This title is a new JRPG release from NIS America and Spike Chunsoft, and we will be reviewing the title next week. But due to not having a review ready however, we will instead have a first impressions post that will be structured like a normal review on 3wirel, but without any review scoring system in place.
Grand Kingdom is out now on the PlayStation Network storefront on both PlayStation Vita & PlayStation 4, with a retail release of the title coming out on Tuesday June 28th.
What is Grand Kingdom?
Grand Kingdom is a JRPG title that has you commanding a party of four units of varying class type on across various maps, with you being represented as chess piece moving across a number of maps. The base premise story wise is that you are a commander of a rouge army unit that after losing a recent battle, you sign on to a mercenary guild, with your goal being to carry out missions for the four warring nations, completing missions to help out the guild and uncovering plans for a rouge faction called Uld.
Story wise, Grand Kingdom works well thanks to a strong localization, as your secondary commander and assistant are filled with personality and have great English VA’s. This carries on to the rest of the cast and I enjoyed the non-voiced dialog as well.
Content Dense Game
This was something that the more I played, kept impressing me. The game is literally packed with content across the game modes. You have the main story campaign but for single player content, you have extra missions to complete and traditional maps to explore for rare items and for training your army by taking out various creatures/monsters.
That alone should make you pleased with the base game, but you have a lot of depth with other systems in the game. The online portion for example has options for more gameplay content to experience though partaking in active wars or by just sending your units over via internet to help out fights with AI commands while you do other things in game.
When they come back from war, you get money and EXP, leading to a real incentive to having multiple teams in your party; you main party for single player story content and a support party for online modes and content.
Overall, the amount of value in this game is very dense and feature rich, making me have a lot to experience in the 8-12 hours I put into the game as of this writing.
Grand Kingdom has two gameplay types; exploring the battle maps and fighting battles. Exploring battle maps have you controlling your party via a single chess piece (which you can change as you play through the game) on a grid-like map. The map has a lot to it, with various traps to over come & treasure to find. This makes exploring each map feel very different despite looking the same sometimes.
You have TP points, which allows you & your party to preform actions on the map like setting up camp to heal, open up locked chests and more. To earn TP points, you fight battles which gives you an incentive to fight outside of trying to level up and train your army.
Combat is a blend of real time and turn based elements, with battles working on three lanes which you and your foes travel across on a 2D plane. You control your units with the D-Pad and can carefully look at both your units & your foes units with the Right Stick. When you face a foe or want to preform an action during combat, you press circle to go into ‘Attack Mode’ and through pressing any of the face buttons (with a second page open if you hold R), you make your move.
Depending on the attack, you either do it right away or time your press of the button with your pre-set attack pattern (that you set in the party menu under ‘skills’ for each party member). This gives the game a Paper Mario/Mario RPG-like feel to me and as someone who loves those games, I had a great time with the combat system.
This is something that makes Grand Kingdom feel special; the class system. It is like rock-paper-scissors, as each unit has a type that its strong and weak against. Going from this system, you have to careful pick your party of solders out.
The game gives you six slots of four units and even more room for other solders if needed. So, you have a lot of options. But you might be thinking ‘What about if I get a new unit but but I’m facing a level 20 Story Mission?’ This is another part of Grand Kingdom that is very smart; the travel quest system. Travel Quests are like most JRPG’s where you can explore a overworld map and face various creatures. The difference, is that the games core mechanics are still in place with the chess piece system and each map (unlocked as you level up) has a level cap.
Meaning, you don’t have to worry about not having a place to train your units. Will touch on the difficulty in a moment but the game is a fair one honestly.
Going back to the class types, it is very varied. You can have teams of Dragon Mages, Gun Shooters, Dark Knights, Medics, Mages and more. I have three different teams and they all are filled with unique class types.
Team A (Main Team): Dark Knight, Knight, Gun Shooter, Medic
Team B: Archer, Blacksmith, Lance User, Mage
Team C: Shaman, Barrel (Explosives), Archer
The above is an example of the team match-ups you can play around with in Grand Kingdom and something I had a lot of fun toying with for my first two-three hours of the game.
Grand Kingdom is very fair, with it having areas where you can train your units to become stronger and other factors making the game easier for newcomers to JRPGs. One little touch I liked was the supplies mechanic in the game; a system where you can use one of two/three presets for your supplies when you enter missions. The presets include normal supplies focusing on healing and restoring morale (motivation for your army to keep fighting), item focused ones where you use tools to attract more treasure/find more treasure and more. And when you clear a mission, you get more money the less items you use.
So you have a risk-reward system in place that also doubles as assistance for the player; you can either make the game harder or easier on yourself depending on the presets you pick.
Grand Kingdom is a beautiful game, with it having hand-drawn animation and breathtaking art work across the board. I continually loved playing the game just for the art work sometimes and it makes your fights have so much personality.
Each class type has specific animation styles and with some character creation systems in place when you buy your units, you can even give them unique voice types too. This leads to battles looking great in addition to running very well too.
Little touches like the chess pieces falling apart when a side loses, the animated bits across the game where you encounter traps, the way the character portraits move around when talking and a really fantastic score makes the game a visual and audio treat.
Vita version runs at a locked frame rate and native resolution, with the PS4 version likely running at 1080p.
Do I recommend the game?
I want to say yes, but I did not beat the main story yet and still have a while until my parties are strong enough to the games online modes. But from the 8-12 hours I put into the game thus far, I highly recommend giving the game a shot. It has little issues and is very inviting to newcomers into the JRPG genre.
Overall, if you want a great JRPG, consider giving this game a shot or if you have an interest in the game get the PSN Demo of either the PS Vita or PS4 version.
The review for Grand Kingdom will be posted on 3wirel late next week.