NIS America drafts the strategic role-playing game, Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos to the PSP. The Generation of Chaos series has sprung five hit PS2 games in Japan and now North America gets their chance to check out Never-Land Comapny's strategic PSP evolution of Generation of Chaos. Get involved in three worlds of conflict stretching from angels and demons to a kingdom ruled under a ruthlessness hand.
I haven’t had the chance to explore Generation of Chaos in the past so I was excited to try out NIS America's latest strategy RPG. I’m an easy target for a good strategy game and Generations of Chaos definitely offers up a challenge for strategy fans. Deep involved in placement of armies, strategic alignments, and use of terraforming is just the tip of the planning and action in Aedis Eclipse. Instantly, Aedis Eclipse comes off as a game that isn’t geared towards new SRPG gamers. To be effective and really take to Aedis Eclipse I assume you will need a little background in the genre. I could be mistaken and if you’re a gamer who loves a challenge, then by all means give Never-Land Company’s offering a shot.
Aedis Eclipse features the standard good vs. evil format, although rather than one storyline path, Aedis offers three different paths; the ‘Divine World’ a world of angels and demons, the “Upper World” filled with knights and royalty, and the “Lower World” a war torn land that focuses on young military students and their escapades. This is where I started in Aedis Eclipse, mainly because it includes a tutorial. Starting off with the tutorial is vital to understanding the games mechanics. Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos is a complex grid based strategy game and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is going to take a while to get into the swing of things with Aedis Eclipse, but like a bike once you get on its clear and easy riding.
The story elements in Aedis are fairly predominant, although I found them a little hard to get into, but that could be personal taste. Generation of Chaos has some intriguing characters along with a few story-line arches that are interesting; however the majority of storyline content could have been lifted from any previous role-playing game. For me Aedis offering is in the combat and strategic elements. Like I mentioned above, I’m sucker for SRPG’s, and if it has a grid, I’m even more hooked.
The battles scenarios will have you making advanced preparations, selecting your captains, checking out the opponent’s elemental attachment and grid placement before sending in your first line. The combat situations need to be plotted out a head of time for the most part, picking a strong leader and a back-up plan if you fail is important. I tried the Rambo approach a few times and was taught a lesson. I wouldn’t suggest heading into battle without a strategy unless you’re in tune with the Black Parade. In battle you will need to arrange front and rear guards which can be selected from eight different formations. For each foe you will have to consider a defensive or aggressive approach which goes back to Rambo technique sometime aggressive b-line attacking isn’t necessary the best solution.
Once you find yourself in a battle you might be wondering what is happening because the battles are computer controlled. All you’re required to do is pick the formation of your troops and keep those fingers crossed. This hands-off approach to the combat really took me back and it took me a while to get used to not participating. If I had the choice I would have rather been in a turn based affair with direct control over my troops. This lowers Aedis Eclipse appeal, although it does speed up the overall length rather then drudging through a whole level for hours. Some other interesting aspects of the combat in Aedis Eclipse are the ability to take opposing leaders as prisoners. With them held captive you can try to convert them to your cause or let them go on their way. The rewards are plentiful when winning a battle which helps the boost your feeling of accomplishment, although it would have been more satisfactory if we actually could control the action.
For flaws Aedis Eclipses biggest one comes in the form of a clunky interface that is confusing and feels unnatural. The menu system also has a slight delay that kept causing me to think I hit the wrong button. It’s not the end of the world and Aedis is still playable, but I can’t help to think it could have been better. The tutorial portion of Aedis Eclipse is also weak. The game is a lot more in-depth then the parts skimmed over in the tutorial. I also felt that they didn’t explain the game so it’s easy to grasp. While learning how to play Aedis I had moments in which the tutorial confused me and I had to figure out certain parts on my own. These two factors might seem like not much of a big deal, but in a strategy game where you need intuitive controls and clear instructions, Aedis Eclipse fails. If these two areas have been improved the gameplay score would have jumped a notch or two.
Aedis Eclipse attacks with Japanese heavy metal blasting and characters over acting, it’s a standard Japanese formula that seems to work. The graphics are cute and adorable on the 3-D level and then spawn forward to cool and wonderfully rendered art for the overlay screens in the story. Again, this is another aspect that goes hand and hand with games of this nature, and in a way its part of the appeal. NIS America had worked to bring the framerate up, but still drags, but not as much as their last PSP offering in Spectral Souls. For resolution and texture Aedis is sufficiently clear and clean cut with a few moments of flare like particle effects. If you want to hear the original voice work you can turn on the Japanese voice tracks and do away with another over-dramatic translation script reading. All in all, Aedis Eclipse has some short comings, but it still looks good enough to nudge past average.
Heavy on the strategy end of role-playing, Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos will have your brain working overtime as you learn the complex inner workings of the game. Causal fans will have their hands full if you’re attempting to jump right into the action, Aedis Eclipse is obviously directed to the more hardcore SRPG fans. Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos ends up feeling like chaos, unfocused and under whelming. A little more interface development time and instructional tutorials could have gone a long way. Plus, I wanted to be more hands on combat then a pre controlled fight.
If you’re a die-hard follower of all things strategic then I’m sure you’ll quickly see the depth and redeeming qualities of Aedis Eclipse. Everyone else shy away from this series and wait for a more accessible strategic role-playing game from NIS America, its name is Disgaea.
Gameplay: 6, Graphics/Sound: 6, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 6. Final: 6 / 10