This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available for PS4, and PSVita.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; when it comes to strategy games, I generally prefer my Grand Strategy titles. The game that changed that, at least a bit, however, is The Banner Saga. Banner Saga integrated unique, tense, unit based, tile set movement with fun combat and a fantastic story. So naturally, going in to God Wars, I assumed I’d get that same thing. Being really interested in history and mythology as well, I’ve always enjoyed games that integrate historical elements into them, especially Greek, Roman and Japanese. This is a lot of why I loved Okami so much. That’s also why it’s such a shame that God Wars isn’t as great as it could be. While the gameplay and characters are pretty decent, the story on display here is honestly incredibly dull and repetitious.
So, as always, let’s get some background. God Wars: The Complete Legend is a recollection of the original God Wars localization, complete with new content and the Labyrinth of Yomi DLC. Originally only released on PS4 and PS Vita as God Wars: Future Past, this game was done almost specifically for the Switch. It boasts hundreds of hours of content, a graphical update, and some other tweaks and fixes.
Now, onto the first note: Gameplay. I’ll be blunt; not much here is different from your usual strategy game fare. You’ll run around the world, fighting turn based, party oriented battles, and utilizing tactical sense, class synergy and different skills and traits to defeat your opponents. There’s a ton of different classes and sub-classes, and they all work together in unique and interesting ways, but outside of this, there isn’t much else that’ll be different from any other strategy/tactics game. If you like games like Fire Emblem and whatnot, then you’ll probably very much enjoy this, as it adheres to those same principles. You level up characters, and earn them new skills, by fighting battles. You’ll also get to buy new equipment and what not from merchants, as well as find it in battle. A nice feature that’s here is the ability to send off different characters to grind sub quests while you do other stuff. You can also activate AI control on individual characters in the party; nifty if you want to have a support class doing support stuff while you focus on strategizing the brunt of the combat. Terrain also affects combat in a similar fashion to D&D, meaning different terrain, and elevation will affect damage. You can also choose the direction your characters face at the end of each turn, which is a nice strategic touch. I will however note that there are some irritating aspects to the gameplay here. For instance, you’d expect to be able to snap between targets in combat right? Well, no, you can shut the hell up, because you get to manually select them now. Enjoy that. What seems like a minor inconvenience can get really annoying after sinking hours into the game.
Now, I’ll talk about story and art. To start with art, this is very simplistic stuff on the gameplay screens, but has some nice anime-esque art and the usual skimpy costumes in the comic-style cutscenes and dialogue sequences. Textures can sometimes be kind of bland and… Untextured, but outside of that, not really much to look at here. Story, however, is.. Pretty plain, honestly. Basically, Queen Tsukuyomi of Fuji kills one of her daughters in an effort to make a pleasing sacrifice to some hella pissed off gods and bring about peace for her land. She goes missing, and thirteen years later, one of her daughters goes on a long, drawn out quest to find her. Along the way, she meets new friends, makes enemies, meets gods and monsters, and screws around with magic artifacts and whatnot, like mystical mirrors. This is standard stuff, and it does a nice job of weaving in Japanese history and mythology, but.. God is it repetitive. Dialogue, which is voice acted in Japanese or English, your choice, is clunky and silly. Characters will always address each other by their full titles, leading to some hilariously stiff exchanges of poorly written dialogue. These exchanges usually come up in story pieces outside of combat, but occasionally you’ll get back and forths between enemies and your heroes in combat, which can really interrupt the flow. The hundreds of hours of content I mentioned definitely gets kind of winded when you have such monotonous, soulless writing. The voice acting could be better, but I can’t fault them for it, because honestly, when you have to read dialogue like this, you don’t have a whole lot to work with.
So, what’s the verdict then? Well, that depends. If you really, really need a new strategy fix, and don’t care about story enough to not skip it, go for it. If you want a game with a killer story, I’d steer away. If you’re somewhere in between, maybe watch some trailers or something to see if it appeals. It really just depends. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan, but that’s just me. While the gameplay, despite it’s annoying quirks here and there, is pretty solid and engaging, the game really just doesn’t perform all that well in the story and art departments. The music is pretty decent, nothing phenomenal but it generally fits the tone, though you probably won’t pay attention to this. Overall, if you’re super into strategy I’d pick it up. If you’re just a regular game enthusiast, take a look for yourself. The gameplay may not make up for the story’s bad case of blasphemy.