Vanillaware, recognized for growing video games equivalent to Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dragon’s Crown, and Odin Sphere, has made a reputation for themselves via their all the time superb 2D artwork and action-based fight. Their latest title, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, retains their excessive mark for a few of the finest sprite work within the business, however pulls again on the upper pace fight in favor of top-down technique. Though this can be a completely different strategy from the Vanillaware norm, it nonetheless has that Vanillaware signature contact.
13 Sentinels is just not solely the deepest and most intricate narrative in Vanillaware’s library, it is without doubt one of the extra detailed tales in current reminiscence. Going down in non-chronological order and involving advanced time touring components, the story is wealthy however might deter gamers trying to merely hop into a superb struggle. The opening three hours acts because the tutorial, slowly getting gamers versed within the huge solid of characters, their backgrounds, and how you can navigate fight eventualities. There’s a lot occurring right here which is why the sport takes hours to dig in its hooks.
Fortunately, as soon as these hooks snag you, they don’t let up. After the opening section is accomplished, the sport unlocks itself, letting the participant benefit from the segments they need to play. If you wish to proceed the story and primarily play a digital novel, then click on on the narrative part. For the followers who benefit from the fight and don’t need to mess with the wordy story, then simply struggle in these battles, degree up, and develop your staff of 13 sentinels.
The narrative additionally takes a distinct strategy because the participant isn’t locked into infinite textual content bubbles, merely mashing a button to learn the subsequent block. As an alternative, the sport introduces every character with their very own situation that finally begin to actually merge collectively in a payoff. Right here, gamers management every character and transfer round an atmosphere, speaking to NPCs to advance the plot. Once in a while, phrases highlighted in inexperienced might be logged right into a queue by urgent the triangle button. As soon as these phrases and phrases are collected, they can be utilized on different characters or objects to unlock that vital however generally non-obligatory new piece of knowledge. It would sound tedious on paper however in observe it creates element and provides the participant a worthwhile excuse to discover every confined atmosphere.
When first beginning, the participant is thrown into the center of the whole lot to purposely create some “huh, what is going on” moments. Though it begins complicated, this type of reverse story telling finally results in “ah-ha” moments. This unconventional technique to current a story deserves quite a lot of credit score because it normally is simply present in choose motion pictures. With out freely giving spoilers, simply know that there’s a lot taking place with the story too. The time journey touchpoints blended with a big roster of characters with complicated and lengthy names makes the plot advanced however nonetheless entertaining. Be warned, there are many textual content packing containers right here and the motion that you simply could be used to with regards to a Vanillaware sport isn’t right here.
Fight can be sudden, particularly for a Vanillaware sport, because it mixes mild actual time technique components with tactical RPG fight. The roster is finally composed of 13 anime characters in mech fits, solely half the members can be part of a single battle. Some focus on shut melee assaults, others lengthy vary, and others are nice and overlaying distance. These will not be typical tactical RPG battles both. As an alternative of merely attacking a single enemy with one motion, these sentinels can spray machine gun hearth, or launch a volley of missiles, to take out packs of incoming enemies in a single blast. Preventing principally revolves round defending a core lengthy sufficient for it to heat up its EMP-like screen-clearing blast from a large swarm of enemies. Some enemies are weak however assault in big packs, others have a ton of well being, and the whole lot in between. As a result of completely different enemy varieties, equivalent to melee assaults not with the ability to hit flying enemies, it is very important steadiness the roster of sentinels. Nonetheless, the complete staff will must be rotated as every pilot will get drained after every battle and can’t be used as soon as stamina has been drained. The one technique to restore stamina is to have social gathering member seize some bench, however this ensures the participant will develop the complete rosters as a substitute of spamming those self same character loadouts.
No different developer does 2D sprite artwork like Vanillaware. Whether or not it’s the characters or atmosphere, the whole lot all the time appears beautiful and strikes with fluidity. The exaggeration and emphasis within the artwork additionally creates that Vanillaware-vibe that fills the display screen with persona. The one let down within the visible division are the precise enemies. As an alternative of preventing awesomely drawn baddies, the participant actually shoots small, easy geometric shapes. These plainly coloured squares don’t symbolize menacing opponents by any means however permits the display screen to be full of them at any given time. The fight display screen is usually zoomed out so it’s tough to see any element on this setting anyway. It’s also vital to notice that my early run of the sport was in Japanese voices solely however there’s alleged to be a Day 1 patch that features English voice overs.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim won’t be what you count on from a Vanillaware title from a gameplay perspective however nonetheless comprises that signature, eye-catching artwork type. The tactical battles are satisfying and fascinating whereas the story is manner deeper and extra advanced that you simply assume. Vanillaware and Atlus additionally deserve credit score for launching a brand new IP when most publishers and builders depend on sequels, particularly this late within the PS4’s life cycle with the launch of the PS5 in only a couple months. This title isn’t anticipated and that’s another excuse why it stands out.
Atlus can be bundling a free digital artbook with pre-order buy at launch.
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com