Call it back peddling, or whatever you may, but I have changed my mind about "Grand Kingdom". I think it has potential. This second thought comes after spending some more time with the BETA, and seeing what else it had to offer. While I still feel the anime style is a bit simplistic/indie in nature, and that the story isn't as in-depth as it could be the combat more than makes up for it. I find it to be a nice change from the traditional strategy RPG formulas. It's kind of addictive, and fun at the same time. I also like the in-game character design, the fact you can change the spoken language to the original Japanese, and the added fact that it has an online component which allows you to send out or command your troops in contracted wars within one of the game's four guilds. It seems to be one of those drop in, and drop out RPG experiences that can be played anytime you feel like it. Of course you will have to check in on your troops every once in a while if you send them out via the "Detachment (automated)" option, but other than that it seems to be a leisurely gaming experience with a bit of longevity involved. The online connectivity definitely offers some replay value.
If you have not played the BETA for yourself yet I highly suggest that you sign up for it. It will be open to the public May 3rd, and you can find an attached link to it in my previous "First Impressions" article. Just click on the provided link, drop in your date of birth, and give the necessary information. Afterwards NISA will email you your BETA code which contains the tutorial in it's entirety, some of the campaign, and some slight online offerings. I have been informed that your progress in the BETA will transfer over to the full game should you decide to buy it. Remember, hands-on experience is the best way to figure out if a game is for you, and NISA is extending such an opportunity for all of you. Don't miss out!