God Wars: Future Past - PS4 Review

There have been a handful of excellent RPG/strategy games that have released so far in 2017, and God Wars: Future Past hangs in there with a nice mix of old school sensibilities with some modern touches that make it an enjoyable adventure until the end.

Now, I must say that I had just a hint of concern going into this. Not because there was anything wrong with what I had seen about God Wars: Future Past up until now - in fact quite the opposite I enjoyed the classic isometric view coupled with turn-based combat. However, I recalled the last effort by Kadokawa Games in this genre - Natural Doctrine. That was a title that had some merits, but misfired far too often for my liking, and it wound up being one of my biggest disappointments that year because I had held out such high expectations that it never came close to meeting.

Fast forward to 2017, and now I entered God Wars: Future Past with more modest expectations, and I'm happy to report that this time around they were all met or exceeded. Our tale gets off to an emotional start as Tsukuyomi - a queen we know very little about initially - has to sacrifice her daughter as an offering to the gods they worship. For her part, the young girl Sakuya showed incredible courage for her age, and despite her fears made her way out to the stony outcropping at the top of Mount Fuji before a violent explosion of lava and heat swallowed her whole.

This serves as the foundation for the tale of another daughter of Tsukuyomi named Kaguya. By this time, the mother has been missing for some time - leaving doubt in a people that beloved her. In addition, Kaguya has been held captive for some time - a sort of insurance policy should the gods require yet another sacrifice. This is when we are introduced to Kaguya's childhood friend Kintaro, who goes about rescuing Kaguya as they set off on a grand adventure that spans some pretty traditional narrative topics and a variety of different lands.

Visually God Wars: Future Past won't knock anyone's socks off, as the terrains are presented in a simple, colorful isometric view that have some decent detail and animation, but are never overly impressive on a technical level. Character portraits splash against dialog boxes, and they are charming enough, if also somewhat simple. The sound holds up a bit better, with some really solid music and voice actors who do a pretty good job with dialog that in and of itself can be a little cheesy at times. The biggest issue with the story however, is the pacing early on. The developers thrust you into the action relatively quickly, which is all well and good, but our party of heroes find themselves rapidly moving from one location to another, and while they all have the context from the world - you the player are flying a little blind on that front now and again. It's a tough call though. I personally tend to lean towards some extra narrative, but I can understand not wanting to bog down the early sequences and over-explain things to players as well.

However, where God Wars: Future Past really gets to flex its muscles is in the actual battles that take place. You can turn the grid lines on or off, but make no mistake that this is a grid-based, turn-based combat system where character growth is built around job classes. If all of this sounds familiar, that is because this foundation calls back to some of the best games the genre has ever see. Character speed dictates their order of operation, turns revolve around movement and attacking with additional skills and spells that use up mana but provide additional impact on the battlefield such as increased damage, healing, knock-backs and more.

This year we have seen some very good games in the strategy genre, such as Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers and the latest Fire Emblem game. God Wars: Future Past shares numerous similarities to those titles, but perhaps has even more tactical depth embedded in its gameplay. Classic elements you don't see anymore such as height advantages and terrain bonuses all come into play, reminding me very much of classic SRPG titles like Warsong for the Sega Genesis. However, the AI here deserves some pretty high praise. These are not just Star Trek red shirts marching off to their deaths - the enemy units are very good at swooping in to take advantage of an unprotected member of your party, and they use their skills to good effect more often than not.

While the product on the battlefield is winner in and of itself, the character progression is a perpetually dangling carrot that I could not get enough of either. Maybe just because this title is such a callback to classics in the genre, but as I was earning experience, gaining levels and learning new skills associated with your chosen job class all reminded me of my earliest SRPG titles. Certainly I had played some strategy games prior, but the idea that you were building on something (grinding some would say, but I've always been partial to that style of play), that your decisions carried over and your characters developed not just in story, but in practical use has always made this one of my favorite types of games, and God Wars: Future Past gets that. It appeals to this part of my personality and makes it a game that I struggled to put down.

Despite a story that at times can feel a bit jittery and disjointed, and visuals that would have been right at home on the last generation of consoles, God Wars: Future Past manages to hit enough key notes to still make it an enjoyable game. It likely won't bring new fans to the strategy/RPG genre, but those who are familiar with and enjoy it should find plenty of things to enjoy here. Charming characters, memorable music and solid progression systems make the combat a strong centerpiece and turns God Wars: Future Past into time well spent.

Game Information

PlayStation 4
Kadokawa Games
NIS America
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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