Agarest: Generations of War Zero is a Tactical Japanese Roleplaying Game a prequel to its predecessor.
The story is set in the world of Agarest literally scarred by a war between the forces of light and darkness.
The game starts with Sieghart a young commander of the Armies of Light and his division assigned to a special mission to collect some kind of trumph card that would win the war. They get attacked by the armies of darkness during this assignment and after repelling the attack Sieghart finds a girl cornered by a sort of lesser god a "Larva" he proceeds to rescue her but gets mortally wounded. In his last moments the girl asks him if he wishes to live and grants him power healing his wounds. This newfound power was more than enough to defeat the weak Larva.
As a prequel the game has lots of references and assumes you know most things about its lore, I would recommend playing Agarest: Generations of War first if you plan to play this one, though not necessary as after ending the game you can make a new game+ in Extra Mode which allows you to play a digest version of the first game and you unlock profiles which enlighten you further.
The game's art style is quite good, though some of the female characters have provocative clothing, it is far from what most people seem to describe. There is some fan service though which is completely secondary to the game, which are the CGs, appart from some that might be a little awkward, they are all very well done and are a nice little bonus.
The voice acting and the translation I am not able to review thoroughly as I don't know Japanese, but since I've watched enough anime (and asked the opinion of a few friends who understand Japanese) I'd say the translation is good apart from maybe a few exceptions. The Japanese voice acting like in most JRPGs is nice because it usually beats any english dub.
The gameplay is the same as the first:
- Turn based combat, in each turn you have a move phase and a action phase.
- The party consists of 1 to 6 members.
- Each turn you gain AP (action points) which allow you to move or attack.
- During the move phase you are allowed to move your characters up to their move stat by spending 1 AP per square.
- During the action phase you are allowed to attack (and be attacked) spending AP or both AP and SP for special attacks (called Ex Skills).
- SP is gained by attacking, getting targeted, slaying an enemy or having a party member slain.
- The order in the action phase is determined by a character's AGI and remaining AP for both party members and enemies.
- There are also Extended Areas, which are different to each character, when you link characters through these you can strategize in various ways as they allow you to make combos with more than one character and attack monsters that would otherwise be out of the range of certain characters/attacks.
- As you progress through the game you unlock fields, different fields have different sizes and different bonuses/penalties.
I recommend watching a few gameplay videos or a video of the tutorial (if existant) as it would be much easier to understand.
When compared to the first game, Agarest: Generations of War Zero has several improvements:
- The game is slightly shorter which made part of the community happy (on the other hand it lost generations (from 5 to 2) and it has less characters, though you can still have Ellis, Dyshana, the protagonists and the heroines of the first game in Extra Mode and the others by DLC).
- Vacation Days which are events where you can interact with your party members in order to raise affection levels or unlock certain bonuses/secrets.
- Costumes which are literally costumes for every female character which change depending on their affection level, these will only appear in Vacation Days unless chosen otherwise in the options menu (I regret to say that after unlocking the costumes it isn't possible to chose which one appears it will always be the one that corresponds to the affection level).
- Card System, now this in my opinion is the best improvement you can costumize the first main character making him much more versatile than the one from the first Agarest.
- The portraits are no longer static and are considerably better.
- Beach scenes!
- Vashtor in white armor, 'nuff said.
Ignoring the last improvement, in all seriousness, the game is enjoyable (In my case I'd say a lot of fun as I've also played it before in PS3 and I'd say the PC version is better as I found it more fluid).
Personally I just thank Ghostlight for porting JRPGs to PC since it has few when compared to consoles.