Posted on July 24, 2012 AT 10:28am
I am a fan of Japanese role-playing games and have been for as long as they have been around. I have always loved how long the games are and how intricate the stories tend to be. I am an admitted “tedious” player. I get my kicks from exploring every minute thing or area I can in any game. However, Record of Agarest War 2 tried even my epic patience.
The story centers around Weiss, the “God Killer.” As it says, he killed a god and because of this event, he has lost his memory. Now there are pieces of that god’s powers floating around the world, bringing in demonic powers, and he is the “vessel” that must collect them to bring peace to the world again. But wait, that’s not all! He gathers together a band of friends and one of these friends will become a “Maiden of the Pillar” and bear his child. If he cannot complete his quest to gather the power, his “sin” will be visited upon his progeny.
The game play is typically turn-based but with few neat perks. If you can get your “Ultimate Power” points up to 100% you can use your “Ultimate Power” to do some serious damage to the enemy provided you have at least 3 characters ready to fight. They have to wait their turns and using major damage skills can force a character to sit out a few turns. The combat is fairly complicated. You can chose the attack type (air, ground, stun, knockdown) by pressing the appropriate button. Timing your repeated hits perfectly will gain you a “wait bonus” though I am not 100% positive what that did. I assume you gained extra hit damage as well as reducing the time that character has to wait before they can attack again. In the previous Agarest games, you could have six players on the field fighting foes, now you can only have four. I found this to be a problem once or twice. The first time was when I went up against an overpowered enemy that healed itself after every attack. Unfortunately, I needed to defeat this enemy before I could progress in the game. This meant endless grinding against lesser enemies to gain experience and levels.
Which brings me to something that bothered me about the game…forced grinding. There is no way around it in this game. Generally, you have a choice to run around killing enemies or take a chance and go up against a foe and just level through story progression. Record of Agarest War 2 does not allow that! You must grind and not just because the enemies are tough but because you have to complete commissions at the Hunters Guild before you can move on in the game. It became extremely boring and tedious after awhile. I have never minded having to kill things to gain levels but being forced to sit in a small area on a map, without the story progressing, and having to “fetch” items endlessly got to me. Honestly, the commissions just seemed like a cheap trick to prolong game play and it hurts the game more than it helps it.
I also found some of the features confusing. I bought crafting books that were for sale. I had everything I needed to “create” a new weapon but couldn’t figure out how to make one. Buying books to upgrade your TP skills is just as vague. Visit the master, buy a book, and hopefully it upgrades your skills. Even though the game sort of walks you through everything, it does get jumbled and leaves you scratching your head. When you enter a city you may not be able to go to all locations indicated on the map but if you’re lucky, after completing some of those seemingly endless fetch quests, you might unlock them. Of course that doesn’t mean you can actually visit it. You may have to grind through more fetch quests first.
The voice work was pretty cool. It was all in Japanese so I can only judge based on the tones and how they meshed with the subtitles. I loved the music composition. It felt very ethereal and Japanese. It fit nicely with the fantasy theme of the game. You can even go back at any time to re-watch certain “movies” that play out in the game by visiting the encyclopedia section of your menu and all without actually backing out of the game. This meant being able to watch the beginning music video over and over. Yes, I said music video and it features two characters in the game singing and dancing to a Japanese pop-style song. It was surprising and fun to watch.
The in-game characters are pretty typical JRPG fare. You have your young girls, your children with amazing powers, a girl with act ears, your brooding males, and your scantily clad females. All likable in their own unique ways though I would love to know how some of these ladies can keep their parts covered with only a belt. For the guys, there is some “boob physics” so you will get your anticipated dose of bounce.
The story is intriguing, though again fairly typical of the genre. It starts out with a scene of Weiss fighting a god and his minion. There is a flash of bright light and then it cuts to Weiss waking up in Aina’s house. He has no memory and and is confused as to how he got there. Aina is a healer and of course insists on accompanying him on his quest. Enter in Eva, the Agent of the Divine. She is here to make sure that Weiss fulfills his destiny to become the Vessel for the power of the god he killed. As expected, you will meet and gain other characters as you move through the game. Of course demons abound and I even found a jelly-like creature to fight. It’s just not a Japanese RPG without killer jellies. The story will play out across three generations and endings will vary according to how you play and whom you marry. Unfortunately, the endless, boring commissions will prevent me from replaying the game.
In addition to the JRPG game play, there are mini-games. The mini-games definitely cater to the male populace of the gaming world and have very little bearing on the game itself. It’s just gratuitous sexual content. You will be able to visit the Bath House and either bathe or massage your female characters. You can even bring the females to ecstasy if done correctly.
SUMMARY: Record of Agarest War 2 will delight fans of the series and will be a nice addition to any die-hard JRG fan’s game library despite its shortcomings.
- THE GOOD: Great story concept, multiple story options, typical JRPG
- THE BAD: Extremely slow story progression that stalls at times
- THE UGLY: Forced grinding makes game boring a significant amount of the time, pointless sexual content
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