There were many things that made the Record of Agarest War series so great. The latest sequel, Record of Agarest War 2, is nothing like the previous games. It includes many changes to the series such as a redesigned combat system. Gamers are in for a shock when they experience this game for the first time.
One of the biggest changes to the game is the enormous 3D world map. The previous games used a flat, linear map accessible by selecting wav-points to travel. Enemy encounters are still random, but you can initiate combat at will by pressing the R1 button. This is a good way to collect items and other crafting materials outside random enemy encounters.
The character creation system allows you to choose from three different archetypes in the beginning of the game. These archetypes are: Warrior Type, Battle Mage and Sorcerer. Each archetype has its own strengthens and weakness. After selecting your archetype, you can choose from the following Soul types: Scythe, Staff, Greatsword, Gun, Spear, Sword, Knuckles ,Sword and Staff .
This process can be very challenging because each weapon type has its own set of stats (i.e. dexterity, intelligence, strength, etc.). that must be used. By combining these different Soul types, they will form your character’s overall stats and weapon type. The best part is, if you’re not happy with the outcome, you can always restart from the beginning and repeat the process until you’re satisfied.
The combat system has undergone a major overhaul. It gives Agarest War 2 a modern feel, but it loses something in the translation. In Agarest War 2, your attacks are mapped out on the controller. Granted, it’s a lot easier to perform combos by pressing the attack buttons in rapid succession. Combat is still turn-based, but it’s ramped up. Your group’s formation still determines the type of combos and team tactics used. It also determines whether your group can attack the same target or not.
You also have control over which character is appointed leader of the group. Changing the group leader can change things dramatically, from combos to special attacks. Each character has its own group formation that can be used during combat. This changes your group’s ultimate attacks and provides additional bonuses.
The moving phase from the previous games is gone. Fans of the first two games will find this change a bit alienating. The tactical aspect of the ‘moving phase’ was part of the Agarest War experience. Some gamers may disagree, but the feel of the game has changed dramatically.
The new combat system and interface are a bit of a letdown. As stated previously, these changes add a modern feel to the series, but at the same time the developer sacrificed what made the series stand out.
To its credit, Record of Agarest War 2 still contains an intricate storyline. Character development still takes center stage, and features like the generation system allow you to have relationships with other people and produce an heir. These features have always been a hallmark of the series.
As the in-game story develops, you are pulled into a fantasy world filled with endless possibilities. The type of character you develop into along the way will all depend on the choices you make and whether you ultimately become good, evil, or neutral. The game stays true to its Japanese roots with its native Japanese dialog and subtitles. There is no option for English dubbing, so expect to do plenty of reading.
The graphics are a mixture of 2D and 3D; they are absolutely beautiful. Everything blends together to create a convincing fantasy world. Even though the game world is represented in 3D, the combat sequences use a 2D hybrid engine like in previous releases. The stunning magical effects show how spectacular the graphics really are.
Change can sometimes improve a series, but in the case of Agarest War 2, it takes you by surprise. It’s also difficult to get used to. As a fan of the series myself, I found some of the changes unnecessary. The Record of Agarest War was a series that was known for its classic RPG elements. These classic elements were the reason the series stood out from the countless role-playing copycats currently available today.
However, there are features still present (like the generation system) that make The Record of Agarest War 2 a pleasure to play. And if you are a fan of the series, you will still appreciate the in-depth story and unaltered features from the previous two games. And even though the combat system has changed, it still offers a competent experience with innovative features.
Despite all the changes, The Record of Agarest War 2 is still a great role-playing game. It may disappoint some fans at first, but once you become familiar with the changes, you’ll feel right at home exploring the vast game world of Agarest War. All things considered, the Record of Agarest War 2 still delivers one of the best role-playing experiences available today.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3 (Also available on PSN)
Developer: Aksys Games
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
|A stunning mixture of 2D and 3D art styles.|
|Impressive Japanese narration and memorable music enhance the experience.|
|While different, the combat system is solid and intuitive.|
|The Record of Agarest War 2 is still a worthwhile purchase.|