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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim


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If there's a thread on this already, pls merge, I searched for a thread but could't find one; if there's not a thread on this game, it's high time there was!

 

The next game from Vanillaware. Should be all you need to know really.

Review embargo for the Western version just lifted and it's getting great scores across the board.

I spy that EU copies of this game will become a sought-after collector's piece - especially with the artbook that GAME is offering as a pre-order bonus.

 

I just got my order in.

 

#NoShillHonest

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I’ve had my eye on this for what seems like years (back when they were still planning a Vita release -_- ) - I instantly loved everything about the presentation and aesthetics, but I’m a bit wary about the tactical battle side of gameplay (only because I’m not great at tactical battles) so I don’t know if I’ll go in on day one. That said, I did speak to people about it on Discord and they say that the battles have more of a real-time tower-defence/survival vibe going on...

 

Thanks for creating a thread anyway - I’d love to know what people make of it. :) 

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Well thanks for this thread. I don't know anything about Vanillawear and had never heard anything about this game either. Reviews are coming in over the web and its scoring highly, Eurogamer just gave it an Essential! 

 

It seems very hard to lean anything about the game or what to expect without veering into spoiler territory so I remain pretty clueless. All I can gather is that it has towery defence elements, a lot of visual novel stuff and romance side bits. The romance I have zero interest in but everyone is saying the world building, story and overall bonkersness of it makes it great. I really like twisty narratives and in-depth world building so it sounds like my cup of tea.

 

Can anyone who has played previous Vanillawear games give a kind of overview of what to expect? The game is out in a week so this was a nice surprise for something to tide over the rest of the month!

 

Ps if anyone here is into weird and wonderful world building, check out the new murder mystery game Paradise Killer which has a really cool world which is dripfed throughout the story.

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Vanillaware is basically dazzlingly pretty 2D art and a game system that’s “repetitive” but highly polished. They make classic games with high production values and insane focus. 
 

I love ‘em. And I still need Muramasa on Switch. 

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13 hours ago, Alan Stock said:

The romance I have zero interest in but


See, you say that now, but I'll guarantee within a day or so you'll be throwing your teammates at each other in various pairings like a frustrated Mills & Boon author.

 

If only to get the best perks for your mech (but really because he's a jerk and she's a tragic heroine and they're just made for each other and you always cry at weddings...).

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Played this for a couple of hours and I now get why everybody has such a hard time trying to describe this game. I think the best attempt I can give is:

 

A visual-novel with action-TRPG battles. 
 

It’s like 428 Shibuya Scramble only in gorgeous Vanillaware graphics and sometimes you jump into a mecha to play stylized high-speed simplified Final Fantasy Tactics. 
 

Also, shattered doesn’t even begin to describe the story. It’s madly all over the place until it’s plainly not. If you’re an anime/Trigger fan, this has a similar setting vibe to S.S.S.S. Gridman and even invokes some Gurren Lagann at times. 
 

It’s hard to blindly recommend though. If the visual novel aspect turns you off I don’t think this will work for you. Combat is also close to being a tabletop RPG representation of combat. Maybe that changes later on, but I’ve spent three hours and I’m still in what feels like a tutorial. I love it so far, but I can see this completely bombing with some folks. Whatever the case it is special indeed. 

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I also got this on PSN tonight, just downloading now. It's It's bit of a gamble but based on what we chatted about earlier in the thread I think overall it will be my cup or tea. If not, that's a hefty 50 quid down the drain! I have faith!

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Played quite a bit cuz I got it on Friday, really like it, it's relaxing to play and easy to pop on and play a few chapters or sit down for a longer session, the battles remind me of a Treasure game, think it's the presentation with all the numbers flying all over the place.

Music is awesome as well.

I didn't play as much as I wanted last week cuz I was waiting for the English dub, the art is so nice I wanted to take it all in instead of reading subtitles, english voice acting seems really good so far.

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First impressions after an hour:

- visuals are amazing, lovely art and animation, best looking visual novel I've seen

- voice acting seems top notch so far (which you can expect from an Atlus game), and I really like how the conversations flow fast and naturally without button presses, the writing is good so far too with natural sounding dialogue

- like I said I'm not a big fan of high school setups but intrigued about the sci fi stuff and I like the way the story is jumping around between characters and time periods

- too early to talk about the combat only having done two but its certainly intriguing

 

Overall good first impression, I'm used to slogging through high school stuff and teen relationships in these kind of games to get to the good stuff. But so far the visuals and slick dialogue have made it far less painful than I'd have imagined, nice soundtrack too. Already lots of mysteries and time tomfoolery going on, which I'm well into. To call the walking sections a visual novel almost seems harsh, technically yes that's what they are, but they sure as hell beat the usual clicking through dialogue boxes of static or barely animated sprites I'm used to from other visual novels. Looking forward to seeing where this is going.

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I gave this an hour or so last night;

- great English voice acting (even more impressive as they had to get this done during covid), I also liked the natural flowing of the VO without button pressing (you can even change the amount of time between lines, in the menu)

- breathtaking art and music

- cool-looking UI, and the logo introductions at the start showed a love and care toward presentation

 

Still in tutorial mode really so is hard to say how the game will offer choice etc. as the story progresses.

But am definitely going to stick with it, is good to support games like this I think.

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More non-spoiler impressions. Ended up doing about 4 hours in total last night and reached the end of the 'tutorial'. Happy to say the plot really gets going and the story's jumping around like a flea in a bottle. Now the game has opened up and I'm pretty excited. I also read a review which said that fans of Steins Gate and Zero Escape would love this - as I'm a big 999 fan that's music to my ears! There are tons of mysteries already and the non-linear telling of the story is constantly making you wonder how all the events connect. The voice acting is excellent, with so many characters you'd expect there to be some duds but that's just not the case here. The dialogue despite the standard tropes its dealing with (high school drama, alien invasions) is one of the most convincing I've seen in a game of this type - there's clearly a lot of effort put into the translation here.

 

To give you a perspective of scale, 4 hours and according to the game I'm only 7% or something into the story. How they're going to keep it going is anyone's guess, but I guess with 13 characters to work with (and I've only unlocked 6 so far) and player choice apparently going to affect the story from now on, we're probably looking at a Zero Escape/Steins Gate type multiple timelines affair.

 

As for combat, it can be a bit hard to tell whats going on when things get hectic, but overall its decent and the stylised old skool graphics actually work quite well. After the tutorial you get to choose the combat difficulty (which you can change whenever you like) but I read online that if you want any kind of challenge to go with Intense difficulty, so I've set it to that for now.

 

Oh, and it still looks gorgeous. So many locales already, all brimming with life. The lighting effects in particular are really cool with it affecting all the character sprites - for example the backlit haze of sunset creating an aura around the characters. And there are some awesome moments where full blown CGI shots are blended with the standard adventuring graphics, which I can't talk about for spoilers.

 

I only have a few gripes so far. The restrictiveness of the visual novel sections - where you walk around and talk to people. You can move around the scene during this but there's usually only one action to move the plot forward and almost no side stuff. You might have to walk towards offscreen to trigger the next dialogue, use your thought menu or click on an object but its all extremely linear and running from left to right looking for secrets is usually a waste of time. Mind you, this is still way preferable to simply clicking through dialogue boxes and character sprites like most visual novels. The high school/teen drama setting really doesn't do it for me, but fortunately the plot has already veered much more towards the sci-fi/mystery side of things. The other gripe is that so many characters are introduced that especially in the combat sections where multiple characters join forces its really hard to keep track of who is who. They all have Japanese names which doesn't help the old memory banks, and some of them look similar due to the art style. I guess this issue will resolve with time as you get to know the characters. Fortunately you can replay any section so I can always re-visit once the plot is taking more shape.    

 

But these are small niggles. Really digging this so far and looking forward to getting stuck into the game 'proper'.

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I like that this has a modern sci-fi setting. I usually associate Vanillaware with fantasy and cute animals, so this looks like a nice change. I mean I can't play it because I don't have a PS4, but I can still appreciate it.

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Appreciate everyone's comments on this; love Vanillaware but don't love visual novels too much so still a bit on the fence.  Sounds like you're all still enjoying it though right?  Cos I'm bloody tempted :P

 

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You know how sometimes after a long day, you just don't want to get into some intense game?  This game is perfect for those times, it sits beautifully between too-tiring gaming and not-engaging-enough TV.

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Received this last Friday, platinumed it last night.* Which sounds like high praise, but honestly I have mixed feelings about the game.

 

Positives first: the production values shine through: it looks and sounds great. The dialogue is good. The narrative structure is compelling - 13 protagonists with different perspectives whose stories progress independently and (mostly) in the order the player chooses is a great conceit. The actual VN mechanics are quite fun - interesting to play one with third-person perspective, felt like it was halfway to a simplistic point and click adventure. That was all enough to push me on to complete it in short order, and I had a good enough time doing so. It's not a hard game to recommend.

 

But... it also feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. All the above could have supported something really exceptional, but in the end the game's key components are frustratingly limited:

 

The combat is insultingly easy. I mean, I don't mind that on easier settings (hell, I think they should have included the option to skip it entirely for pure VN fans), but Intense difficulty offered embarrassingly little challenge. Romping through and only needing to revisit three missions (because I got an A instead of an S) made for dissatisfying gameplay. I mean, it was fine, but by the end of the game I was pretty bored of it. Though the score bonuses by the time you've got 30 levels in a row were at least quite funny to look at.

 

I'd also note that it's a shame there's no mechanical link between that and the VN gameplay, but given how easy it was I'm not sure there's much they could have done there.

 

The bigger issue's the story through, as that's the real focus. It's... Fine. It just seems odd to spend so much time setting up a complex, convoluted structure of unlocks and perspectives, only to spend it fixated on a a plot made up solely of cribbed material. I mean, I like my SF, and I don't expect things to be completely original, but going through the game was like reading through a "best of pulp SF" catalogue. Slowly unlocking the story was a lot less exciting when everything was entirely predictable thanks to being a hodgepodge of famous sci-fi media smashed together.

 

Again, it was fine. But frustratingly limited. Virtue's Last Reward it ain't :(

 

 

*admittedly that wasn't too hard - on finishing the game I had only one trophy missing, and looking it up revealed it just involved upgrading the terminal and buying every attack type for each character, which I had more than enough surplus credit for at that point

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I'm about 25% into the story now and trying to take my time with it. I have a holiday in a few weeks so I'm trying to save the bulk of the game for that. For me I'm still not really into the whole high school/relationships thing, and the pacing is a bit all over the place thanks to there not being a defined story route. It also would have been better if the action gameplay was put at set points in the unlock structure, like how it works in the tutorial. By allowing you to dip into it at any time it creates a weird dilemma where you're too afraid to burn through the action too quickly, and scared of revealing too much of the story in the pre and post combat dialogues. I'm trying to ration the combat out evenly between doing 3 or 4 story segments, but that's hard to gauge when you don't know the ratio of combat to story.

 

I still have to say that keeping track of all the characters and their Japanese names can make it quite hard to follow at times. In addition the characters' appearance changes in different story segments which doesn't help. Add to that the art style which makes some of the characters look similar and it can be a mess to keep track of who is who, or even remember what they were doing when you last saw them (thank god for the event log to help you catch up on what you've already seen). For example, earlier in the game I went through 3 of a character's story segments before I realised she was a different girl to the one I thought she was! Another issue with the big roster and Japanese names is that when characters talk about other characters off-screen, it can be hard to remember who they're actually talking about. I don't know if this would be a problem if I was a Japanese speaker but maybe even if the names were Western there are so many characters thrown at you it might still be an issue.

 

Those gripes aside I've still been enjoying it, I wouldn't say it's super grabbed me though. I haven't had any super late night gaming sessions where I feel I have to keep playing to find out what's next, although I've read that the game does get very gripping as you get deeper into the story. What is cool though is you never know what to expect, most story segments start out slow but have at least one reveal and more mysteries to muse over. I think it will get more compelling as you start to see how the jigsaw pieces fit together. And being less than a third through the story, there's a lot left to go, I've only unlocked 7 out of 13 characters (and haven't even started the 7th), and opened maybe 2 or 3 narrative gates so far. So far it's enjoyable enough but hasn't reached the highs of my favourite visual novels yet, although there's a lot to like. I'm hoping this changes later on. So far I can see the criticism mentioned above about the sci-fi tropes, so far it definitely seems that way, but other games have used similar tropes and still ended up with good stories, so I'm going to withhold my judgement on that. I'm really hoping it will grip me as the story evolves. Its certainly entertaining and highly polished, just hasn't quite got that x-factor yet. But then take games like 999 which really took a while to get going, and now stands as one of my favourite visual novels of all time - so I have hope!

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I know nothing about this game but @biglime completely sold me on it in his Consolevania review + post review here in this episode (from about 28 minutes-ish):

 


I want to continue to know nothing about it for the time being, so I’ll leave you all to it :hat: 

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Been steadily playing through this and thoroughly enjoying it. It also feels like a pen and paper RPG because of its abstracted battles. Comfortingly enough it makes me feel a bit more pressured in choosing certain characters or making them take actions just like in D&D. Even though it’s merely implied. 
 

As for combat: I think the game wants you to be conservative in the amount of sentinels you bring into a battle through brain levels. Which is wiped away by allowing 6 of them in a battle anyway. You simply have too many actions available and boosting skills is quite powerful. 
 

As the visual novel part feels pretty much like a jigsaw, combat having the same level of intensity is fine imo. 

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Over 20 hours in now and just over 50% in both Destruction and Remembrance. Analysis hovering just above 20%. My brain is melting. I thought I had it figured out, but no I was wrong. Dead wrong. If it adds any more of the sci-fi I'm expecting Liu Cixin as a 14th playable character.

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