only equipment and character class, but unit placement and adjacency. When beats are initiated (again, using tactics points if they are available), other adjacent team members contribute to overall damage/support, sometimes dealing some really massive hurtin' to enemy units. This is by far the most elusive and confusing mechanic in the game to understand, and I still admittedly don't have a total grip on it.
I find the story line to be fairly intriguing, and although it is definitely a linear plot with very little player choice involved, the battles and mechanics are so complex that I am actually quite thankful for this. It is pretty dialogue-heavy, and although you can skip scenes, I think it would really devalue the overall experience. So, if you don't like reading then this might not be for you.
My biggest complaint is with the menu system. Buying gear and equipping it between scenes still remains for me a complete and total nightmare. There is a fair amount of complexity where equipment is concerned (improving it through "alchemy", learning and maximizing abilities, class compatibility, etc...) and the menu system totally screws you here: you can't easily compare items or even see very clearly the stats, and it becomes really aggravating to balance your team as your success in this game is completely dependent on your ability to change things up and adapt to new situations. If you like the game, though, you work around this and deal with it.
Enemy AI is at times brutal. You will decidedly lose some battles. Your characters will get knocked off the map at crucial moments. Some of your characters might even die (perma-death). Your equipment will get broken or stolen. You will be frustrated. But you will also be rewarded, and this is, for me, the hook.
And finally, just as an FYI, I missed this title on PSP and have played it via PSN download on my VIta. It looks great.
Lets start with the battle system: The premise is that you take a single turn as the game player and decide which (one) of your pawns to move, then the game moves all of its pawns. This is supposed to be balanced out by the fact that during your turn, if you put your characters into certain formations, you can perform "boost" or "beat" attacks, which chain in damage or abilities from characters in addition to the one pawn you chose. This might balance out the fact that your enemy's 10 pawns go next if not for the fact that the enemy gets to "beat" your party too! The balance of things here is awful. You die a lot. Supposedly when you die, you can restart the game at a fraction lower difficulty, but it is so insignificant that I don't notice the difficulty decreasing. And playing the same battle over and over again only to move on to another battle that you will be playing over and over again is no fun.
The Storyline: Is not engaging. There's plenty of text, its just not very deep. They have a skip feature which would come in handy when loading from save points except that it only skips over a portion of the text. The flow of the game goes from a scene with characters talking in bubble text (which can be skipped), to a screen with lots of info on what your characters are doing and a pretty background (which is long winded and cannot be skipped), to a battle. There is no map walking - the game leads you by a leash exactly to the next city you'll be stopping at and you can only purchase items from that city and only in the quantity they have in stock (on a side note, the limited availability of items is one of the few things I liked about this game as it is somewhat unique to this specific game, and didn't really harm the game playability any). In towns, you can also hire new party members (which you either don't need to do because you're given enough free units throughout the game or which means your party is dying so fast that the leveling system is irrelevant). You can also upgrade your weapons in town. Just don't lose that weapon, which you are inclined to drop if your party member dies or flees from battle.
Skills and Levels: Leveling doesn't improve stats much at all. Your party gets its skills through their weapons. After you learn a skill on your weapon, another skill may unlock on that weapon if there is another skill available. Unfortunately, you can only use a skill as long as you're carrying that weapon (even if you have mastered the skill). If you find a skill you like, you'd better get used to upgrading that weapon because you'll be using that weapon for a very long time.
Graphics: Sprites and Grids of about SNES quality. Its a typical tactics game. There isn't much there in the way of graphics, but you probably weren't expecting it. If I have any complaints, its the camera rotation on the battle screen - switching the camera angle rotates the screen into one of about 6 different positions, and if none of those angles allows you to see what you were looking for, tough. It would have been better if the camera scroll was a gradual, continual movement that you could stop when you were seeing what you needed to see.
Sound: No voice acting. The music is repetitive and not pretty enough to listen to for extended periods of time. Game best enjoyed with the volume off.
Overall: The game is not buggy, the graphics and music meet expectations, and there's not much else good to say... Go back and replay FFT - you'll be happier.