22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Instead of write a formal review of the game, I thought it would be more beneficial to briefly explain the battle system since I know lots of folks have struggled immensely in the beginning stages of the game, even seasoned Agarest veterans. It's taken me days of experimenting and menu poking to finally distill all my understanding into a single passage that I think sums up the hardest part of the game: the beginning. Once you grasp this part, the rest comes naturally.
First thing's first: put the manual down. I appreciate its numerous, information-packed pages, but it is far too unclear and confusing, its ambiguity only exacerbated by wanting in-game instructions that aren't integrated as contextually as they should be. What's a spirit vessel to do? Well, If you're determined to play this game (or still on the fence about buying it), then hopefully this brief explanation will help clear up some things.
The battle system is only superficially similar to previous Agarest games, in that skill and combo names do not change and skill types and attributes are identical as well (for example, Black Mist is still a Dark Art). Gone are the in-battle menus where you select and combine your skills in "real time" into combos or single devastating attacks. Instead, all the choosing and tweaking occur outside (i.e. before) the battle screen, in the main menu screen, and it's up to you to remember which attacks will occur at what times.
And while many of the skills from previous games exist here (e.g. Power Attack, Black Mist, and in Agarest 2 they are called Active Skills), each attack is assigned a button on the controller and an associated "state." Triangle for "Up" (as in a launching attack), square for "Stun," X for "Down" (as in grounding an opponent), and circle for "Ranged." Each state is allowed to have equipped three Active Skills (again, e.g. Power Attack, Black Mist). During the very beginning stages of the game, this is all you need to know so you can get a feeling for the new layout, but as you progress you will desire something more, as in combos.
To explain combos we need to elaborate on Active Skills. Each Active Skill is associated with a certain number the game refers to as "Commission Skill," and this number will display on the far right of the Skill menu screen, in a long vertical box. For example, if you add Earth Spike to an Active Skill slot, a number in the Commission Skill box next to its associated element (in this case, earth) will appear. If your previous number under earth was 0 it will increase to 1; and the more earth-type attacks you add the higher the number will become, or the higher your Commission Skill will be.
Let's set all this to an example. Sonic Blast is one of the earliest combos you'll be able to perform, let's say between Weiss and Victoria, and is activated by two successive Stun attacks. First of all, equip the Combination Skill to a character, say Weiss. You'll notice that it requires a power Commission Skill level of 1 for one character and level 2 for the second character. To get to level 1, simply add an Active Skill that will do the job, in this case Power Attack.
Although Weiss has the Combination Skill Sonic Blast equipped he still needs a partner, but Victoria's power Commission Skill level is 0. Each Combination Skill has requisites for initiation, and in this case the second character needs a power Commission Skill level of 2. To get there, simply add Active Skills of the power type to Victoria.
To perform the Combination Skill, you have to use Stun attacks on the enemy with Victoria until the AP gauge (the circular gauge at the upper left) is 1/3 full, at which point you should switch to Weiss, who together with Victoria performs Sonic Blast.
But how do you acquire skills? By way of Skill Books, which you can "equip" by navigating the "Learned Skills" tab (again in the Skills menu), where is displayed yet another tab called "Unequipped." It is here where you will learn new skills from Skill Books.
Skill Books can be purchased with TP from the Training Grounds (Righteous Beheading, which is accessed by completing a certain number of commissions from the Hunter's Guild) and any character can access a book via the aforementioned menus. However, it gets confusing because the books are color coded and grouped accordingly, and a character can only learn skills from one book among its associated color group. For example, Beginning Arts 1, 2, and 3 are all teal, so if Weiss learns from Book 2, he will be unable to learn from Books 1 and 3; he is locked out. Once a book is assigned, or equipped, to a character additional TP must be spent towards the "learning" of its associated Active Skills, and once all skills have been learned the character will have "mastered" the book and the book will then become available to another character to learn from. And just as a character learns Active Skills, he too learns whatever Combination Skills are associated with that book. You can probably see where this will eventually go. Certain books will be better suited to certain characters so it's wise to match Active Skills accordingly, which leads to more appropriate combos.
One more thing on combat. Enemy weaknesses have always been a vague nature in the series yet Agarest 2 states it clearly on screen. However, with the added attributes of Up, Stun, Down, and Ranged things get slightly more complicated, but it's actually really easy. Simply keep in mind that the higher the percentage the more susceptible to that type of attack the enemy will be. For example, an enemy with 85% Up, 100% Stun, and 125% Down will fare less fortunately (for him) against the Down attack. In other words, he is 125% more susceptible to Down attacks.
All this, of course, isn't everything to combat, but I only wanted to discuss the more confusing elements, since the remaining aspects are fairly straightforward and explained well enough in the game. Things like Extended Area, Ultimate Strikes, and so forth aren't too hard to grasp. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that you really want to complete commissions in the Hunter's Guild (they're basically side quests) because you'll be rewarded access to higher levels of skill books as you complete certain quests. This is vital as you progress through the game, as enemies become stronger and simply leveling up and upgrading equipment won't cut the mustard. Another pointer is that you want to play to your party's strengths by learning books that play to each character's strengths, as doing so will result in a stronger team. For example, in generation 2 I've been learning roughly the same two types of attacks for Schwarz and Jude (Power and Combo), and the results have been really good. My physical damage combos are for my melee characters while my magic combos are reserved for anyone with good intelligent stats, since it seems combos that use both melee and magic characters yield inconsistent damage. This is a good way to split the way in which you assign skills and combos to characters, and you can create multiple teams that have different strengths. This is a pretty cool level of customization, I would say, that goes further than the previous two games.
- Published on Amazon.com
Agarest War 2 is an SRPG for the PS3, it is a very long(50+ hours) and amazing game.
Its got great characters, storyline, and gameplay.
This game might not be interesting at first due to the complicated gameplay mechanics but once you figure it out the gameplay will be fun, the gameplay is somewhat like a mix of "Cross Edge" and "Record of Agarest War Zero", i would recommend it for RPG gamers who likes deep gameplay mechanics, storyline, and character development.
- Published on Amazon.com
I really enjoy the free movement system.
The mini games are also a blast.
The game has a good story and lots of neat monsters
11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Aksys' newest releases, outside of the stellar "BlazBlue" franchise, have been leaving me in the cold. A lot of the titles they've been cranking out recently come across as blatant pitches to snag the smallest niche of anime fans, with uninspired plots, girls with chests bigger than their head, and an emphasis on cheesecake versus original characters and good gameplay. Coming from a lifelong anime fan, that's saying something. Now, on the surface, the "Agarest War" franchise looked no different. Here we had marketing reliant on the sexualization of the female characters and no real information about the game itself, and the bonus items which came with the collector's editions reeked of sleaze. Superficially, I hated the game. But with its devoted fanbase, and because a friend with connections pulled aside a copy because he thought I'd like it, I decided to give this new entry a go. Lo and behold, it has turned out to be one of the rare RPGs I plan on playing to completion. "Record of Agarest War 2" is nothing groundbreaking, but it's unique and original enough to merit a play.
The plot starts you off in the shoes of Weiss, who has killed a god but lost all memory of the incident. After a chance encounter with a mysterious and buxom woman clad in borderline dominatrix gear, he is informed that he is in fact to serve as a vessel to atone for the sin of slaying a god, and if he fails his task, he must shack up with a woman and create a child that will serve as a new vessel. As the game progresses, you will indeed have to do just that, and through the span of multiple generations, you'll fight hoards of demons, score with some lovely ladies, and uncover the destiny of your bloodline.
Now, this generation spanning is something that has apparently been a focal point of the entries prior to this one, but as a first-time player, I have to admit that it's absolutely fascinating. Depending on how you interact with the woman you choose as your bride, and how you adjust your statistics through battling, your protagonist's predecessor will change. The sheer notion of a piece of entertainment having such an in-depth feature is definitely a sign that there are some things the interactive medium can do that movies and books will simply never be able to. In fact, I feel that this should have been a primary selling point instead of the cleavage and rear ends of the admittedly attractive ladies in the game.
As far as the gameplay goes, it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. While I play plenty of JRPGs, and a decent amount of the occasional SRPG, I found myself kind of lost when it came to navigating the plethora of statistics, menus, and other things. While the core combat system is actually quite good (an interesting mix of turn-based fighting mixed with the speed, action and control of a hack-and-slash game, coupled with a dual-grid system), the amount of effort it takes to plan out what gear to equip and whatnot is just irksome. It definitely feels like the developers were intending to make the game come across as "deeper" by just adding more hoops to jump through than necessary. The experience as a whole could have benefited from some serious reduction in menu clutter.
What makes up for this, in a way, is the very snazzy way battles are paced. There are three or four different types of maps you will find yourself navigated. One is the standard World Map that you run around on to get from one place to another. While you will still encounter random battles, you also have the option to trigger a battle at any time. When grinding for levels, this is an indispensable feature that other RPGs with random encounters should take note of. Having the ability to sit in one place and grind levels until you feel confident enough to progress is a very empowering feeling. The second type of map you'll be navigating are what you might call this game's "dungeons." Bridging areas of the World Map are smaller maps that are divided into several different zones that you progress through in a board game-like fashion. Each tile you progress to instigates a battle, and you can fight as few or as many times as you like. There are diverging paths that feature treasure and other goodies to claim, as well as tiles that will help you meet requirements on the main town's commission board, which will net you spells, armor, and ingredients required for alchemy and blacksmithing.
Speaking of towns, it houses the third kind of map you'll see. It's a menu that you pick locations on, and then go to them. Pretty straightforward, I know, but it segways into the second major focal point of this game: the dating sim aspect. Now, "Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love" set my standard for what to expect from a dating sim/RPG hybrid, and while this certainly doesn't exceed that experience in my book, due to the fairly limited range of conversation, it does almost match it. What it does beat that game in, however, are the production values. Instead of static images, the lovely ladies (and handsome men, if you're into that) are fully animated, living and breathing, all with unique animation that creates an interesting 2D/3D hybrid. This makes the experience as a whole so much more engaging than many other games that try and touch the SW franchise's signature dating sim/RPG blend. I enjoyed getting to know the cast through the interactions, and despite the aforementioned limited conversational choices, it's a defining feature that sets it apart from imitators.
However, while the overall story arc and character development is exceptional in "RoAW2", I have a serious bone to pick with the dialogue. If you're familiar with the worn cliche many gamers hold about JRPGs, about them having seemingly endless amounts of inane banter that is ultimately redundant, then you know where I'm going with this complaint. To be entirely honest, several lines of conversation in this game have bored me to death, and I like to think that I have a pretty large attention span. But it can't be helped. Characters repeat each other's dialogue, and characters making awkward pauses such as, "Uh-!", "Oh, uh-!" or the infamous "...", happens way too often, frequently occurring multiple times in a row with certain characters. I'm not saying the dialogue is awful, but it's tiresome and wears on the nerves after a while, making the experience seem longer than it is. An "autoplay" option helps alleviate the pain somewhat, but only a bit. The story is good, the characters are great, but the dialogue needed some serious work. Also, the font and styling of the text is formatted in a very odd manner. Things are surrounded by hyphens when they should be either italicized, capitalized, or put into quotations, making the emphasis in some dialogue only understandable when the voice actor actually speaks it. Also worth noting is that there is no English voice track. That doesn't bother me one bit, but some may be deterred by that.
Graphically, the game is quite pretty. What really stands out are the exceptional monster designs. Most of the enemies break free of the typical trappings of fantasy RPGs, and some of them are surprisingly frightful to gaze upon. The environments are nice and varied, and the character art is very crisp and appealing to look at. That same overall sentiment can be echoed for the soundtrack, which is infectious and passable enough to give praise to. Nothing too new, but nothing terrible. Overall, pleasant and helps to whisk you off into the fantasy world of the game, which is sometimes too much to ask some soundtracks for. It's always nice when it does happen, though.
With Square Enix focused on running their two main franchises into the ground, and Atlus branching out into new, more varied territory, it's nice to see Aksys putting out a game that screams niche. But furthermore, it's nice to see that some of these games are quite good, such as this one. While "Record of Agarest War 2" will not change your life, it will entertain and thrill you. Futhermore, it will draw you into its own little world, and with games of this variety, what more can you really ask for? This is a solid little game with plenty of nice imagery, a good story, and memorable characters; in this critic's opinion, it's a great title to spend your Summer downtime working on.
NOTE: If you purchased the Limited Edition, this review is posted on its page as well, but also includes a whole section critiquing the extras that come with it. In a nutshell, if you have the cash, go for it!
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
They changed the battle system which i will be honest in saying I don't like it. However I play this game for the long generational story . So since they kept that and I can't complain really. Just takes some getting used to is all. Still using the old formula, do battles, meet characters, see events, reach the end of a generation, choose your mate, have a kid, and then they continue the cycle.
If your interested in starting the series here are the other titles
Record of Agarest War
Record of Agarest War Zero - Standard Edition