Grand Kingdom (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luna Eriksson 27.06.2016

Review for Grand Kingdom on PlayStation 4

A staple in the Japanese TRPG industry is that the player is in charge of a nation's army, or at least part of it, fighting for what they believe in and the survival of their homeland. Grand Kingdom throws all this on its head, as players take control of an army of mercenaries fighting only for the glint of gold and the flow of beer.

A war rages on between the four kingdoms of Resonail. Swords, magic, and death are ever-present across the land. One man's death is another man's bread, however, and mercenaries are feeding themselves quite well on the ongoing tragedy. The biggest group of them, The Guild, has recruited a new band led by a silent and initially nameless protagonist (the player) and a pragmatic alcoholic who only cares about one thing more than the flavour of the next beer: prestige.

The setup is quite minimalistic, along with the rest of the story. This does not ruin the experience at all, however. Far from it. While normally, story is in focus in titles like these, this allows Grand Kingdom to take many liberties that few other games in the genre are allowed to do thanks to plots in which the player is the undisputed hero/heroine. Namely, it allows the game to feel like a war by adding other players to it.

Grand Kingdom offers vast possibilities for players to face off against one another indirectly by taking on their crews in many of the great fights taking place all over Resonail. Fighting other players' bands of mercenaries working for the opposing nation in the current conflict allows the war segments to feel flavourful while still making it possible to fight other players' armies.

Screenshot for Grand Kingdom on PlayStation 4

Even with this much focus put on conflicts between players and the factions they choose to fight for, there is also much to do for players who prefer to stay out of battle. The big pull for solo players is the main story campaign that gives some varied larger scenarios to fight, smaller missions that are scaled to the level of the characters going in to make grinding easier and more fun, and maps in which players hunt for high-bounty enemies to gain access to new weapons and other rewards.

The concept is great, as it offers a new angle to the genre while still keeping veterans of the genre feeling welcomed, but for fans of TRPGs, the gameplay is the greatest pull, and here Grand Kingdom does not fail. The combat is simplistic, yet it allows many tactical decisions. The combat itself is, however, only the tip of the iceberg. The real tactical elements come from the objectives the player is meant to do. Many missions can be won without engaging in a single battle. Some even have this as the requirement to win. This makes moving around the board game-inspired battlefield as important, if not even more so, than being good at combat.

The result is that Grand Kingdomis an easy title to put a lot of time into, but the thing that puts the cherry on the cake is the character customization and progression system. Grand Kingdom offers a great character creation system in which mercenaries for the crew are hired and created by the player, then each character levels independently. This makes it possible to have a lot of characters to level up and prestige for better stat-growth, giving the game an extremely long lifetime to experience the semi-PvP wars that plague the world of Resonail.

Screenshot for Grand Kingdom on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Grand Kingdom takes the Japanese TRPG concept into a new direction, using some interesting design choices to make the MMO conflict elements feel naturally implemented. The choice to make the player a mercenary allows them to take sides in the morally grey war presented without them losing hero status, as they never really had that to begin with. The gameplay is simple yet complex in a way that forces players to think about long-term goals rather than individual battles, making Grand Kingdom a natural choice for people who prefer the "tactical" part over the "role-playing" part of tactical role-playing games.

Developer

Spike Chunsoft

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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