God Wars: Future Past is a new tactical RPG developed by Kadowaka Games and published by NIS America. The game is available on the PS4 and PS Vita and has a purposefully old-school look to it.
Tactical RPGs have been around for a very long time and could be considered a niche market. Square Enix is the king of this genre as it has released the popular Final Fantasy Tactics series over the years. God Wars: Future Past is similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and it's by no means an easy game to play.
If you have never played a tactical RPG before, it's a different spin to the usual turn-based combat systems that dominate the genre. You still take turns attacking enemies, although this time the battlefield works like a chess board. You need to strategically position your party members on the map that is laid out in a grid. Positioning your party is key to winning and losing.
What separates this game from other tactical RPGs is the fact that it features awesome looking anime cutscenes. With most video games opting for 3D style cutscenes, it's quite cool to see hand drawn 2D animation. It makes the cutscenes a joy to watch, even though they appear too few and far between. The story is unique as it's about a Princess named Kaguya who has been locked up for many years by her mother to be sacrificed to please the Gods. However, her childhood friend Kintaro breaks her free and they set on a quest to find her mother to seek more answers. They will have to fight many enemies and creatures along the way! What may disappoint some people is the fact that the game has some pretty simplistic looking graphics. I reviewed this game on the PS4 and the character models and environments are more akin to a game better suited for a handheld. Thankfully, this game is also out for the PS Vita, so the Vita might be the better platform to play this game.
The voice acting is actually pretty good and there is a diverse cast of characters. My favourite character in the entire game is a bear named Kuma (unrelated to the Tekken one). He's powerful in combat and the only words that come out of his mouth is "Kuma". As you play through the game, even more party members join you.
The class types are also very varied as this changes the dynamics of battles. For instance, some characters are good at close-quarters combat while others shoot arrows from afar. Each character also has several unique abilities that allow them to make attacks even stronger than before. One thing gamers may notice about this game is that it features a pretty steep difficulty spike early on. At the very beginning, it is quite easy breezing through the battles as the enemies aren't very strong or resilient. It's not until you face the first major boss and his cronies does the game get much harder. You have to constantly look out for things like poison arrows, enemies attacking from behind and more. You need to buy lots of herbs and other items just to make sure your party stays healthy. Not to mention the enemies usually replenish the health of their comrades making battles quite lengthy. If you plan on playing this game, it's best that you grind and level up as often as you can.
The thing I don't like about this game is that it's all about battles. You don't get the exploration factor that breaks the monotony of battles like in other JRPGs. This game is just a sequence of lengthy battles upon battles that it quickly becomes very repetitive and boring as a result.
Overall, God Wars: Future Past is a game that might appeal only to hardcore fans of the tactical RPG gaming genre. It has a deep system with lots of classes and equipment for you to use. However, the repetitive nature of battles and old-school style graphics aren't enough to attract a wider audience. Verdict: 6.5/10