Review – Blazing Souls Accelate
Publisher: Aksys Games
Platform(s): Playstation Portable
Genre: Strategy/Tactical RPG
ESRB Rating: T- Teen
Official site: http://www.aksysgames.com/games
The Scoop: Arksey Games brings Blazing Souls Accelate to the PSP, a game previously released as Blazing Souls on the PS2 and only available in Japan. The strategy RPG does stumble at times, but there is fun to be had if you are willing to put in some grueling hours of level-grinding madness.
The Set Up: Zelos is the game’s main protagonist and – to put it bluntly – is a self-absorbed jerk. While continuously putting down everyone within earshot he is for some reason compelled to bring together a band of mercenaries to… well, you never really find out. The story is a bizarre one and I was never quite sure if it was trying to be ironic. Zelos and his sword-looking shotgun bares a lot of resemblance to Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII who was also famous for being self-absorbed and carrying a “Gun Sword”. Love it or hate it, the story is unique.
Once you do get Zelos and his crew onto the battlefield the game goes into pre-battle mode and you will have to do a little puzzle-platforming to advance from the area. Zelos will now have a limited amount of moves to prepare a clear pathway for his team to reach the exit during battle. Although the controls for this can be a little sloppy, it does a good job of breaking up the level grinding and is a heck of a lot better than random encounters.
When Zelos runs out of pre-battle moves the battle system is triggered and your opponents appear. If you were not able to make a path to the exit you will have to clear all of the area’s enemies to return to pre-battle mode.
What’s Hot: The battle system is menu-based but the developers keep it simple and the experience is a smooth one. At the beginning of every character’s turn you will have an opportunity to move them into position and then unleash a combo of attacks. Getting the right combo will “Overkill” the opponent and you will be awarded with a greater amount of experience points. You can even strategically pick which member of your party you want to level up by letting one wear the opponent down and have another step in to get the “Overkill”.
There is a remarkable amount of items, weapons, galleries and skills to unlock and upgrade. The menus do, at first, appear to be as cluttered as a hoarder’s living room, but the feeling only lasts until you get to know which areas are important to you.
What’s Not: Admittedly, if it were not for the internet I would have to give this game a lower score. Like most SRPGs the world map is littered with locations for you to discover, but in the beginning you have no idea where any of them are. To find them you need to earn Work Points (WP) and spend those WP to search the world map using clues given by townsfolk. To make it even tougher, WP are really hard to come by. You can convert the game’s currency into WP or gain some by advancing the story but this takes a long time.
The experience of finding new locations is like playing darts without numbers on the board. I would have been thoroughly frustrated with this if I did not find a world map online with all of the locations revealed. I know this is unacceptable, especially for a portable game, but I didn’t mind sticking to level grinding when I was on the go and waiting to find the next location when I had an opportunity to be by a computer.
Final Verdict: Having to keep close to the internet for some direction and the odd choice of having a jerk as the main protagonist keeps Blazing Souls Accelate from being a great experience. But if you are willing to put the hours into the level grinding you will come away with a rewarding one. The smooth battle system makes up for the game’s shortcomings and keeps it fun instead of a chore. Do get this game but only if you’re a RPG fan with access to a stable internet connection.Review - Blazing Souls Accelate,