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Grand Kingdom Beta preview

On May 3, 2016 by Aaron Meehan

Firstly, what is available to players during NIS America’s Grand Kingdom the PS4 beta? The beta focuses on the online war portion of the RPG, this online war allows you to take your mercenary army and fight for your selected nation (you have a choice of four nations: Landerth, Valkyr, Fiel, and Magion) for up to three operations per day. Outside of the online component, you can complete two quests from the single-player campaign, and use four of the thirteen classes (the four classes available are fighter, hunter, witch, and medic). Other aspects of the game such as the shop are also usable, but limited.

For the preview I will focus primarily on the online war, the available classes and I will touch on the single-player campaign.

From what I played of the online war, I am impressed, I never found myself getting completely overwhelmed as battle felt for the most part fairly balanced, but with that said when all thirteen classes are introduced I suspect that there could be some balance issues, but that is for another time. So, how does going into a war work? Well you simply pick one of the four nations to work alongside, pick an operation, and fight other player controlled mercenary groups. The whole setup like what I’ve seen of the game is very straightforward, which of course is nice to see as no one likes getting bogged down with too many menus or other obstacles. My major issue with the online war is the artificial limitation of three operations per day. I know in beta it makes sense that they don’t want people to over level, but I fear it hinders my enjoyment. I really hope that the full release does away with the artificial limitation, as it was annoying to be told that after 3 operations that my time was up and that I had to wait 24 hours until I could enter another operation.

Grand Kingdom (5)

Now moving away from the online war, let’s talk about the combat. When you enter a battlefield, you are greeted with a grid that gives you an overview of the battlefield, your job on this grid is to move your mercenaries along the grid until you encounter an enemy group and once you encounter them you engage in combat.

The combat portion of the battlefield is a rather interesting affair as it offers some fun tactical and strategic gameplay as you fight enemies on a three-line battlefield with up to six characters on your side.

In combat thinking through your moves is almost as import as performing them, as the move you make could lead to some unintended consequences. For example, if I moved my fighter close to an enemy and engaged in combat, what could happen next? Could the enemy use his fighter to break my fighter’s guard and thus leaving him open to a barrage of ranged and magic attacks. Now, saying that, it is important to note how combat works. It isn’t a point and click affair as the game uses a move and action point system. When it’s one of your character’s turns, you move him up and down the lines and forward towards your enemy, following this movement phase and if you are close enough to an enemy you can use your action points to unleash number of melee, ranged or magic attacks until you run out of actions. Melee combat is straightforward, as you just need to get close to an enemy and constantly push the correct button until you run out of actions, but while melee combat is straightforward ranged and magic combat requires a bit more work. With ranged and magic combat you need to aim your attacks, this requires getting in range of your enemy and choosing your attack, when your attack is chosen a reticule will appear and you have to constantly hit the correct attack button when it goes over your enemy. While this sounds straightforward, it can get tricky when you are aiming at an enemy close to an ally because if you get the timing wrong you could hit and damage one of your own players. At first glance, Grand Kingdom’s combat may look simple, but in reality, it can be more challenging than you expect.

Now, let’s talk the four available classes: fighter, hunter, witch, and medic. The four available classes are your basic: tank, ranged DPS, magic DPS and healer. Each class has their own set of abilities that make their class stand out. For example, Fighters automatically guard when they finish attacking, and the witch has charge up attacks that can devastate those who are on the same line as her as well as using crowd control fire spells. With only four classes available in the beta, it is difficult to see how these match up to the other classes in the game.

Grand Kingdom (4)

Now before I finish I want to bring up the single-player campaign. The two quests available are tutorial quests that teach you how to play the game. The quests are straightforward and as such aren’t an issue, but when I started reading the single-player dialogue something stood out, and that was how little interaction I had with the NPCs talking. During an early conversation between Lilia, your assistant and the Guild leader’s daughter, and Flint, a fighter in your squad, Flint says he and the boss (you) would prefer to go drinking rather than take a tour. While this conversation might not seem like much, Flint is bringing you into the conversation, but unfortunately you can’t answer and to me it feels immersion breaking. Personally, I would have liked a dialogue option where you could choose to agree with Flint about going drinking or agree with Lilia about continuing the tour.

From what I’ve seen in the Grand Kingdom beta there is a lot of potential, the combat and online war is both fun and interesting, but I can’t get a full opinion of the game until its release in June.

Grand Kingdom is published by NIS America, and developed by Monochrome Corp and Spike Chunsoft.

Grand Kingdom will be released for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on June 17th in Europe and on June 21st in North America. If you are interested in signing up for the beta, visit www.GrandKingdomGame.com/beta/. The beta is set to end on May 10th.


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