PS4, PS Vita
June 24, 2016
Grand kingdom is the perfect example of why you should never judge something by it’s appearance.
At first glance of the game trailer, I was fairly uninterested in this JRPG title. While some things stood out to me, the rest of it all seemed very “meh” to me. Watching the starting intro sequence seemed to only confirm it more for me, as a player who values plot lines and story very highly, it felt to me like minimal effort was put into it in favour of getting past it quickly and into the gameplay, but still, I continued on with it.
And I’m so SO glad I did, because Grand Kingdom is now one of my go-to games.
While there is a lack of initial plot line, the story of the game is still quite substantial. In this world, on the continent of Resonail, Mercenaries are the ruling force, taking the place of knights in many of the tactical war games of the genre we are used to. 100 years after the fall of the Uldein Empire, four nations now battle for dominance, and as the rookie captain of a mercenary group, you the player can choose to sign war contracts, fight in battles and go on quests for these nations, for a handsome reward of course.
The battle system is very different from what I’m used to seeing in games of this genre, but it’s one of the more engaging and fun ones I’ve ever played.
You have the ability to hire mercenary units and form squads, which you can then either level up on the field or send off to fight in wars for you. You have a large range of units to choose from, from archers to dragon mages, blacksmiths to medics ad so on, all which you can customize to your liking.
Wars are played online where you can battle alongside other players signed under the same contracts to claim enemy territories and earn prestige. For the majority of quests and missions in the game though, they are all played offline and single player.
When you begin a mission or quest, your position is marked on a terrain map by a white chess piece, while other hostile forces on the map are marked similarly. Every time you move on the map, so do the other units, and the majority of quests will require you to complete it within a certain number of movements. When your chess piece encounters an enemies chess piece on the map, that starts a battle sequence.
The battles are turn based, and you can move back and forth along the field, depending on how much agility your units have. Movement is restricted to three rows on the field, and for the PS4 version you can view the whole battle field by scrolling across using the track pad, which was a very useful touch as the range on some fields can be quite large. The style of battle took a little getting used to, but once it became a bit more second nature the rest of the game flowed along nicely with it.
You also have the ability to customize equipment, direct unit growth, swap out or dismiss members, use special abilities and items on the maps to overcome obstacles, and even visit the capitals of the nations! You even get monthly bonuses for every day you play the game. While there isn’t much else to do other than battle, the content within the game is enough to keep even the most bored of us occupied.
Grand kingdom was such a pleasant surprise. The art style is refreshing and feels almost like looking at a living, breathing painting. Where many other games with this style fail in the animation side of it, grand kingdom has got it spot on.
The only area I can say it failed in animation is the guild room, where your main menu resides. The room animation felt like a very laggy video on a boat in rough seas, which at times did actually make me feel nauseous, but for a game with hardly any flaws is my opinion, it can easily be forgotten about.
- Art+Animation done right
- Engaging battles
- Enjoyable gameplay
- War means having to go online to play
- The indescribable urge to punch Flint every time he calls Lillia "sweetheart"
There isn’t much variety on content aside from battling, wars and resource gathering, so grand kingdom isn’t the most satisfying for the explorer types. But for those who love strategy and uniquely styled tactical RPG’s, this game might just be for you!
It just goes to show, if you judge something by first impressions, you may just miss out on a hidden gem.