Sacrifices Were Made | God Wars Review

God Wars: The Complete Legend for the Nintendo Switch

Growing up, I’ve always been a huge fan of Role-Playing Games but one sub-genre I rarely indulged in was tactical RPG’s. That all changed once I purchased Eternal Eyes for the PlayStation. I quite enjoyed it, having beaten it twice, but then afterwards, I fell out of TRPG’s for a bit. That was until I played Disgaea, my next foray into the genre and what eventually hooked me. So when I was offered a code by NIS America to cover God Wars: The Complete Saga, I jumped on it; I was beyond excited. How does it stack up against the older brother though; let’s talk about that.

Initially released in 2017, God Wars: The Complete Saga is an expanded retelling of it’s former incarnation, God Wars: Future Past. Upon booting it up, you’re graced with an animation that shows a mother having to do the unthinkable, sacrifice her child. In an effort to appease Mount Fuji, she has to helplessly watch as her daughter is swallowed by the volcano. Sound familiar right, and it should as it follows Japanese folklore with sprinklings of the Kojiko.

You’ll follow Kayuga, third daughter of the Queen of Fuji who happens to be the same woman from the opening. As you may have surmised, this means you’re set to be a sacrifice yourself, much like your sister before you. However, bonded by the promise he made to you, Kintaro, with the help of Kuma, comes to your rescue. You’ll then set out on a journey to find your mother and along the way, you’ll meet several colorful characters. You also may come across a few surprises that may or may not alter your journey.

~ Writing ~

It’s always been my belief that the most important pillar to any Role-Playing adventure is the writing. The way dialogue is presented is the difference between hindering or creating immersion. If done correctly, it gives a sense of believablity to your characters. I’m happy to report that for the most part, God Wars: The Complete Saga does a great job. It also, however, falters and one example can be found within the first few minutes.

Shortly following the opening, you’re introduced to four travelers locked in conflict. Food has become scarce and despite protests, their Chief refuses to open the Country Storage. Having had enough, two men decide to revolt and attack the shrine where it lays. Disappointed but not surprised by what has transpired, the Chief turns to the remaining young man, Kintaro. He then asks why he isn’t joining in, to which Kintaro answers, he dislikes fighting. With no further questions, the Chief faces the bonfire and this prompts the young man to exclaim that he will after all.

This exchange felt lazily written to me and I’ll explain why. While Kintaro reveals that fighting makes him hungry, his change of heart felt odd. You later learn his reason for changing his mind is because of a promise he made to someone. To me, that shows that he always had something that out-trumped his hunger panes, so why mention it as a reason for not joining the other two. It felt like instead of that ping pong effect of “I don’t want to go because i get hungry but I’ll go because of a promise” wasn’t needed. It caused the whole exchange not to flow seamlessly and seemed as if the writers wrote themselves in a corner. To get out of it, they resorted to a bit of mechanical speak to get back on track.

One other example was a scene that takes place shortly after you’ve rescued Kaguya. You’ll eventually come face-to-face with one of your mother’s subjects. In excitement, she’ll yell “Is that you?!” to which you’ll answer “It is I, Kaguya”. This exchange to me felt robotic, there was nothing organic about it. As a consequence, I found myself taken out of the immersion and I had to reread it twice. Unfortunately, this sort of mechanical writing is present throughout, although, in sporadic amounts.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though as I did find the overall story to be easy to follow. The only complaint that I have is within the first few episodes of Chapter 1, you’re bombarded by characters. It became overwhelming and didn’t allow me a chance to be acquainted with each one.

~ Flaws ~

When I first began God Wars: The Complete Saga, I’ll readily admit that I somehow forgot the existence of a skill tree. While it’s clear age hasn’t been kind to me, this did allow me to focus on this titles biggest flaw. Battles to me never seemed fun, in fact, I’d often hate doing them. It felt like a chore and one of the reasons is the level design; some were needlessly large. Your characters already have limited movement so this exasperated wait times. I would spend a few minutes each battle watching the enemy advance. I felt adding a skip button would have alleviated this, masking how bland or large a level is.

The second flaw or needless addition is a command that appears while watching your opponent situate themselves. You’ll see “Interruption” pop up but I was never able to discern its purpose. Upon choosing it, it did allow me to look at their status but that was it. You could argue it’s to also allow you a chance to strategize you’re next move. I, however, do this at the start of my turn, rendering this rather redundant.

~ Gameplay & Controls ~

For those familiar with tactical RPG’s, there’s no surprises to what you can expect here. During battles, you move along a grid until you’re within reach of an enemy to either attack or cast a spell. You can choose to either strike, defend, or search spots the glisten to uncover items. Since you’ll sometimes run into differing elevations, expect this to play a role when coming up with a strategy. For example, if you find yourself at a higher height than whoever you’re attacking, you’ll do more damage. If you find yourself lower, you’ll do less damage to your opponent. Alternatively, if you attack from behind or the sides, expect to also inflict more pain.

In God Wars: The Complete Saga, don’t anticipate any villages to visit since you’ll be disappointed. The way it’s split up is rather reminiscent of how it was handled in another NIS America title, Fallen Legion. You’ll either be doing battle or enter a story-based scene. You’ll also unlock shrines which act as hubs for side-quests. You’ll be able to choose between a number of them and once completed, you’ll unlock an advanced quest.

In terms of controls, one thing to keep in mind is that during battle, the analog stick was rather jumpy. Whenever I’d try to select my characters next movement, the cursor never stopped where I wanted it to. Thankfully, this was easily fixed the moment I switched to using the split D-Pad. I didn’t experience any other difficulties with controls throughout my session.

~ Mechanics ~ 

For those who’ve finished Octopath Traveler, you’ll find a familiar mechanic in God Wars: The Complete Saga. The job system returns and each character has a main, secondary, and one unique to them. Choosing a certain one for your main will decide the type of armor you can equip. That’s not all as by allocating job points, you can unlock stronger versions. For example, if you upgrade the Priest job, you’ll eventually unlock the Monk. This allows for character customization as you interchange jobs to learn skills for certain builds of characters. It also gave a great incentive to muscle through the dull battles.

You’ll also encounter an odd MP system, one I’ve never seen implemented before. You essentially begin each battle with zero magic points and as the battles rages, it’ll gradually grow. In the early stages of the game, this did result in my being unable to do anything but attack. Fortunately, there are passive skills you can learn to supplement your spells. Alternatively, items are now used for more than healing your wasted points. An example would be if you have zero, using an item to recover thirty MP will now become an item that adds thirty.

~ Sound Design and Art/Graphics ~

God Wars: The Complete Saga is dubbed in English but for those that prefer Japanese, that’s there too. While the dub wasn’t by any stretch horrible, there were mixing issues. I found some characters were very soft spoken, resulting in their voice being overtaken by the musical score. This can be fixed however, simply go to the options menu and adjust the volume of each. As for the voice-acting itself, I did find that it was rather monotone and some characters could stand to be given a bit more personality.

The music that’s present here is very fitting to the Japanese cultural theme. You’ll encounter several types of Asian-influenced tracks that are laced with both wind and string instruments. I also found myself humming the battle theme a day after I stopped playing. Even now, that theme still haunts me so you can expect some catchy tunes.

Author Update: Fixing up some last minute mistakes, three days later. Yup, still have that theme in my head. Don’t know what it is about it but there it is.

The art-style present here is absolutely stunning; the way the map is laid out, to the excellent characters. While I would have liked more emotion to have been shown, the beautiful line work couldn’t be ignored. However, the same couldn’t be said about the battle environments. They were uninspired, bland, and in the midst of such beautiful art, it stuck out like a sore thumb.

~ Differences & Conclusion ~

You’re probably wondering, what are the differences between this version and the 2017 iteration. Well, you’ll have several new characters that were previously unplayable become so. Furthermore, you’ll obtain a much more definitive end to Kaguya and her friends’ stories. If that wasn’t enough for you, you can expect several, and I mean several hours of game-play. This game has flaws and while there are better titles, this deserves to be put into your library. Perhaps not at full-price, but if you were to find it retailing for $49.99CDN, it’s justified.

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Reviewed by Ferni on the Nintendo Switch, game provided by NIS America