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Agarest: Generations of War 2 review

On January 5, 2013 by Aaron Meehan
agarest-2

Agarest: Generations of War 2 (known as Record of Agarest War 2 in North America) is the third in a series of role playing games developed by RED Entertainment and Idea Factory and published by Ghostlight (Europe), Aksys Games (N. America) and Compile Heart (Japan).

Agarest 2 contains many changes from previous games in the series. Changes and new additions include: the reductions on the amount of generations from five to three, a revamped battle system known as the ‘active grid based battle system’, PlayStation Move compatible mini-games and more.

Plot

Agarest 2’s plot is based around the character, Weiss who after killing the god of chaos and losing his memory is told by Eva, an agent of the gods that he must pay for his crime by becoming a vessel of the god of chaos. As the vessel he must absorb the power of divinity from various demons and use the power he has collected to revive the fallen god. There are also three women who have been destined with the role of –maiden of the pillar- who have to help Weiss complete his task.

The plot is spread out across three generations with both Weiss’s son and grandson having to undertake Eva’s task. The other generations also include three women who hold the role of –maiden of the pillar-.

When I originally saw the plot would be spread across multiple generations I was sceptical on how well the story would hold up, but thankfully I was wrong and the plot help up rather well with each generation acting like an arc, the first generation acting as the beginning and the third acting as the finale. The games plot also included several side stories about many of the games playable characters.

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Gameplay

Agarest 2’s gameplay takes place in an open world map which consists of five continents. Players can wonder around each of the continents as a sprite of the generation’s main character, running around as a sprite invoked memories of older JRPGs I had played on the PS1 and PS2.

One near essential part of Agarest 2 is the need to complete commissions. Commissions give you items, unlock new events and help increase your limit points etc. If you wish to see the games true ending or to gain the necessary affection with a character than completing commissions is a must. While it is a good idea to complete commissions you are not required do so.

Random encounters like in any other JRPG are an essential part of the game. Encounters are used for grinding and completing commissions, but unless you are in a symbol map (pretty much a dungeon) slugging through the map waiting for an encounter to happen can be rather boring. Fortunately Agarest 2 allows you to force a random encounter which is a great help when you have a large number of monsters to kill.

As I mentioned earlier characters can have affection for the main character, while it seems trivial at first the affection system does affect the game. Having a high or low affection score with the woman you chose to have a child with affects the starting stats of the next main character. Personally I am not a huge fan of romance/affection elements in games, but in Agarest 2 the affection system works well and I would say without it the multiple generation aspect of the game wouldn’t feel as personal as it does.

Agarest 2 does also contain components such as crafting and learning new skills, but they aren’t anything overly special as they just require you to have X number of items or completed certain commissions.

Combat

As I mentioned earlier Agarest 2 has a brand new combat system called ‘active grid based battle system’. With the word ‘active’ in the title you could be forgiven for thinking that the combat wouldn’t be like your standard JRPG turn based combat game, but unfortunately you would be wrong. The combat system feels pretty much like your normal turn based style combat, but with the inclusion of button mashing.

When in combat you have an array of actions which includes your standard attack, support items and EX skills (these are support skills increase stats). When you have selected the option to attack you can then select how many people in your party can attack (party members can’t attack together all the time) and enemy you can then choose the type of attack: burst upwards attack, stun attack, down attack and ranged attack. Once select your attack style you just start hitting the button that correlates with the attack type you chose, also during this phase you can change character by using the directional pad (only if you selected multiple characters). When you are finished attacking and you managed to do enough damage you gain an ultimate point (UP). UP can be used to perform original skills or to perform a combo finishing strike which can only be done if you deplete an enemy’s break bar in one turn.

There is a lot more to the combat, but that is a brief look what you do in it.

While the combat may look rather daunting at first with all the attack options, but the combat as a whole is rather easy to use. I guess if I was to describe the combat I would say it is easy to use but difficult to master.

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Minigames

Agarest 2 contains three PlayStation Move controlled minigames which are revolve around a bath house, the three mini games are: Public Bathhouse, massage and Shiatsu (finger pressure medicine), you can only perform the mini-games on the games female characters. The point of the mini-games is to raise the stats of the character that you selected to use for the mini-game.

The mini-games feel incredibly awkward as you give massages to virtual characters in nothing but a robe, but I guess some people are ok with that. The PS move controls for the games are pretty poor, especially in the public bathhouse mini-game where I frequently noticed that a lot of my movements were not getting picked up by the game.

In short the mini-games are rather sexualised and they do feel like they have been tacked onto the game.

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DLC

Like many JRPGs on the PlayStation 3 there is a lot of free and paid DLC available via the PlayStation store and Agarest 2 is no exception. Before starting Agarest 2 I decided to get all the free DLC and some paid DLC to see how it affected the game.

Straight of the back I would have to say yes the DLC does affect the game. The DLC include huge amounts of cash, TP (buying skill), Party points (used for raising skill levels), powerful weapons and armour (some of the best in the game).

I guess for a single player game the idea of buying power isn’t a huge issue, but the optional DLC does remove a good amount of challenge from the game.

Length and replay value

Like many JRPGs Agarest 2 is a pretty long game with each generation taking upwards of 10+ hours to complete. The reason why the game is so long is because of the huge amount of dialogue in the game (audio is in Japanese, but text is in English), you can skip through the dialogue but that unfortunately means you miss large chunks of the story.

Even though it is a long game, Agarest 2 does offer a strong reason to replay the game. The reason behind this is because of the fact the game has two endings, a normal and true ending. Personally I am tempted to pick up Agarest 2 and attempt to get the games true ending.

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Characters

With multiple generations you would be forgiven for thinking the characters wouldn’t be fleshed out that well, but the answer couldn’t be more wrong. Agarest 2’s characters are well fleshed out with each character getting their own little story.

It is also important to note that humans aren’t the only race you interact with in the game, races include: Dark Elves, High Elves, Elves, Oneltes (humans with a third eye), Syriums (another elf race), Neocoloms (basically cat-girls) and more. The reason why I mention this is just like the characters the races have a bit of character to them as well for example: Dark Elves are looked down upon by some races, in fact in one event scene a Dark Elf is verbally attacked.

The idea of characterising the races and playable characters is great and helps you get immersed in the game.

Final thoughts

While not perfect, Agarest: Generations of War 2 is a great game. The plot is well told, with interesting and memorable characters, but unfortunately the game is let down by a disappointing combat system.

If you enjoy a long generation spanning adventure then Agarest: Generations of War 2.

Score: 80%

Agarest: Generations of War 2 Information

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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