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PS2 Game Review

Growlanser: Heritage of War


Format: PS2
Rising Star Games
RRP: £19.99
5 060102 951100
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 15 August 2008

On an island continent shrouded in darkness and bounded on every shore by an impassable veil, war rages among desperate inhabitants fighting for survival. A mysterious famine has ravaged the land, leaving its denizens to struggle over what little fertile land remains. There is no safe haven; land that war has left untouched is still threatened by the Screapers, fierce and powerful monsters steadily encroaching on the cities of men. Hope is fading - who will rise to save this dying land?...

Growlanser: Heritage of War is an RPG game that features a sweeping story arc spanning five chapters, with additional chapters to unlock. The story unfolds through hand-drawn animation and character portraits by artist Satoshi Urushihara.

The game takes some getting into to before you can actually start to enjoy it, but by the time this has come around you will most probably be bored of it.

There are plenty of save points, so when you die you do not have to go miles back and repeat things that are really simple and boring. Another benefit is the fact that once you've played a section of the game, if you do have to repeat it (say for example a really long conversation that you have already listened to) you can skip quickly through. This can really help when you want to get back to where you left off.

Combat, in the game, uses a strategic party-based system. This allow you to use an advanced troop command system to give orders to your allies - smart tactics are the key to victory. The battle systems is in real time, and on the same map that you are moving round on, which means that you don't have to wait while the game loads to a dedicated battle screen. The monsters look fairly basic and most have no generally specialty and the levels designs are a very basic 2D.

The music in Growlansers gives a very atmospheric feeling to it and can be very relaxing at times. The character's voices are fairly well acted, giving a unique feeling to each character. The character designs are also pretty impressive, with a lot of work going into them in order to give each of them a unique look. The artwork is of anime design, which gives all the characters a good customised look and individual look to each character.

You can also change your character's abilities based on the needs of the situation. As your character levels, so too do your Ability Plates. With the Friendship and Personality Rating System, your personality can either limit or enhance your interactions with others; the outcome of your encounters depends entirely on your behaviour. Mould a protagonist as ill-tempered or good-natured as you desire. And if you're brave enough, reveal your true feelings to a companion; if they come to feel the same way about you, you'll be rewarded with a bonus hand-drawn character-specific ending animation that puts the icing on the cake.

While there are much better RPG games on the market, Growlanser is worth taking a look at.


Carl Simpson

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