|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sting||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Yggdra Union: Well Never Fight Alone made its debut on the GBA a few years ago. It was an innovative game that combined strategy, real time, and RPG elements in a well-balanced blend. Of course, production values were seriously lacking but that did little to hamper the gameplay.
Now released on the PSP, Yggdra Union is reworked, refined, refreshed, and ready for another lease at life. Its great to see this game be all that it can be with all the extra processing power and the larger screen. The makeover is nice, but this is still the same game. If you havent played it before, this is definitely the one to get, but cosmetic and aural improvements aside, there isnt enough new content to recommend to fans.
RPG, strategy, real-time action, and turn-based card elements comprise the gameplay. Its going to take you some time to grasp the overall concept of exactly how its played, but, fortunately, there is an in-game tutorial the gives you a good general explanation as you progress. Its not overly detailed, as it allows you to go in armed with a little knowledge and make your own mistakes. This is the way most of us like to play. Just get in there and mix it up. Its also more forgiving than the original game. If you get killed, the enemies will lighten up each subsequent time you retry a stage. The only downside is that youll lose some of your health, which is in the form of morale.
Theres nothing particularly interesting about the story or the meandering plot developments. This is a game about battling. Hopefully, youre a fighter and not a lover, because youre going to be doing an awful lot of fighting in this game. There is the requisite character interaction, but theres not a lot of tedious exploring. Most of the boring RPG elements have been distilled, leaving concentrated residuals of fun and action. Even though the game is quick to cut to the chase, at 40 hours, its still a lot of game.
Princess Yggdra has had the misfortune of having her empire invaded by enemies. The Kingdom of Fantasinia is now under the control of the Empire of Bronquia after seizing the King. Traversing the outskirts of the kingdom, the princess searches for allies to join her party in an effort to thwart the new evil Empire. There are lots of characters to contend with, and, consequently, this results in a lot of complex relationships both personally and professionally (in terms of combat). Each character that you encounter for inclusion into your party has different personality traits, or morale, that must be taken into account, along with their strengths, weaknesses, and weapons affiliation. Instead of bringing four or five party members with you into battle, each character comes with his or her own little army. Youll have to make decisions based on what units to send where, in what order, and with what weapons. Of course, the cards will ultimately dictate what you can and cant do on the battlefield.
While the card system is not overly complicated, it does require some forethought. There is plenty of depth to this game if thats what youre looking for. It has a remarkable way of being as deep as you want it to be, while also accommodating players that just ride on the surface. The card system can be relatively easy to access, but dont confuse it with the interface, which is unnecessarily annoying to access. There are a lot of stats to keep track of, and, fortunately, the large screen accommodates plenty of info and icons.