Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Grand Kingdom BETA (PS4) - First Impressions

I've spent some time playing through Grand Kingdom's BETA tutorial today on my PS4, and have come to realize that the game is not at all what I expected it to be. I expected a more Japanese presentation, but was met with an art style, and gameplay that can best be described as "American" in nature. The whole game is kind of simplistic in design with the main focus being on the lane based tactical combat contained within. Oddly enough it is Japanese developer Spike Chunsoft who created this particular RPG though, which baffles me to no end. When it comes down to gameplay, and game management the whole ordeal feels as if it's geared towards a free-to-play format. It doesn't feel grand in scale like most NISA games, and has a sort of indie atmosphere about it. Gameplay, as it were, is done via two main features. This includes moving a pawn-like avatar through an semi-overhead map to it's end destination within a set amount of moves, and engaging in actual party inclusive battle scenarios during said maze-like traveling. All while avoiding traps, and using available menu options along the way.

When you meet up with the enemy's avatars (or pawns) on the game's map display you will be taken into the battle screen where your troupe of mercenaries stand in their four respective lanes to the left, and the enemies in their respective lanes to the right. Sometimes there will be hidden traps, and objects placed in the lanes between you, and your enemies as well. The point of the battle is basically to make proper use of your party members' skills, and attacks as you move them a limited amount of times on, and between any of the lanes. The combat is turn based, and relies heavily on class type offerings, and tactics. Classes available in the BETA are limited, but include a Knight, a Medic, a Witch, and an Archer. Each of which has varying weapon/skill reach, and capabilities on the battlefield. The end goal of it all is to kill off the opposing leader, and the rest of the enemy troops before your party members are killed off. Of course there will be a boss fight when you reach the end marker of the current campaign map, but that too plays out in a similar way as the standard battles do. Keep in mind some enemy avatars harbor stronger enemy types, and that engaging them is not always the wisest of options. Sometimes using map menu skills to bypass the enemy avatars will be the best course of action, especially if your party is ill-prepared for the situation.

As far as party management options go you will be doing most of your equipping, and readying at the guild which you were hired at. This includes the equipment shopping/equipping, party member recruiting/hiring, and campaign accepting. There's even some detailed character customization options with which to personalize your party. When it comes to the lore, and driving force behind your party's actions you'll find that the Uldien Empire which is made up of four warring kingdoms has fallen, and that mercenary guilds are fighting among themselves for food, and fortune. Kingdom, and character names are thrown at you during the initial tutorial, but vaguely so making the combat once again the main focus of the game. One thing that I find interesting about all of it is that the game seems to carry with it an online/offline competitive side which will have you doing daily tasks as you compete against other in-game guilds. The online offerings are a speculation at this point though as the BETA only offers a portion of the offline Campaign to playthrough, and little else. There's also the "OFFLINE" display in the guild menu system hinting at possible online play. If there is online play involved, and some significant replay value along with it then the game might actually live up to it's namesake, and warrant a paid pricing. For now though I'm not too terribly impressed. With that having been said you will find that this is a BETA, and things are subject to change. The fact that we are also only shown a small portion of the game hints at the fact that it may be RPG length in scale.

If you fancy trying the BETA out for yourself 'May 3rd' will be an important date for you to remember as it will be the point where you can sign up for a BETA code. Simply visit the link below, and check it out for yourself. I highly suggest that you do. Nothing beats hands-on experience!

Grand Kingdom BETA (May 3, 2016) - Grand Kingdom BETA

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