Published on June 24th, 2016 | by Bryan Rose0
Grand Kingdom Review (Vita)
Strategy RPGs aren’t the biggest trend going on in the video game world right now, but you do see a few here and there that manage to trickle over to North American shores. Grand Kingdom, out now for the Vita and PS4, is a good example. It’s not perfect, as there are a few story issues that didn’t win me over, but with rock solid gameplay mechanics and terrific presentation, Grand Kingdom is one of the best strategy games to PlayStation systems in a long while.
There’s not much to write about regarding the story, I gotta say. It’s serviceable, but not memorable or revolutionary in any way. You control a group of mercenaries headed by yourself, and your two assistants, Flint and Lillia, as you work on tasks for four nations who are all at war with one another. It’s relatively simple and nothing new – perfectly competent would be the best two words to describe it. In terms of actual characters, Flint is pretty annoying and not very likable, more worried about getting drunk and harassing Lillia, repeatedly calling her a “chick.” It’s passe and even a bit chauvinistic, which is weird as you should like this character, but I never ended up getting into him.
The real meat of the game lies within its gameplay, as while there is a story and the goal of the game is to complete that story, the game is really all about setting up the right kind of team to go out into the field and battle. The way you move in the game is very much like a game of chess; you control one piece and move around on the board, sometimes coming across treasure or traps. You’ll also, of course, face off against enemies. Depending on what the objectives are for each battle, either you try and conserve energy as you go along each battle or you can recover and try again. The game can be a bit difficult at times, but that’s the joy of a strategy game; you need to think of the best way to advance, and Grand Kingdom is good at letting you do that and forge your own way to victory.
Customization in the game is very deep. You set up your own various teams full of different classes that you’d find in any RPG. You can choose their gender, class, name, voice – pretty much anything you want or need, you can get and hire to be in your own party. Each class has different upgrades and abilities you acquire as they level up. There’s so many diverse ways to set up a party. It’s staggering, but in a good way!
There’s also online play, in which you join one of the four kingdoms in online war. You don’t actually encounter any humans, however – everything’s AI controlled except for the formations in which your opponents fight, which is controlled by the human. This was a nice little distraction, and did help me when levelling up lower level troops in my game, but didn’t feel like a necessary part of the experience.
In what is somewhat of a rarity nowadays, Grand Kingdom is a complete 2D adventure. I reviewed the Vita version, so it’s not in HD, but the graphics still looked really well done. Models are nice and detailed, the environments look great and everything has a nice, polished feel to it. Colorful would be the best way to describe the game.
As for the music, I wouldn’t say that it’s completely memorable, but all the tracks here were pretty fun to hear and listen to and I never had a problem. There’s also full voice acting for the game, which is fine, but nothing revolutionary. Flint comes off as somewhat whiny and annoying, but there’s no one outright bad or annoying in terms of voice.
I really enjoyed my time with Grand Kingdom. It’s a deep game filled with hours of finely paced combat, loads of customisation options and varied mechanics that strategy RPG enthusiasts will salivate over. The story could have been better, but as a whole Grand Kingdom is a great strategy RPG to spend many hours on.
Summary: With great graphics, easy to learn combat system and deep customization, Grand Kingdom is one of the best strategy RPGs to hit both the PS4 and Vita.