Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yggdra Union Impressions

The second game I want to talk about in my big Atlus Splurge is Yggdra Union which was sold to me the minute it mentioned "Cards" in any fashion in the description.  It took me a bit to actually get to the part where I bought it and downloaded it, yes, but I'm sure you understand what I mean.  Unsurprisingly, if you take a look above, the game is another GBA conversion that I had absolutely no idea about prior to actually buying the game, but I think it shows it a little less than Riviera (which doesn't show it all that much itself) does, and if anything, it's more Gameplay that shows it as such than the actual style of the game or anything else.  Still, I should say the biggest thing about Yggdra Union is that I completely didn't know what I was getting myself into by playing it, and I still don't, really.  On top of that, I haven't quite decided if that's inherently a bad thing or not just yet.

As you might have also gleaned from the above screenshot, Yggdra Union is a strategy RPG, of which I could best equivocate it to Advance Wars.  Which is...fitting, given the original platform for the game, for both games, rather, and Advance Wars, I'm told, is a fun game in its own right.  I...don't really remember it too much myself.  GBA was quite a long time ago, you realize, and I didn't play a lot on mine beyond Pokemon and Harvest Moon which was completely not a damn-near prediction of my trend with Nintendo devices or anything.  No sirree.  I mean it's not like I've spent the most time with any game on my DS on Pokemon or Harvest Moo....Well it's not like I'm planning on buying a 3DS exclusively for Pokemon and Harvest Mo....hrm.  (Yes, I'm being facetious, but only because it's uncanny and I didn't realize it until just now.)  Regardless, the staples you might expect here, grid-based movement, combat that you don't necessarily directly control which is influenced by percentages and Weapon affinities, they're all present and drive the game in a way that I honestly don't mind so much.

Just to get this out of the way, the way cards come into play is pretty much the entirety of the game, despite part of them not taking place in at least the first four or five battles of the game.  (the skills.  I say this because I haven't gotten to use a one just yet)  Cards control how many movements your units can take in your turn (move pool is shared, so 12 move means one unit moves twelve spaces, two units move any combination of moves equalling 12, etc.) and how damaging your attack will be when and if you use one.  Notice I said attack, as in singular, because only one unit may attack per turn.  This does little beyond force strategic usage and pad the game length as, if you could attack once per unit, then rounds would last a lot less time.  And of course, it's not so easy as 'only one attack' as you can use the units placement on the map to extend that out for prolonged battles.  Without getting too deep into the specifics, if you have three units and place them just so before attacking, all three of them will launch an attack in succession against that unit unless its own units are in a similar formation, meaning Units just sort of pair off.  If it's 3-on-3, then each one has one attack, 3-on-2 then the first two match and the third one attacks the first unit again, and 3-on-1 obviously means that one unit is in three battles, which likely means poor things for that unit.

Battles are a thing, since you really don't get to influence a whole lot of what happens in it, much like Advance War (I believe), which once again perhaps points at the influence.  You have your unit numbers (Generally I've seen units of 8 for swordsmen and axe-users, but only 4 for Knights which use spears, though I'm sure there's plenty more variation) and every battle starts with a charge and retaliation.  Depending on the weapon affinities, that first hit could just decide a battle.  I've seen units get -halved- on that first strike if the weapon is strong against that type, which essentially means that unit is then proper screwed.  The basic affinity chain, by the way, is like Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Spear beats Sword, Sword beats Axe, Axe beats Spear, no don't ask me how, I have no idea.  Following the first strike and retaliation, the units just sort of stick on their side of the screen and swing their weapons until the complex background math decides that somebody has died.  The battle ends, obviously, when everybody in a unit has died and after that, Morale is deducted from their overall total.  When Morale hits 0, that unit disappears from the map.  Some units obviously take more than one loss to get removed, but the upside is that your cards attack power goes up with every victory, be it a Morale-duster or not.

So what can you do while the little people are flailing about with their weapons and doing things that only vaguely make anything resembling sense?  You can hold Left or Right, of course!  There is a Passive/Aggressive bar that allows you to make your unit fight more....well, Aggressively or Passively.  Fighting Passively restores the bar (which will eventually be used in conjunction with skills) where Aggressive stance drains the bar.  The options merely increase or decrease your attacks effectiveness which means effective use could win you victory in a battle you should technically lose or absolutely spank foes who you hold superiority over.  Aside from that, there's not a whole lot you can do in battle aside from let it play out, which means that the battle is more fought in the way you approach it, rather than the way it plays out.  It's a good sentiment, of course, but doesn't make for the most involved gameplay one could hope for.  Still, it is a bit rewarding to get those victories and those times when it just works out for you when, again, you -should- lose pretty much legitimize it.

From what I've played so far, it's a pretty interesting game.  I can't say that it's wonderful quite yet, but it does have another rather unique set-up that I could see eventually elevating it to something beyond what I've seen.  Especially when skills come into play, whenever that is, since that will of course add an entire new layer, not only for the player, but against them as well.  The story is nothing if standard at the moment but that's how they're supposed to start, anyway, so I'm not really too fussed about it just yet.  Much as with Riviera, I don't immediately regret the decision to buy it, nor do I suspect I will ultimately do so, but I am far more forgiving on games than most, so take my recommendation with a little bit of salt.  Take it more like "If you like these games, this is what it kind of has to offer, so make your decision on that" than me simply saying "This is great, buy it".  Because trust me, if I tell you something is great and you should buy it, you'll know it.  (Still waiting on Second Chapter, XSEED.  You have my money when you make it happen.)

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