GOD WARS The Complete Legend is a tactical/strategy role-playing game for the Nintendo Switch. Originally released as GOD WARS: Future Past on PS4 and PS Vita in 2017. As per the majority of NIS America games being ported over to the Switch, The Complete Legend has all of the previously released DLC, which includes Labyrinth of Yomi, as well as the base game, and its DLC as well. Alongside all of the DLC comes updates to the game’s mechanics as well.
In GOD WARS, there isn’t really a main character. The main group that you play with are: Kintaro, Kaguya, Hanasaka, and Kuma. Over the roughly ~100 hour package, you’ll come across many characters, some of which are, well, as the game’s name implies, Gods!
The story starts off quite predictably, Kintaro catches wind that Kaguya, the Princess of Fuji, is next in line to be sacrificed to appease the angry Gods. When Kintaro reaches Kaguya, their plan is swiftly set into action, and they have to leave everything behind and outrun the many, many people being sent to retrieve Kaguya. You and your group set out across Mizuho.
Despite the story feeling cliche and predictable at times, the game does a fantastic job of mixing real Japanese lore, which is based on the ancient text Kojiki, which is “Records of Ancient Matters” a collection of myths, early legends, songs, genealogies, oral readings, and semi-historical accounts down to 641”. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kojiki). The little tidbits of lore stemming from the Kojiki were more interesting than the game’s main story itself.
A lot of the dialogue between characters didn’t really seem to fit the background that they had, or the overall feel the game tried to deliver, one of which is when you meet up with Katsuragi, and he proclaims that he will “beat you up”. It just comes off as childish, and cheesy, especially given that this game is set in the past, people would not have conversed like this. GOD WARS also gives the player the option to play the game with either English or Japanese voiceover. The game felt more enjoyable with the Japanese VO, the English VO just didn’t seem to convey the emotion that the writing was portraying.
The music in GOD WARS does its part well, crafting the feeling of being in ancient Japan, the music that plays on the over world is incredibly infectious. The music during battle is okay, but it loops way too often. All in all, the music fits the setting, but doesn’t leave you with many tracks that are instantly recognizable.
The main draw to GOD WARS is the gameplay, and while the battles are fun, they feel like they take way too long to reach a conclusion, especially in the early game, mainly due to the fact that you don’t have many people in your party. As you progress through the game and gain more party members, level up, etc, this becomes less of an issue, as you have more raw firepower on your team as a whole. The battles are traditional in the sense that you have your normal grid layout, certain characters more more spaces, others are slower and can’t move as far, archers/casters have a much bigger range for their attacks, all the normalcies that you’ll find in a Fire Emblem, or Disgaea. When attacking an enemy unit, the game will show you the percentage that you have to hit a target, what your chances of doing a critical attack are, show you some weaknesses, etc. The lack of an overhead camera on the battlefield feels very weird, it led to a few instances of moving a character to the wrong tile.
Alongside the battle system, there is a great job system. None of these things are entirely unique to the game, but they work to create a great battle system as a whole. You have skill trees, which allow you to customize each character to the style you think they should fit. Each character has access to jobs like: Warrior, Archer, Magician, etc, but they also have jobs that are only unique to them such as: Kaguya’s Mochizuki, Kintaro’s Moribito, and Katsuragi’s Tatara.
Graphically, GOD WARS is… Not that great to look at. The textures are muddy, the character models look like they were done incredibly quickly. The art style chosen for the character portraits on the other hand, are amazingly done. They look like they’re straight out of an anime. It seems that they went for a more “realistic” graphical style when you’re on the battlefield. If this review wasn’t prefaced with an introduction stating the game was also on the PS Vita, you’d definitely be able to tell from looking at the game during a battle. Everything from the muddy textures, to the oddly underwhelming effects that play while using various skills, this game, visually, will not last in your mind, outside of the great character portrait artwork.
GOD WARS does, however, deliver a world soaked in Japanese myth, and lore, which it does quite well. Sadly, that seems to be the only unique thing it does. Despite having a great, albeit, not that unique job system, coupled with a great skill tree that allows for further customization, GOD WARS does very little to separate itself from the rest of the pack. Its dated graphics, and mediocre dialogue takes a big hit on the overall package. It isn’t the worst S/TRPG ever, but it just doesn’t have the same allure as a Disgaea, or a Fire Emblem.
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