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Generation of Chaos
Platform: Sony PSP
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Idea Factory
Genre: Strategy RPG
Format: UMD
Release: US 02/28/06
Japan 03/31/05



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I have a box of Twinkies for you to fight for!
 
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The heated battle.
 
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You're screwed.
 
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He just wants your blood.
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John McCarroll
Hands On Preview
02/15/06
John McCarroll

Idea Factory is an extremely veteran developer, though you'd be hard pressed to find many gamers in North America who knew their games. The guys at Idea Factory have crafted a number of SRPGs. Their first title to be released in America will be the PSP version of Generation of Chaos. Originally released for the PS2 in Japan in early 2004, it's actually the fourth Generation of Chaos title, with a fifth PS2 release having already been seen across the Pacific.

Generation of Chaos finds itself as a mixture of board game elements, real time strategy, and turn based planning. Players will follow the story of Allen of Zodia, a man who is struggling to bring peace between the ten warring kingdoms of his world. This certainly isn't Final Fantasy Tactics, however, as the scale of battles is closer to that of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Up to sixty-two characters will find themselves in battle, though you aren't able to control individual soldiers, only the commander. It's certainly more of a throwback to Dragon Force than to any game in recent memory.

The commander is able to issue orders on the fly, changing formation or striking directly at the opponent's commander. As the troops battle it out, the commander can expend his limited SP into doing special abilities. Damaging the enemy, healing allied troops, and buffing or nerfing the enemy are all possible, and more. Sometimes commanders will have to withstand several battles on a single tile, so you might not want to blow all of your SP on a single battle before your next turn.

While the individual battle scenes provide a large chunk of the game, the great majority of your time will be spent on the world map. Playing the ruler of your nation, you'll have quite a few commanders at your disposal to take over the map. You'll have to strike a balance between attack and defense as you take over the board-game-like map, however. Commanders will be able to improve the way a city functions, though if there's no commander around, there's a possibility a city might fall into disrepair and start making less money. There's also your relations with other empires to worry about, on top of your troops' morale.

Players will have to wrangle with shopkeepers and keep all of their troops in harmony and well-geared. The game has quite a few options that aren't initially clear - the instruction booklet was our friend as we tried to learn what was going on. As the only part of the game that's real-time is the battles, we were able to fumble through pages to find what we needed without incident. There's going to be a learning curve for just about everyone in America, seeing as most won't have played a Generation of Chaos game.

Commanders themselves are distributed among several classes, from the mundane to ninjas and riflemen. All of the classes form a system where conquering another force requires a commander of another type - even one at partial strength. All of the classes seem to mesh well at this point, and many of the monster types are very unique. Having samurai fight wolfmen isn't something we normally see... unless you're playing the Japanese beat-'em-up Ikusagami, of course.

After you've taken down Allen's story, you'll be presented with the Strategy mode, which plays out more like Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Civilization that most SRPGs. There's a lot to handle, especially with the weather and the changing of the seasons, even the "beginner's" campaign tosses you in the first battle with over ten commanders to control. During the main plotline, however, there are quite a few bits of story, so it's not so like Romance of the Three Kingdoms that the story is created entirely by the conflicts themselves.

Graphically, Generation of Chaos looks like the games that NIS themselves developed: plenty of deformed sprites with anime-styled portraits. The abilities themselves run the gamut from standard-looking to world-destroying abilities that have their own cutscenes. The board itself is rather standard, but it's easy to tell what everything is. Even though the game's not developed by NIS, they've taken their trademark humor and infused it into things like descriptions buried in shop menus and the like. It's a testament to their attention to detail that things like that are there.

We will find out if Generation of Chaos is the game to play for the PSP as we delve more into it. We've got a feeling that the game will be very rewarding - we've just got to figure out everything we need to do to get to our rewards. Generation of Chaos will be available on February 28.



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© 2005-2006 NIS America, Idea Factory.
All Rights Reserved.



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