I wouldn’t consider myself an avid player of Japanese RPGs, but Agarest: Generations of War caught my interest due to the turn based grid map combat style. It reminded me of something more classic like Final Fantasy Tactics, instead of the newer combat style which is used in Mugen Souls Z and Fairy Fencer F. However, a factor that is present in all of these games is the nearly naked anime girls that almost seem shoe-horned in for the older audience. But this doesn’t stop it Agarest from being somewhat fun, especially as it’s got a huge 80+ hour campaign if you so choose to play that much.
The story of Agarest: Generations of War presents the classic tale of an ancient evil rising again, which means a collection of heroes must send it back to where it came. The game is split into five sections called generations (hence the title), with each chapter allowing you to take control of a new hero. This hero is followed around by a faithful army of fighters in each generation. In the first generation you start off playing as a soldier named Leonheart, and every hero you take control of after him is a descendent of his. You even get to witness some of your party members age during your journey. What I really liked about travelling through the generations is that you keep items, abilities etc.
As I mentioned early the game has a lot of hours to play through, and that’s because the game takes you through it pretty slowly. It seems to take you a while to be introduced to basic features, little do you know you are just a small fraction through the game and you have a lot more time to use these new abilities.
The gameplay is good but at times it can become repetitive, especially when you have to face identical dragging battles in a row time after time. This would be okay if every few battles had a different angle of the same area, but the aesthetics aren’t all that impressive. There are no random objects to break up the emptiness of the battle area, meaning you have to look at the same plain space in every fight. I also noticed that the character and monster sprites look slightly fuzzy, which suggests these graphics would be more suitable for a smaller screen.
The combat gets gradually more complex once you are introduced to new abilities, certain people on your team can attack together to make a stronger combo attack. There is also an Ability Point system which allows you to carry AP on to the next turn. Meaning if you don’t have enough AP to do the move you want, then you can save them until next turn for a stronger and more costly attack. As well as this, there is a Break Attack system which gives you a unique, strong ability for each member in your party after a certain amount of time has passed in battle. The Break Attack system stops the battle from taking too long, it does this because many of the Break Attacks can annihilate an enemy in one hit.
Agarest also has a unique morality meter; this reflects what side a character is really on ‘Light or dark’. The meter reflects the consequences of the choices that have been made during the campaign; these choices have noticeable effects on the story as you progress. There is also a slight focus on catching and breeding animals so that they can be used in battle, but there is a larger focus on the romance aspect and finding potential partners. This part wasn’t really my cup of tea, but fans of dating sims would find this aspect of the game enjoyable. The art of the characters looks great, the design and detail of the art is impressive, but as I said earlier the battle environments are a bit plain.
Overall I think Agarest: Generations of War deserves a 5, it has a good story line and the characters vary in personality. There a huge number of skills and combination attacks, and over 80 hours of gameplay if you choose to put in the time. However, the drawn out battles can become tedious at times, especially as the battle sequence presentation is rather weak. For those who don’t mind grinding or love long, complex JRPGs then this is a game for you; but for anyone else I would possibly give it a miss.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
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