Agarest: Generations of War 2 (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 08.03.2015 4

Review for Agarest: Generations of War 2 on PC

Agarest: Generations of War 2, developed by Compile Heart and published by Ghostlight LTD over in the UK, has now landed on PC. After taking a look at Agarest: Generations of War Zero and Agarest: Generations of War, it is time to see whether this latest game is a success or merely a sad downgrade from the original. Maintaining it's highly niche appeal, this new entry removes a sizeable amount of content in favour of some choices, but are they questionable ones or do they make for a better experience overall?

It's sad to see a game like this. Compile Heart has shown itself to be one of the few developers out there willing to come out swinging, knowing full well that it is not going to be an AAA company producing amazing games and, in doing so, has allowed itself to experiment around. It will be a long time before another company even tries to consider the dungeon customisation found in Fairy Fencer F or the sheer, enjoyable, parody fun of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 in the AAA industry. Some may say it's for the better, some may say it's for the worse, but both sides will likely agree that, after all that, the company has returned to releasing an uninspired title with only a few changes, whcih is disheartening at best.

As said in the prior review of Agarest: Generations of War Zero, much of the game can be reviewed easily simply by reading the previous article and mentally replacing the names. While Agarest: Generations of War 2 does offer some deviations from this set formula, thankfully, these changes are, sadly, ones that the game suffers for in the end as it strips away much of what made the original at least somewhat likeable and replaces them with a paltry offering of new mechanics that can be considered 'controversial,' to say the least.

Screenshot for Agarest: Generations of War 2 on PC

The game starts off with the main character, Weiss, slaying the god Chaos. However, the feat (which serves as the tutorial, meaning he needs to be reminded in battle against the god he had been fighting, to reach just how to actually battle against it. It would be kind of funny if it wasn't played dead serious) bestows him with the dreaded 'JRPG hero with amnesia' disease and he wakes up in the home of a girl with no knowledge of who he is. It isn't long before he is met by another girl claiming to be the servant of a god - hijinks ensue.

The game deviates from the last one in several, smaller, ways but the biggest is easily the change in battle system. Last time round, a system of grid-based combat was in place that allowed the player to move about tactically across the field of battle. While it had some shortcomings (like that one annoying enemy who hid in a corner, just out of reach, preventing the A-rank) it also had its charm and a sizeable amount of depth. Getting characters in just the right position to deal careful move combos was key, and the mere act of planning out this placement could make the brain at least function.

Screenshot for Agarest: Generations of War 2 on PC

However, Agarest: Generations of War 2 has instead opted to go with a new system of combat in which the two sides line up on opposing sides of the field and wail at each other in possibly the weakest attempt at 'turn-based strategy' that didn't default to the line-up of the old JRPGs. In this set-up, characters rely on stringing together a combo-chain of attacks. While such a thing might sound interesting on paper, in reality it's little more of an uninteresting twitch-based combat. While it may speed up the individual battles and may reduce the grinding, the loss of strategy combined with the general lack of depth to the system causes it to come in as underwhelming.

The game also utilises an overworld map with standard random battle encounters, with the option to trigger a battle at will. While this does alleviate any required grinding, ultimately it does not negate that there is both grinding and a general lack of interest, as nothing will stand out to grab the player's interest on said map in any way. It would have been better to stick to the 2D movement and at least offer some interesting visuals than be trapped in a fairly generic and funnelled landscape.

Screenshot for Agarest: Generations of War 2 on PC

Thankfully, the character art has received a minor upgrade as some movements seem to be more noticeable and the motion, while still lacking on the whole, is at least more present instead of being barely noticeable. It still pales in comparison to what can be done with still sprites, as other games in Compile Hearts library have shown, but it does at least also attempt to improve.

However, this is lost on the characters themselves. Many seem visually uninspired and hold flat and obvious personalities. While this isn't as bad as some other games that do not even try, compared to other works in Compile Heart's library it is still disheartening. Even without the comparison, there is just little in terms of overall interest. Sure, the cute healer girl is sweet, but it stays fairly static on the whole.

Screenshot for Agarest: Generations of War 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

It's sad to see the series stumble like this while stuck in such a defined rut. It's not that the Agarest series can't be good, but the titles have made seemingly zero effort to try and break free from the standards and clichés of the genre and have, instead, regressed with this latest release, Agarest: Generations of War 2. It has almost reached the levels of being a 'paint by numbers' RPG with the only thing really saving it being…nothing. It has only the faintest reminder that it could have been so much more. It would be a better investment to simply buy Fire Emblem: Awakening and receive a much better game in all aspects than to focus on this.

Developer

Idea Factory

Publisher

Ghostlight

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Is there any good kuudere characters? If so, it might be worth a look into... ~

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

I don't agree with this review at all, quite frankly I have to wonder if the game was even played with a statement like this:
'As said in the prior review of Agarest: Generations of War Zero, much of the game can be reviewed easily simply by reading the previous article and mentally replacing the names'

The game changes from a grid/strategy game to a game more like Valkrie Profile, hard to get more of a 'change' in the JRPG genre.

These are all opinions anyway, but this one seemed like he had a bone to pick on the series.

My 'bone' is that I loved the prior two titles as well as Compile Heart's other work. Agarest 2, by comparison, just feels utterly uninspired and generic. Even removing the comparison to its prior games there just isn't much to recommend it over, say, Defender's Quest or Recettear unless you really like RPG's with dating elements. Even an RPG like Blue Dragon or Lost Odyssey at least attempts something unique, but Agarest 2 just feels like it's just the continuation of a rut; and not a very good one.

It's a shame too as, before I started here at Cubed 3, I had no idea what Compile Heart even was beyond that they were, somehow, related to Hyperdimensional Neptuina which a lot of people were up in arms about. Ever since starting and playing their games, however, I've come to like them as a developer. They're not the best but they are at least doing something beyond just sticking to safe bets. But this game is just a par-for-the-course RPG when you get down to it.

Also, FFX to FFXII. Traditional, if slightly modified, turn-based combat to real-time gambit-based gameplay or, if you.. consider... it to be a sequel... FFVII to Dirge of Cerberus. Not saying you're invalid, just that there has been plenty of changes for RPG's over the years that have been of similar scale.

This was very helpful. I have limited time to play so It's always nice knowing when I can skip an average title. I never liked twitch based combat anyway. 

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