Gungnir Review

Gungnir Review

Those who have played prior Sting titles know that the developer is known for their unique twists on various genres, especially in the strategy RPG area. Gungnir, the latest title in the developer's Dept. Heaven series, is another take at the strategy RPG genre. However, unlike Knights in the Nightmare or Yggdra Union, Gungnir is much more akin to Square Enix's Final Fantasy Tactics, but with the developer's own unique take on the genre. So this begs the question: does this middle of the road decision hurt or help the game?

Gungnir begins as Giulio, son of a local resistance group who is widely known in the area, attacks a cargo vessel that is traveling in the area. But instead of finding food and goods he finds a mysterious girl. After the tyrannical military from the west comes to capture her, Giulio finds himself becoming the bearer of the unholy Stigmata mark and the wielder of the legendary demonic lance Gungnir. Although unleashing the lance's true power has negative consequences, he decides to set off on the warpath in an attempt to bring down the oppressive military presence that threatens his town and the region itself.

Of course, this being a Sting title there is a number of things going on behind the scenes, such as prime ministers and knights scheming behind the scenes and various character development going on between the characters. There's some usage of the standard cliches to be sure, but it never feels overly done as all of the sides feel morally ambiguous and nothing is initially what it seems. All in all it's not the most innovative story compared to the other more well-known titles in the genre, but it's still involving enough to keep progressing forward even if it does drag on from time to time.

Gungnir follows the classic isometric-style camera scheme common to the genre. While for most this may seem like a Final Fantasy or Tactics Ogre knock-off at first glance mechanic-wise, the key difference is that movement in Gungnir revolves around Wait Time and Tactics Points. Instead of having set turn orders, the player has party actions which let you select from whatever characters are available as long as their Wait Time is 0. Each action they perform has a set wait time, so simple attacks will have a shorter wait time than a full-on assault attack. Units can be moved before their timer counts down, but at the cost of temporarily reducing their maximum HP for the duration of the battle. Wait times can also be modified depending on the Ace picked at the start of the battle, of which there is usually a couple of different choices to pick from.

Tactics Points come into play by allowing for altering and modifying how attacks are performed in battle. They can be gained by moving units in battle but the biggest gains come from occupying spaces on the map marked with flags, with each flag under the player's control increasing the available Tactics Points by one. Of course, the enemy also plays under these rules so battles become a two-fronted approach of attacking your opponent and capturing land.


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