Platforms: PlayStation 4, PS Vita
God Wars: Future Past is a Tactical RPG that is based on Japan's oldest historical book, The Kojiki, with Buddhist mythological figure Shaka. The premise of the game sounds very interesting. On concept alone it should work as long as there is a nice story to follow. Is it one to consider playing or perhaps even purchasing? Let's take a look.
The game starts off with some beautiful artwork and sounds to go with it. You really begin to wonder what is happening, but not long after it cuts to some volcanic lava and a cliff looming over. It's a kid being used as a human sacrifice. Then it cuts to 13 years later and the beginning of chapter 1.
Now, it takes a lot of inspiration from mythology and the lore derived from it. It falls short on what it tries to deliver in some places, yet stands to be good in others. The map isn't that deep on it's surface, either. Once you finish a small portion of the way through you realize that other games did the same layout better. I think it's okay for what it does, but you just stop looking at it altogether because it's all pretty linear. Visually, everything looks good and I wished you could explore more areas.
Cringe-worthy voice acting sets in from the first few lines of dialog. I'm judging the English dub. Some are trying to sound depressed or scared, some you know are just reading their lines, others are just plain bad. The main characters themselves do okay, but much of their lines can also be a bit stilted. The Japanese voices seem good. The characters are not that interesting to begin with. Kintaro is the very first protagonist to come across, and he says, "I don't like to fight." Less than 3 minutes later, he initiates one over a girl. Her name is Kaguya who is the next in line for sacrifice. We learn Kaguya is in search of her mother, Tsukiyomi. That's really about it. It's not a story that I would get invested in because I see it a lot in RPGs. It will be compelling story for a lot of people I'm sure, and it does a wonderful job at telling it, just feels like I been there many times before.
For a basic story such as that, it doesn't really grab me. So, I focused more on combat. It's turn-based like many Tactics games with your terrain either being a help or hindrance to your battles. The higher elevation can add to attack, or outright block your character's sight if it's too steep. There can be obstacles in your way such as boulders, rivers, or cliffs. Most battles also contain treasure boxes you can get extra loot from or herbs you can harvest. I really enjoy that it can be tough, but it can also be too difficult in some parts needing to grind for levels. Raising and lowering your attack, poisoning the enemy, or even attempting to place the status effect Slow on them can shift the battle in your favor. With how tough the enemies can be, it adds to the length of finishing, but it's still a pretty short game compared to most Tactics games such as with the Disgaea series.
I swear, almost every battle is the same. Most all will have the victory condition of defeating all the enemies as well as have nearly the same types of enemies using the same tactics. A game can't live off the same thing every fight, resulting in a game becoming a bit boring and a chore to play. You will be thankful for story. Oh and you will also die a lot if you don't have enough herbs or life stones to last in battle, this was playing on Normal Mode.
Almost every Tactical RPG is the same in mechanics, but this one has a more complicated inventory system. There is a lot to be desired when it comes to this. It's overly complicated. You go into the menu screen where you can "Edit, " as in each character you can equip or use items on, and then "Inventory" where all you do is check the info on said item, weapons, and armor. Yes, that's right. An entire inventory screen just dedicated to checking info on stuff you carry. Pretty sure the two should be integrated.
Like most Tactical RPGs you have jobs and skills. It's really not a bad selection between them. You train with your job equipped, and gain the usual level, skill points, and eventually unlock new skills. However, it does seem like such a small amount of skills you are able to unlock it hardly seems worth figuring out which you would like to unlock first. You can also just change to certain jobs instantly if you don't like the current one.
There are a pretty decent amount of weapons, armor, accessories, and items to obtain with more becoming available later in the game. When you visit shops, you have the options to Buy, Sell, or Try On. I don't like this third option, because there is clearly enough room next to the numbers to place arrows up or down on the Buy screen. The third option is really unnecessary and you can feel it take longer to buy gear than it normally might.
In fact, the whole inventory system between shops and yourself is so much that I feel I can't place up photos without it being a cluttered mess.
There are also shrines, which you can either accept requests or worship. The requests are there to supply more money and experience from helping the locals. Worshiping the shrine nets you extra bonus stats depending on your offering. It only adds to the game and is a nice addition.
I enjoy the soundtrack. I think it's one that has been similarly used too often, but I enjoy it nonetheless. The sound effects they use are really high quality. Really not much else to say about it. It's what I expect out of any RPG. It all works well with what the game is as a whole. You might need to adjust the music and voice levels during the game because it's not well mixed on default settings.
Overall it's slightly above average. A decent game. For something so wrapped up in mythology, I really wanted it to be better. Anything that has real world lore to it is always going to grab my attention. This story looked interesting to me. It was a nice concept. I just had trouble getting through it. It needs a lot of polish and I would have probably recommended this.
This game is available now for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. This review is largely based on the PS4 version.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This game was provided to A-to-J Connections free-of-charge by the publisher for the purpose of review.