Review by PunkRedComet

"Not worth it"

After playing Riviera: The Promise Land, I was really anticipating this game from the start ever since I saw the first trailer. Apparently, this game was a big disappointment for me. Unlike Riviera, which gave you many paths to choose, multiple endings, and an okay story, Yggdra Union was repetitive, very bland, and totally frustrating. I'm not talking hard frustrating; I'm talking cheap frustrating. Read on to see what I mean.

Story: 1/10
Okay, I know Sting isn't great with stories, but this was just horrid. You think there would be some type of interesting twist or maybe some character development, but you will find nothing like that in Yggdra Union. The story is a super cliche “Evil emperor taking over your country and you have to take it back.” I won't spoil the rest, but the story is cliche from the very beginning, to the end of the game. Usually, you might expect the characters to interact and all, but all the characters do is talk about what to do next, complain, and give you cheesy tutorials. Some of the characters are even so random that they just join your party for the hell of it and never speak in any of the main dialogue again. I had no interest to finish this game and basically forced myself to get to the last battlefield. It's a real turn-off.

Graphics: 5/10
Yes, I know. The graphics look really superb and all. No, that doesn't justify all the palette swaps I encountered in this game. There are so many palette swaps, its just plain boring and not evening exciting to advance through the game. You look at a character portrait and think, “That character looks cool.” Then you look at the sprite and it's like “dang, a palette swap.” C'mon! Are you that lazy to resort to changing the color of a generic union? It really doesn't capture the essence of the already bland characters and some of the designs are very weird. The girls have ginormous eyes and all the knights suffer from an awkward perspective of their upper helmet. Riviera was known for having lots of CGs, but Yggdra Union barely has any interesting CGs and they overuse the same face portraits over and over again. The grid looks very bleh with a very low-resolution map in the background; I mean even the menus are very tight and it's a pain to even read the cards and other text. The sprite movements are very limited and spell effects look like they were made of gas. The only redeeming features for graphics are the character portraits, which are refined, and some of the battle interface. Otherwise, menus are a pain to go through and seeing the same units over and over again is tiring.

Sound: 4/10
I personally did not enjoy any of the music in this game save maybe three tracks. It was a mix of annoying trumpet warfare music to downgraded techno. After hearing the Imperial Soldier battle them for the hundredth time, I just turned the volume off. What's more annoying is when you go into different battle modes, the pace of the music changes. This will totally turn ruin the music in that it slows it down and speeds it up. I hated how they implemented that and thought they should have just left the battle music alone. The sound effects are down-right awful. The screams are very lame and the metal clashing sound gets really old. There's not very much to talk about in this category, so I'll leave it at the Sound was at best mediocre.

Gameplay: 4/10
I played a lot of frustrating SRPGs, but Yggdra Union was more of a nuisance than fun. Before battle, you're allowed to recover Morale (HP) of your units and equip them. Next, you select your units and choose a certain number of cards for the battlefield. Basically, you have a grid and your move is determined by the move number on the card you've chosen for your turn. When you attack an enemy unit, adjacent units based off the gender of your leader also participate in battle (the same happens to the enemy unit under attack) and then engage combat. During combat, you get to control a bar that determines skills and how your army attacks. That's basically the jist of how battle works. Winning conditions vary from “Go to Town A” to “Defeat this unit.” What I found very frustrating was that the winning conditions are sometimes never specific. For instance, one map will tell you “Defeat all enemies,” but the knights on the other end have an invincibility status and the real winning condition is “Kill all the witches.” This will happen many times throughout the game and it gets worse when battle conditions constantly change. The only times I've seen the game over screen was when the winning condition tells you to Go to Town A. But when you get midway, you'll get ambushed by like seven units and then you forfeit your turn to them. Next is a five against one battle, which will lead to your death since the losing condition is “If any of your units die…” It's happened to me so many times that I'd have to restart the map and remember where the enemies ambush you. I don't call cheap ambushes a part of strategy, and I find the fact that it happens 15 minutes into the map to be a total waste of time for the player. I would put the game down for a day or two every time this happened because I simply find no joy in getting a cheap game over. There's also a paper-scissor-rock element in the game, but I find it useless since the main character Milanor is totally unbalanced and it starts to cycle over itself like how swords, spears, and axes are weak to rods, then all of those are weak to scythes. Some of the new elements they introduce into the game such as the linking system is more of a help for the enemies than to your units. I just couldn't enjoy the battle system and what the game had to offer.

Value: 2/10
I spent forty hours to beat this game. Those forty hours were very painful and an utter waste of time and effort. There aren't as many endings as Riviera and the replay value is not there. In fact, I would never force myself to play this game again. All the extras have to be found throughout the battlefields (some which are in very obscure areas), and the ending wasn't even rewarding for me. The only value I see for this game is the sheer amount of time I spent on it.

Overall: 3.2/10
Trust me, this game is not worth it. There are way better strategy games out there, and even if you played them all, Yggdra Union is just a waste of time. The story is boring, the graphics and sound gets really old, and gameplay is overall frustrating. There is something very wrong with this game, and I can't even tell you all the things I hated about this game. Maybe if you're lucky, you can buy the game only to sell it for its Atlus status on eBay when it becomes rare. Otherwise, I would steer clear of this game unless you're a hardcore SRPG fan or an Atlus collector.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 12/18/06

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