By Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee on June 29, 2016
Have you ever wanted to command groups of fearsome mercenaries and engage in battles across a war-torn kingdom? Well, nowís your chance! NIS America, Monochrome Corp. and Spike Chunsoft have released Grand Kingdom for the PS4 and PS Vita in Europe on June 17 and in North America on June 28. While our gaming brethren in Japan were already able to play since November 19, 2015, we had to wait for another 7 months before we could sink our teeth into this majestic Tactical RPG, filled with cool characters and epic turn-based battles.
When I got Grand Kingdom, I went in blind. I had never heard of the game or read anything about it, so I didnít know what to expect. Now, Iím not one to shy away from the unknown, so I gathered my most bloodthirsty mercenaries and rode forth to conquer the hell out of everything and everyone I would come across!
So, why exactly am I trying to conquer half the world? Well, itís like this; Once, the mighty Uldein empire ruled everything, and they did so for centuries. But, as practically always happens with peaceful empires, it fell to ruin and war ensued. The kingdom fell apart and was eventually divided into four nations. Instead of living peacefully next to one another, the war-hungry leaders of these nations decided that it would be an awesome plan to eradicate their respective opponents. And because most honorable knights were killed during the 100 years since the fall of the Uldein Empire, nowadays, the war is being fought mainly by mercenaries. As we all know, mercenaries are usually pretty trustworthy folk, as long as youíre the one willing to pay the highest sum for their services. As fledgling leader of a band of said mercenaries, itís your job to go out, fight hard and bring glory to whatever nation pays the most.
Grand Kingdom is as hard as you make it. Although this might sound strange, it is the truth. The game is, without a doubt, challenging, but if you keep an eye on where to position your units in a fight and keep gearing up your troops, you will most likely emerge victorious. Neglect to gear up and upgrade your troops, and you will be biting the dust in no time flat. The same goes for positioning your troops for battle. A good commander knows where to put his troops to maximize their effect and plan his or her strategy accordingly. Bad commanders, on the other hand, just spread their troops across the battlefield and could just as well start planning their own funeral while theyíre at it.
The combination of positioning and upgrading your mercenaries gives Grand Kindom a more tactical approach to turn-based combat. It makes it that bit more interesting to plan your approach and see how your efforts come to fruition. Battle after battle, you need to keep your forces at the top of their game, or defeat will surely be your reward. Contract by contract, you gather the resources to, eventually, transform your band of mercenaries into an unstoppable force. And the beauty of it all, is that you donít even have to pick a side; just go where the money is! You can, on the other hand, choose to be loyal to just one nation by going online and pledging your services to the nation of your choice.
Overall, Grand Kindom is a good game. The item, potions, weapons and armor you buy with the spoils of war give your characters certain perks, making it easier to vanquish your enemies and live to fight another day. When on a mission, itís easy to locate your objective and prepare for battle. The combat system is intricate and well thought out, without being overly complicated. No glitches or crashes occurred during my time in the game, which is always a good thing. The short loading times give the game a nice pacing, so youíre not bothered by endless loading cycles and can go straight into the action. Graphics-wise, Grand Kingdom looks really cool; its Anime-like art style fits the game perfectly. The controls are more than adequate and help to make playing Grand Kingdom really fun. A thing I would like to mention is the soundtrack; the gameís music is very much up my alley and sounds awesome (gooood job!). Every piece of music fits the action on-screen and the mercenaries under your control have matching voices, which are freely adaptable to your preference.
I think I covered about everything I wanted to tell you about Grand Kingdom. Although turn-based combat is usually not really my cup of tea, I had tremendous fun conquering huge parts of the war-torn kingdom. The only thing I worry about is the fact that this game might stay under a lot of peopleís radar, which would be a real shame! So trust your old friend Magic Mike and give Grand Kingdom a try. Especially everyone who is fond of battles, turn-based combat, a fantasy setting and cool characters will definitely NOT want to miss this game!