Review by gar3
"The best tactical RPG (in my opinion)"
Wachenroder is a fantastic tactical role-playing game on the SEGA Saturn. While many tRPG purists would say that the Shining Force or Tactics Ogre series are better examples of the genre, I feel that Wachenroder has proven itself as one of the best, if not the best, available tRPGs.
Gameplay: Thankfully, for those of you with a limited knowledge of Japanese, the battle screens use icons to show what your characters can do. There is an icon of a man walking (movement), a sword (attack), a man who appears to be running (misc.) and a ''...'' icon (end of a character's turn). The amount of things you can do in any turn is determined by the number of Action Points that your characters have. Each action takes away AP and this continues until you run out of AP. Another cool idea that Wachenroder has is Steam Refine Gear. By pressing down on the D-pad, players can rev up their steam powered weapons to do more damage. This is a very neat idea and it really adds to the gameplay because players have to figure out how much to rev up a weapon. The higher the rev, the more heat it will give off and the more AP it will use. Overheated weapons must have a chance to cool down if they are to be used again in that battle. Another thing to keep in mind is that the tactical maps are in 3D. Depending on where your character is standing when he/she attacks, they might cause more or less damage to their opponent.
Story: Since the story to Wachenroder contains a nice mix of Japanese and German, I have absolutely no idea what's going on. I have a hard enough time understanding Japanese, let alone German. The nearest thing to a story that I can piece together is that it's the future and steam powered weapons are in vogue (hey, what more do you need to know?).
Audio/Video: The in-game music to Wachenroder is great. The dark and eerie music really helps to convey the ominous storyline (even to those without a working knowledge of Japanese). The visuals for the game are fabulous. The battle mode is really nice looking and the artwork found throughout the game is second to none in terms of beauty. However, the 3D battle scenes (which you can turn on or off in the options menu) leave a little to be desired. In fact if truth be told, they are horrendous. But as long as the gameplay is solid, these things never really bother me.
Replayability: I have never found any game of the tRPG genre that was replayable in my mind. Once I'm done with one, I'm done with it for life.
As I said before, many fans of the tRPG genre will point to the fact that Shining Force III (1-3) on the Saturn is a more complete and better looking game with more to do. However, Wachenroder will entertain those who are looking for an enjoyable linear tRPG without a lot of in-depth menus or options.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/24/00, Updated 09/24/00
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