Kadokawa Games doesn’t really have a good track record of creating interesting strategy games. Their latest release, God Wars: Future Past, launched last year for the PS4 and PS Vita. We have already covered it back during its initial release so what exactly is different for the complete version of the game? There is not much to say in this regards since the only significant new addition is in the form of an expansion titled The Labyrinth of Yomi.
For a turn-based strategy game, there is a lot of weight placed on crafting a well-developed story and characters. Remember Final Fantasy Tactics, which is nevertheless considered the benchmark for strategy RPG from Japan. God Wars: The Complete Legend is a surprisingly fun and deep strategy game that tackles a rather interesting subject matter. It features thematic elements and storyline focused on the Japanese mythologies and legends, which is what makes the game extraordinary in the first place. The story deals with the destiny of a princess Kaguya with a cursed past who sets out on a journey to find out the fate of her mother. It derives inspiration from classic Japanese folklore tales and deals with the theme of sacrifice and fairy-tale gods.
God Wars: The Complete Legend possesses all the elements that could have made it a classic in its genre, but there are some critical flaws in the execution of the story, character development, and gameplay that held it back from achieving it. The story sounds remarkable on paper, but it is delivered in a delicate way. The major exposition happens in the form of comic book styled cut scenes with their own stylized artwork. The writing fails to grab your attention while the character development is shallow so this makes it hard to cherish them.
Character development is extremely important because if you want to play a game where the purpose is to recruit a group of characters, they should be giving an interesting backstory and development to make them unique among the party members. Suikoden series along with Final Fantasy Tactics remains a prime example of this, but it is here, that God Wars: The Complete Legend falls far behind. You start with a small group of party members and then gradually recruit more combatants along your journey. These new characters are often poorly introduced and the writing generally being bland doesn’t support their case either.
As a turn-based strategy, you would think there will be plenty of interesting battle scenarios. Unfortunately, most of the battles will boil down to completely finishing the enemies. It is the time-consuming nature of the combat that makes it cumbersome overall. But to give some credit, the customization offered for the characters is considerably deep and with a sheer number of party members to pick for each fight, there is a decent chance you will rethink your party for each battle. The combat system is easy enough that you won’t experience much difficulty grasping it at first, but there is also a surprising amount of depth in it.
In most of the battles, the strategy is fairly predictable. You can cast buffs on characters to gain an advantage at the start and then move closer to the enemies to finish them. Some battles offer a twist on this like escort missions where you have to support a party member. Boss fights will present a refreshing change of pace from the conventional battles. They will require a little more strategy to carefully launch and position your attacks. I don’t think the game is extraordinarily challenging if you have a proper understanding of strategy games. Even if you don’t, there are multiple difficulty options available in the beginning making it easy to select one based on your play style.
As I said the customization offered here is rather multifarious. Each character that you will recruit for your party maintains a distinct class ranging from an ordinary priest, monk or magician to celestial themselves. They are not limited to just one but receive two unique selectable classes that contain their own skill tree which can be developed by utilizing them in combat to gain experience. Depending on how you decide to approach most battles, you get the choice to focus on skills that offer more defense, offense or magic. It is fun to figure out the best build for each character and experiment with their skills.
The combat system itself needs a few tweaks since the UI is confusing and requires a lot of reading at first. You also have to deal with the slow nature of the combat system where turns are placed between your party members and the enemies. Make a move and then wait until the enemy is done before you can control a different character again. This requires patience but thankfully there are options to transfer the control of other party members to AI so if you want to make a character focus on a specific strategy like healing, this can be tweaked.
The new expansion sadly doesn’t do much for the story. It is merely fresh content for the fans who have already finished the base game and want to prove their skills in a new 50-level dungeon. The thing is, if you don’t like the combat system, I find it hard to see any use for this expansion other than wasting more time. It is definitely not a short dungeon and aside from being extremely challenging, it can take you several hours just to complete it. I didn’t really end up clearing it out since I already felt exhausted by the end of the game’s 20 to 30 hours of main story content.
God Wars: The Complete Legend Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: GOD WARS The Complete Legend is a tactical RPG that explores the untold history of Japan through folklore and tactical combat.
Final Score - 7/107/10
Fans of turn-based strategy games who are looking for a deep combat system should check out God Wars: The Complete Legend, however, don’t expect a lot from the story. As for those who have already finished it once, there is a lack of meaningful new content.