When it comes to JRPGs, you'd think that it's all been done before. However, Grand Kingdom is here to prove you wrong. With inventive tactical battles set in a wondrous world, get ready for one immersive strategic experience.
What's a Grand Kingdom?
I'm glad you asked. After playing the very impressive beta, I can say that it's a promising new strategy RPG that is unlike anything that I've played before. Basically, you create a party of hired mercenaries then fight in wars on a board game style map. Whenever you encounter en enemy, you're taken to a battle screen. These bouts are incredibly enjoyable but I'll talk more about the battle system later. Anyway, you fight alongside a nation of your choosing and your allegiance with them strengthens the more you serve them well. With online components that allow you to compete against rival nations and invade enemy territory, you're looking at quite an expansive gameplay dynamic.
Who are the characters?
You play as the leader of a gang who wants to make his military unit world renowned. You never get to see yourself and characters just address you as "boss". This will make you feel like you're actually in the game which is pretty nifty. Other characters include a hot-headed soldier who always wants you to charge ahead even if the odds are against you and the daughter of a high-ranking official who plays by the rules and carries around a book of proverbs that she lives by. You'll also encounter various leaders who range from dignified to wacky and many mercenaries that you recruit along the way. These soldiers don't have much identity besides their appearance and name that you provide but you'll probably grow fond of them as you command them in battle.
The artwork is well done with moving illustrations that bring a lot of personality to each character. Soldiers pop off the beautiful background art in battle with their vibrant sprites and fluid animations. To add even more personality, a talented English voice cast perform the lines of major characters. After watching the conversations of a handful of folks, I'm definitely looking forward to meeting more of the cast when the full game arrives. After all, it wouldn't be a worthwhile JRPG without colourful characters.
What's the battle system like?
If you've ever played Guardian Heroes then imagine that but turn-based. In other words, you move your units across three planes while unleashing a variety of attacks and abilities to put an end to your enemies. Each soldier can only move a certain distance so positioning them out of harm's way while also being able to effectively slay your foes becomes a tricky endeavor. This is especially true when you consider the fact that allies can hurt each other. If you cast a spell that harms everyone in a line then make sure none of your chums accidentally step in the way or they can be toast. To be honest, that unfortunately happened to me a bit too many times. Overall, these are incredibly challenging battles that require much more strategy than you'll initially assume.
I'm excited for Grand Kingdom's release next month as I haven't played a game that has captured my attention this much in a long time. Stay tuned for more coverage and look forward to Grand Kingdom releasing on June 21 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.