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Default Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions - Review @ TechRaptor

January 5th, 2020, 13:26
Techraptor checked out the tactics RPG Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions:

Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions Review

Praise Kaga

Some might be surprised to learn that the mind behind Nintendo's popular Fire Emblem games, Shouzou Kaga, hasn't had a hand in making the series for years. Kaga left the series developer, Intelligent Systems, after the release of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 in 1999, two decades ago as of this writing. He went on to create Tear Ring Saga, a strategy RPG so similar to Fire Emblem, that Nintendo took him to court. After some time away, Kaga is back with Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions, a Japan-exclusive freeware title from 2016. With a new translation by Dangen Entertainment, more people than ever before can experience this adventure by one of the genre's pioneers.

Studio Vestaria Project is the developer behind Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions. Project is an apt name, since this SRPG feels like a passion project by Kaga and the rest of the developers. While Vestaria Saga is incredibly low-budget (it runs on SRPG Studio, which is very similar to RPG Maker) it's evident that there is a lot of love and care put into crafting this game. Artist Mayumi Hirota, know for her work on Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, created the character portraits for an authentic and retro feel. Character art has a weathered and retro look, like they're from an old manga or 1990s anime. Character designs are quite varied too, assuring that every unit you recruit to your party feels like a unique individual.

[…]

Final Thoughts
The story of Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions is conveyed through an excellent translation. I did not find any errors despite the 2016 release being in Japanese only. Dangen Entertainment had a serious undertaking, as this game contains what feels like a novel's length of dialogue. Story-wise though, it is relatively generic. A continent is embroiled in war, and your young hero needs to save it. The plot is very political in nature, with a lot of the key characters prattling back and forth. Character-wise, I can't say any of them were particularly memorable either - not even the main character, Zade, who was just an uninteresting noble.

Vestaria Saga does boil down to being a game held back by its bare bones, clunky engine, and ugly graphics. While the maps are mostly interesting puzzles with a lot of strategy involved, combat isn't as exciting as Fire Emblem or even the recent Wargroove. If you can look past those flaws, though, you have a game passionately made by industry veterans with cleverly-made maps, awesome portrait art, an absolutely awesome retro soundtrack, and a lot of love and care thrown in.

Review Summary
Puzzling maps and plenty of retro throwbacks to Fire Emblem games of yore make for an exicting SRPG. Unfortunately, the archaic, clunky engine and extremely large maps make gameplay a slog sometimes.

Score: 7/10

Pros
  • Mayumi Hirota's Character Art
  • Great Throwback Soundtrack
  • Interesting Map Objectives
  • Quality Translation
Cons
  • SRPG Studio
  • Some Maps Are Too Large
  • Relatively Uninteresting Combat Mechanics
More information.
Last edited by HiddenX; January 5th, 2020 at 13:37.
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January 5th, 2020, 13:37
You have to play on the orthodox difficulty setting (hard) to enjoy the combat engine and the strategies that are necessary to beat a map.

I'm in the last quarter of the game (after 86 hours) and enjoy every minute of it.
If you want to keep everybody alive you have to replay quite a lot, because the maps have many surprises and difficulties in them.
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January 5th, 2020, 16:19
Can you comment on the con "uninteresting battle mechanics" ? Makes me think it might be simplistic ?

Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
You have to play on the orthodox difficulty setting (hard) to enjoy the combat engine and the strategies that are necessary to beat a map.

I'm in the last quarter of the game (after 86 hours) and enjoy every minute of it.
If you want to keep everybody alive you have to replay quite a lot, because the maps have many surprises and difficulties in them.
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January 5th, 2020, 16:33
How a character attacks and defends depends on
  1. the character's class (nearly every character has a class of it's own)
  2. the equipped weapon

So for each map, you have to choose
  1. the right party mix
  2. the right equipment

Weapons downgrade which each hit, when they reach zero durability points they break. Unique weapons can often be recharged, but the recharge material is hard to find/expensive to buy. So you really have choose, do I use the expensive weapon or a secondary cheaper one.
I find the whole mix quite complex (and I'm a tactics RPG veteran). The map design is fantastic - you will ask yourself often - how on earth should I beat this scenario?
You'll will run in a lot of traps. Each map is a puzzle to solve.
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January 5th, 2020, 19:18
I really must pick this one up at some point, just hearing that HiddenX has spent almost ninety hours with the game has me psyched to give it a full vetting!
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January 6th, 2020, 11:07
I'm in complete agreement with HiddenX about this - the game is gripping and challenging in a really unique way (and very much agree about playing on hard). The visuals are old and limited by the system (though individually done) but if you want to spend a tactics game thinking about tactics, this is where it's at.

The game's actually hard!

I'm about halfway through the game and… really don't agree with much of that review.

And also worth noting: when Nintendo took Kaga to court? Kaga won.
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January 6th, 2020, 17:08
Beating Nintendo in court is quite the accomplishment in my book. The only thing I really don't care for that I've heard so far is the weapon degradation system, but there are usually ways to deal with that within games.
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January 8th, 2020, 15:46
awesome, sold !
thnx hiddenX
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January 9th, 2020, 15:35
Game looks great. I will pick it up in near future. Thank you for info, had no clue about its existence.
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