Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos Review

What do you get when you mix Advance Wars, some Final Fantasy Tactics gameplay, lots of strategy and a dash of RPG? What you’d find at the bottom of the video game cauldron is a game called Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos. AE: GC is the second title for this franchise to be released on the PSP. We’ll take this hybrid tactical/RPG game though its paces and find out whether it generates chaos or eclipses its previous showing on the PSP.

AE: GC is aimed at individuals who like RPGs, turn-based strategy titles or board games such as chess and other intensive tactical gameplay. The storyline of the game takes place in a unique plot setting in which the inhabitants of Earth are separated into three distinct societies. Each storyline (society) can be played separately, and starts out the same but branches off into different scenarios as the game continues. However, the battle system is similar in all three game modes.

The bottom dwellers in Greckland command technology; the surface dwellers of Aedis are skilled in the arts of magic and make a home for elves, dragons and other fanciful creatures; Galadia, the inhabitants of the sky, are comprised of demons and angels. The three societies struggle to keep back the forces of darkness from once again destroying their world. Each society (game level) is progressively harder to play. Greckland is the easiest and also serves as the training ground for getting familiar with the game’s command structure and function.

Gameplay is pretty deep and varied. Your battles are done on a typical grid of a step strategy game, but AE: GC gives you a lot of options in battling the enemy, which is the heart of the game. You move your captains and squad members one or more squares in different directions in order to build structures, take advantage of terrain by changing it to your needs through terraforming, equip weapons, utilize special elemental/magical skills for extra hits against the enemy, change battle strategy, use items, and of course, beat the snot out of your enemies by defeating them and taking command of their headquarters.

The battles are in the tried and true style of RPG battles where armies and combatants face off against one another and try to whittle down the opposing forces’ hit points to zero. The game has many facets to it which make it challenging and frustrating at the same time. Half the battle, as it were, in playing the game is trying to unravel how the game is played. This is pretty funny, considering that the idea of playing a game is not to figure what the rules are, but to engage in some entertaining action. The reason why AE: GC may be difficult to learn and play is because of the amazingly unhelpful manual that comes with the game. It basically outlines what you can do, but hardly gives any detail or examples on how everything works.

Case in point: a standard function of any RPG worth its salt is the ability to use items to heal party members, cast spells and other duties. But in AE: GC, this rather critical piece of information is boiled down to two sentences: "Each Captain can hold and use items. Some items may disappear after use." Well gee, thanks for that really helpful explanation, guys. What is missing is how to do this. The game goes over this a little during the tutorial, but as a reference on how to play the game, the manual is pretty poor and the tutorial could be better, too. If you forget how to do something in the game, kiss it goodbye because there isn’t any help within the game or the manual. This may be the first game of its sort in which the gamer has to write his/her own manual. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a tiny bit, but you’ll do well to take a lot of notes on how to do things in the game. When the FAQs come out for AE: GC, make sure you download them.

Menu navigation is a little clunky in that you have to access the main menu of the game in order to accomplish things that should normally be on the battle menu. If you want to end your turn, instead of the logical RPG way of doing things, you have to hit circle to go to the main screen and select your actions from there. It isn’t really that big of a deal, but if you’ve played a lot of RPG games, the interface may irritate you a bit because it is rather illogical. You’ll have to spend a bit of time with this game in order to figure out all the different things you are able to do. This ramp-up in learning is nothing out of the ordinary for RPG games, but because this game varies somewhat from standard procedure, in the words of Yoda, "You must unlearn what you have learned" in order to be successful in playing this title.

While the battle system is what this game is all about, you actually have a limited line of control on the fighting. You can command certain formations for your troops in taking a defensive or offensive stance, and also tell them to run or attack, but these commands are somewhat lost because it is difficult to tell whether your orders are really effective in the overall outcome of the fights. The one thing you can count on for getting an immediate result is the usage of each captain’s special skills. These range from super blasts from the sky to pounding your enemies with elemental attacks. Basically, you are pretty much a bystander when the battle begins. Not necessarily a bad thing, but getting involved more with the fighting action would have been nice.

The real secret to winning battles is to prepare your captains and fighters by placing them in strategic locations, controlling and taking over structures and figuring out the best possible way to move from point A to point B. In AE: GC, the terrain can be as important as what you do with your squads. Some terrain can only be moved upon by changing its characteristics. This not only gives you the ability to wear down your opponent’s strength, but it can also allow you to go through areas that you couldn’t before.

The gameplay is fun (although somewhat complicated) once I got all my ducks in a row to defeat the enemy and secure their headquarters. In between the campaigns, there are ample cutscenes which add to the game’s overall feel and ambiance. As mentioned before, each society is going about saving Aedis in their own manner. If you’re playing the Galadia level (sky dwellers of demons and angels) you’ll be taking the side of the demons to defeat the pesky angels. All of the drama unfolds after each battle and you are treated with another segment of the story. Since there are three societies, you can play through each one and see how the plot unfolds differently with each race of beings.

Animations for the plot and battle scenes are fine and present a pretty good depiction of old-school style RPG characters — bobble heads and rainbow hair. Sometimes the framerates would stutter and admittedly the graphics all look just a bit fuzzy, but 2D sprites can’t look too sharp, I suppose. All the battles are done with a top-down 3/4 view and this seems to work ok. What is strange is that the battle action sometimes moves off the screen and you have to manually adjust your camera angle to follow where the battle is going. You use the shoulder buttons to accomplish this bit of refocusing.

There is some voice acting in the more relevant scenes of this game, and like most titles some of it is good and some of it isn’t. (Why do the bad guys always have to sound so cheesy? Do they all go to the same voice acting school where the instructor says, "Ok, to play a bad guy, you have to have this phony accent, and don’t forget to laugh evilly"?) Some of the other voices are just plain over the top. You’ll hear British accented voice actors saying their lines right along those with Southern accents. It throws you off some, but it’s (un)intentionally funny. It’s a little silly sounding, but I guess the producers of the game were going for some laughs. At least, that’s what I think they were aiming for. The music tracks are limited for each level and repeat themselves, but they’re not all that bad.

What we have with Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos is a game with plenty of potential due to the challenge of the game, but it falls short in part due to its Spartan instructions. A very important rule of game developing is: make sure you tell the gamer how to play the game. A title this complex should have had either more help in the manual, or a better in-game tutorial. The game is fun for the die-hard strategist or faithful RPG gamer, but even so, they’ll find their hands full in learning the mechanics of the game. Fans of the previous game should find some more of the same with slight improves over the menu system and graphics. Overall, a nice little strategy game, but a game that you’ll have to work at to enjoy.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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