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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: NIS
Developed by: NIS
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now
Written By: Matthew Prunty

Once you have taken on the role of the hero, whether mail or female, you find out about the history of the World Eaters and how they; led by their master, were able to ravage the lands. However, because of the unwillingness of the people, the powers of Good were able to seal away the master, thus ending the crusade of horror of the World Eaters. After a long period of peace throughout the world, the World Eaters have re-awoken to continue their crusade against the world, but only this time you have an advantage against the forces of evil. After the first couple of minutes of the game, your character finds himself/herself fusing with the dark master, trying to take advantage of his powers to defeat the remaining World Eaters.

From a visual perspective, Soul Nomad falls along the lines of GrimGrimoire more so than Disgaea does. The game still follows an anime-influenced art style, but unlike Disgaea, the character models follow a more realistic perspective over the out-of-proportion character designs. Looking at the character sprites, they are well detailed and animated, but overall resolution is relatively low. Seeing how Nippon Ichi is trying to keep a consistent framerate; while trying to keep the action intense and involving, they did not see a real need to maximize the overall resolutions. The highest point to the visuals effects would come via the special attacks acquired as you progress through the game. Just like with Wild ARMs 5, these special attacks take up the whole screen, giving off unique-colored animations. The special attacks are very magical, but after awhile, just as in Wild ARMs 5, they will get tiresome to watch repeatedly, so Nippon Ichi took an extra step to allow gamers to turn of extended battles, which shortens the battles, and keeps the game interesting.

After the opening scenes of the game, players will notice that the combat has done away with the “isometric perspective” in favor for a 2D imaging display from a top-down view. The battles are fought across large outdoor maps, which are divided into a grid-based layout. Now looking at the grid layout, each square represents with a certain type of terrain, which can have positive and negative affects on your squads. These squads are part of the depth of the title because it is all about creating the perfect team (Squad).

Once a squad is created, they are placed in a 3x3-grid room, which serves as their home. Just like with any S-RPG, the further you progress through the game, the more equipment and members you will gain access to. With Soul Nomad, you will gain access to creating different squads, acquiring numerous positions for each room, and even different types of rooms. And just like the squads, the rooms can be customized with up to four decors, which range from increasing the squad’s defensive percentage to creating a walking time bomb, which can cause great devastation to your enemies.

After getting past all the customization being dealt out via the squads and rooms, the combat is straightforward, though not without its own twists. Each battle begins with your main squad, the hero squad, on the map. Before entering into the battle, you can decide whether to stick you your current squad, or swap them out for a more favorable advantage. Once the opposing teams are on the battlefield, they alternate turns via attacks or utilizing tactics to boost their offense and defense stats. Now that you have a basic idea of the battles, here comes the twist…

While you may be able to decide what squad you will be using to attack your opponents, you do not have control over selecting which individual units will attack an enemy. The game’s A.I. has total control on how the battles plays out (in respects to your squad) and does a fairly good job, but there are moments that you wish you could slap the computer for choosing the wrong strategic attacks. When engaged in battle, your squad’s movement and attacks cost stamina points, which can have a great affect on the damage dealt out by your attacks and how accurate the attacks are. While this may seem like a bad thing, once your stamina lost passes a threshold, you gain the ability to deal out special attacks, following your normal attacks. These special attacks are contingent upon the types and number of units that are composed within your squad.

Another shining force of Soul Nomad has to be the voice acting. Out of all the voices, Gig’s voice has the ability to carry over characteristics that are tried and true to the character (arrogance, outrage, and indifferent). The rest of the cast offer solid performances, which help carry the story along from one moment to the next. Another nice addition is the inclusion of all the audio being put into Japanese, which I am sure will appease those special gamers out there. In regards to the musical score, there are several orchestral arrangements and lyrical chanting that helps set the mood for battles and when there is an exchange of dialog between characters.

If there were to ever be a game with loads of replay value that would be Soul Nomad. The game encompasses several different endings that can be acquired, depending on which character is used when beating the game. However, upon completing the game, there is a paired ending for practically every single character within the game. There are also numerous rooms and units that are unlocked throughout the game, and a “demon path” campaign. In the “demon path” campaign, players will be able to fully embrace the dark side and take part in a completely new story, which will also come with two additional endings to acquire. Looking at both sides of the game, you have roughly 40 hours of gameplay in normal mode and about 10-20 hours within the “demon path” campaign, which makes for one action-packed RPG experience that any lover of the arts would love to dissect.

Soul Nomad & The World Eaters is a welcome addition to the RPG realm and for PS2 owners looking for some quality titles for the aging console. Whether a newcomer or a season veteran, this game is full of depth; via customization, that will please both sides through creating a unique army. Fans of RPG games, especially strategy RPG nuts, will find lots of value within Soul Nomad and will always find a reason to come back for more. Though not a big fan of strategy RPG, I have to say that this is game you can easily get addicted to.


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