I barely played TRPG's (JRPG's aka Japanese Role-Playing Games) when I was young and didn't have much interest in them until I came upon this on the console a few years ago. I enjoyed the game but didn't get far as it was only playable at my distant cousins house at the time but thanks to Steam and providing pc support for the past few years, I just had to get it when the pre-order was available and experience the entire game this time around.
The game begins with ex-noble Leonhardt in the middle of a battle. In order to save the life of an elven girl, he sacrifices his own and betrays his country. On the brink of death, a spirit named Dyshana says that he must give his life, and the lives of his children, to the forces of light. Leo decides to do just that and what results is a grand adventure that spans throughout the various continents of Agarest. Each generation requires you to pick one of three maidens, woo them, and produce the hero of the next generation. Based on the decisions you make your alignment of light, darkness, and neutrality will change. All of this adds up to the opportunity for different looking offspring, various pathways, and multiple endings. However, this is one of the downsides to the game because of the multiple endings, especially for an 80 hour game, are never a good thing. Also, most of the storytelling plays out with static images of the enjoyable and beautifully drawn characters with nice background artwork. I completely fell in love with most, if not all, the characters.
Like most TRPG's, there is a world map in Agarest: Generations of War. The world map is a long path dotted with orange orbs that represent a spot where you're required to do battle. After the battle spot is finished, it will turn blue. This means you can pass by this location on future travels.
Battles are the core of this game. As you plow through battle areas, you will reach an event. Once the event has concluded, you must trudge through more battle dots and work your way to another story event destination. This is the basic progression of the game and continues as such for all five generations. Battles in Agarest: Generations of War are fun in small doses, and often times very rewarding. However, battle after battle; it will challenge anyone's patience due to their length and abundance. It's not that the battles are purposefully long for the sake of being long. The problem is that there are too many of them in a row and, by its nature, TRPG battles take longer than most battles to finish. When a battle ends, you are given a rank. Depending on your rank, you will receive bonus experience points and money. When a character levels up, you can distribute bonus points to their stats. Besides these rewards, you are granted Enhancement Points (EP) for upgrading your equipment and Technical Points (TP) which are used in the Adventurer's Guild in exchange for new items. Battles would be a pleasure if not for their sheer abundance. However, the route on the world map can require you to go deal with five of these non-story battles before entering the next destination. They can be rewarding, but they can also become a chore. The bosses are also extremely overpowered, having the ability to OTK most, if not your entire team and the only way to make a dent in their HP is to use each character's EX Skills in one chain attack.
A wonderful musical score shines in Agarest: Generations of War if you decide to play the game because it has a great selection of music. The Japanese-only voice work that tells the story will appeal to some, myself included since I do know some Japanese, but others will probably frown on it. The rest of the presentation is mixed. Character and monster sprites are absolutely adorable and nicely detailed, and give a classic feel to the game. The art work is stunning for all the characters however, battlefields are a real drag. Not only are they dull, but they're redundant. Unfortunately, they are also where most of your time will be spent. Luckily, the special effects with the skills and magic are exciting to watch.
I would also like to consider Agarest: Generations of War to hardly be considered a sexually driven game even though it may seem that way due to its art style. In reality, it's an almost solid TRPG that most fans of the genre will enjoy. If not for the tiresome, endless battles you have to deal with to get to the next exciting story event or story battle, the game would be a winner. I recommend this game to fans of the TRPG genre that aren't turned off by an overabundance of battles that add nothing to the otherwise well scripted story and characters.
It can either be a hit or miss, which is likely the latter for most people unfortunately. Ultimately, the games storytelling and dialogue is what makes me love the game and adore its characters but it makes me realize that it won't be getting a great rating anytime soon due to having many issues with localization errors, difficulty spikes, overpowered boss fights and the repetitive combat system.
Posted: January 17th, 2014