Vandal Hearts Flames of Justice rises from the ashes like a mighty phoenix, showing everyone who had doubt that older titles can be reborn. Not to say Vandal Hearts is an identical re-make of the older classic hit because it’s not. Vandal Hearts brings back the old-school tactical turn-based combat we all grew to love many years ago.
Being an old school R.P.G. and D&D fanatic, I feel right at home with Vandal Hearts Flames of Justice. I enjoy the thinking and planning behind each move; it makes each battle a challenge.
Not being able to hack-and-slash your way through combat really gives you that sit-down chessboard feel. Needing to plan each move from every angle will give you the fighting edge; one false move can foil the best of battle plans. Turn-based role-playing games are few and far between these days.
Crisp, sharp and clean, Vandal Hearts’ graphics are cell-shaded and fit nicely. They’re not overdone, and not too cartoonish. It feels like the older Vandal Hearts with a different look and atmosphere.
VH is keeping to its roots with the same checkerboard themed layout upon a square platform that is scenically done with dungeons, villages, and more. As the story pushes on, you never have that feeling of déjà-vu; each area feels fresh and new with each area you approach.
Vandal Hearts’ story is spread across four acts with each one bringing you deeper and deeper into the game. Tobias (your main character) has to overcome many trials and tribulations during his journey. You can look at each act like pages in a book; the more you read, the more interested you become.
Vandal Hearts has a lot to offer in the story department. Many single-player, role-playing campaigns don’t offer much in the way of replay value. This is not the case with Vandal Hearts. You will be confronted with a handful of in-game story decisions which change the course of the story entirely. And if that wasn’t enough, there are multiple endings that add to the replay value.
Each member of your team has the ability to wield any weapon type and cast magic. This option is rather helpful when you’re trapped in battle and no one is near you to cast a heal. The characters in your team are designed solely upon your own decisions. This also adds to the replay value; the character customization can be endless.
Vandal Hearts’ music is beautifully composed. Great music is a must on the battleground. Nothing sets the mood better than a well composed song. One thing that shocked me was all the detailed dialogue; there was a great deal of voice acting. There was more voice acting in-game and during cuts-scenes than in most flagship titles.
People sometimes overlook titles like Vandal Hearts because they don’t come with a sixty dollar price tag. VH has enough content to contend with the big boys. This is just proof that you don’t need a big price tag to get a wonderful game. Vandal Hearts has so much to offer – and has so much replay value – you can’t go wrong.
If you are a hardcore gamer like me who loves role-playing games, you will feel right at home with Vandal Hearts.
Score 10 out of 10
James ‘DaRipp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: Xbox 360