Publishers: NIS America, Spike Chunsoft
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita
Tested on: PS4
Grand Kingdom – Preview
The word ‘mercenaries’ always tend to have a bad connotation. For instance, one of the possibilities is that they fight for money, aren’t loyal and are wanderers without a purpose. Well, this isn’t any different in the game Grand Kingdom, where the battlefield is now populated by these fighters instead of knights.
We’re teleported to the continent of Resonail, where we are confronted by the problems that a long and brutal war has left behind. The four remaining nations are in peril as they are constantly in battles and wars to get back on their feet. Due to the previous war, the battles are done by mercenaries. These hireable peons sell their skills to these countries, which makes both parties quite happy.
You are the commander of a small group of mercenaries and after yet another tasteless victory, you are invited to join ‘The Guild’. This large organization has a lot of skilled fighters, although they’re still divided in sub-groups. It is your task to lead several troops and gain loads of victories.
This game has a combination of several different types of graphics. First of all, the world map is a 3D overview of the area where everything is visualized in a board game. There is a main path with some side nodes here and there, which might hold some treasure or other elements. Next to that, the conversations have a comical 2D style, where a lot of the characters are fully drawn. The last style is visible during the battles, as everything is coated in a 2D/3D sauce. In the end, the three biggest styles really merge well and give the game that bit extra.
Grand Kingdom can be pinpointed as a tactical RPG, although the strategic part is well implemented and doesn’t feel too rigid. Don’t get cocky though, as this will lead to your doom. You will need to think about and reconsider your possibilities before acting, or you’ll certainly bite the dust. This game has both an offline as online mode, where you will need to prove your worth as a mercenary leader.
Before you can actually start leading, you’ll need members. These can be hired and depending on the class and stats, you’ll pay quite some coins to get them convinced. In the beta, there were only 4 different roles, although the finished game will have up to 17 classes. This will increase the possibilities with your troops immensely. Also, you were able to make one group in the beta, but this number will be increased. Each team consists out of 4 mercenaries, so it is important to choose wisely. Each character can be altered to your liking thanks to some predefined possibilities. For instance, you can change the facial features, hair style and garb color. This is quite a fun addition, since it gives you the chance to personalize your team. Now that the first troop is ready, it is also important to equip them properly. The shop has several items for you to buy and equip, although some of them might be pricy at the start.
The single player part consist mostly out of quests, where you need to get to an objective within an amount of steps for instance. Each move you do on the ‘game board’ will cost one step, while fighting an enemy will result in the loss of several ones. When you’re low on steps, it might be better to try and dodge enemies.
When the fight is inevitable, prepare for some tactical fun. Each fighting area has three lanes, where both your team and the enemy are positioned on. As this is a turn-based fight, every mercenary is put in line. When one of your members is ready to make his/her move, you can run around to get into the right position for a certain attack. These are triggered by one of the buttons, depending on the skills you have equipped. One of the biggest aspects is that you can damage your own team as well. This means, if you channel a lightning spell in a lane, you’ll both hit your own teammates as the enemies. All of these aspects make it quite difficult and you really need to strategize.
The other huge chunk of the game is the online part. Before you can start in a war, you will need to have a contract. This will bind you to one of the four factions for several wars. Depending on how many wars you’ll fight for that particular faction, the more bonuses you’ll receive. Once you’re ready with the paperwork, it is time to jump into action. You get an overview of the different battles that are ongoing right now and it is your choice where you will help as everything is possible.
Entering a certain area will give you the same overlay map as in single player, although there are some differences. For instance, you’ll see both your friends as your enemies jump around. This makes it quite special, as it gives you the feeling that you’re all in this together. The fighting itself is similar to the single battles, although there seem to be some differences which aren’t very clear right now. You’re battling against other players, but is it real-time or just a ghost? This is not clear yet, but will get answered in the review.
Grand Kingdom is a tactical RPG that combines a lot of elements to make it fresh. Both the offline and online modes are quite important and will awaken your inner captain. The game itself has some interesting insights, like the several troops you can manage, and the combination of the several graphical styles is a nice bonus. This title is certainly something to keep an eye on when you’re into the tactical genre.