So, one of my earliest reviews on this blog was the game Record of Agarest War. You can find it here if you are interested, as it was a pretty long review. So, I had first played it on the 360, borrowing it from a friend. There were elements of the game I really liked, but there were things that frustrated me as well. Still, I had an opportunity to pick the game up for the PSN a bit later, and I decided to take that opportunity and visit the world of Agarest one more time. Now, there were a lot of details in that review, but some things I have since found are different than I first thought, and I'm viewing them a bit differently as well. Some things I still stand by, but honestly this is more me picking on myself than defending my earlier comments.
This is a turn-based strategy game with some heavy RPG elements.
I scored this a 6 last time, because of a few things: there were limited animations on the battlefield, the scenes in towns and such were very static, using portrait overlays instead of moving video. The characters are sprite-based and a bit fuzzy at times. These were my primary complaints, and they all hold true, but - I would probably edge this a bit higher, maybe 6.5. There were some things I really liked such as the art style - there is a good deal of detail in things such as the menu screen and the character portraits look good. Also, I find that the dungeons look cool in places, even if the proportions can seem a bit odd (especially in the castle screens)
Music & Sound:
I went with a 4 last time, and honestly, that's not changing much. There are a couple of songs I really liked - usually the boss battles. The save screen's music has a nice quality to it as well. I would maybe score up to a 4.5 - maybe 5 at best. Some of the other music still seems horribly misplaced in a fantasy style title like this, and since there's no English voice acting (it's all in Japanese with English text), some of the impact is lost in my opinion.
I went with 8 before, and I would stand by that, maybe edging that up slightly - maybe not. A few of the things that bugged me before though, that I specifically called out, were in fact wrong and I'm admitting that. Here's the first one:
"the menus are fairly easy to navigate (though would it have killed them to make a ‘page up/page down’ using bumper buttons when going through long lists of items like Titles or Shop Inventories?)" --- turns out, and I have no idea how I never noticed this before, but pressing to the sides actually does a 'page down' option. I somehow missed that. That being said? It would be great if you could sort items or shop menus by different criteria. By the end of the game, I could make a ton of different weapons, but finding the one I wanted was like a need in a haystack.
"However, there is no flanking or backstab damage, so the impact of unit direction is somewhat minimalized." --- Now, nothing about this showed up in the tutorial, but I noticed that later in the game, there was an object or two I hadn't found the first time around that specifically negated directional damage. No other indication it was in the game (but then I played the tutorial to Agarest War Zero, the sequel, where this gets called out). So perhaps the design failure was in communicating this part of the strategy.
" That said, at the end of a generation, you automatically pick the woman you have the most ‘affection’ from. There is already a system in place where the stronger the bond, the stronger the next generation’s character will be. So why not let the player pick who they want to marry, for better or for worse?" --- big wrong on my part, but as of the time I originally wrote this, I had only gotten through the first couple of generations, and you can in fact marry different people if you get their interest in you high enough. I apparently just sucked at this part of the game and only had one girl interested in me both times, but on this last playthrough, I discovered you can in fact have up to 3 different choices in the generations.
I went with an 8 here before, but probably more of a 9 after having played through again. For starters, I spent more than 100 hours on this playthrough. There's slightly different endings including a 'true end' I completely missed out on before that opens up further content. It's ridiculously hard to get to because you have to juggle a lot of choices along the way, and it's not very transparent how you get there - but it did add a lot of value to it for me. This is probably the game I've come closest to getting a platinum trophy in as well. I'm missing 2 trophies is all, but those last two are just too tedious. Still, I've sunk a ton of time into this game and I liked it enough this last time around to pick up the sequel for the PS3 recently as well.
I had scored the game a 6.5 before. I'd probably say I'm closer to a 7 or a 7.5 now. There were definitely things I missed before - and I'm perfectly willing to admit it, but the core game is still the same. It's a very stylized game, and it's not going to appeal to everyone. There's suggestive themes everywhere and the game does nothing to hide those - in fact it flaunts them. But I enjoyed the strategy, sunk a ton of time into it, picked up Agarest Zero (which is a prequel) and am hoping that Agarest War 2 gets localized to North America at some point as well, as I would probably buy it.
So, I'm curious - but even if this particular game does not strike your fancy, does the idea of me doing a Review Revisited down the road appeal to readers? Or is hearing about a title once enough? My thinking is it may bring up titles that newer followers missed my thoughts on, and it gives me a chance to look at how I viewed a game in the past and see if my perspective has changed since that time. I won't do it very often, but once in awhile I'll pick a title up to play again and since I'm investing that time into it, I thought maybe I would share.
Record of Agarest War - Review Revisisted
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