13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim from Atlus and Vanillaware is not what it seems at first. Players might look at the game’s cover art and think this is a pretty standard JRPG title. This is where they’d be wrong. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is anything but standard. It’s one of the best story driven games we’ve played this year.
In 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, gamers will play through 13 different story arcs which are interconnected. Each story arc features one particular main character and the game builds upon its overarching story in this manner. It’s masterfully executed and the story has plenty of revelations which are both captivating and mind-blowing.
The game does kick off with fairly standard anime tropes taking centre stage in the beginning. This involves high school students and their lives but soon enough, the intriguing plot will suck you in and you’ll be hooked. Especially when the Sentinels are brought into the equation. Without spoiling the story any further, players should note that 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim’s plot is excellent and will keep you entertained for around 40 hours or so. There’s a tonne of story in the game and it is worth reading through or listening to every single conversation because the character development and plot is excellent.
So while the story is excellent, what about the gameplay itself you might ask? The gameplay is fairly straightforward during the visual-novel styled side scrolling scenes. Players will move their character around in a scene and can interact with certain objects or items. They can also interact with the vast range of NPCs available in scenes and learn more about them or the game’s world itself. There’s very light puzzle elements introduced into the game in this way too with players being able to access a “Thought Cloud” which is within the mind of the character they are playing as. Selecting an option from the Thought Cloud leads to more information being displayed to the player or alternatively, you can piece together information with items or objects, and interact with other characters.
As the story progresses, you’ll gain access to a Sentinel. The Sentinels are giant mecha that your characters can pilot and they use these to wage war against enemy forces that are wreaking havoc across Japan. This is where the more active aspects of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim comes into play. Players will have to provide commands to their Sentinel and move across a top-down view 3D representation of a map in a turn-based fashion. Issuing certain commands can drain the Sentinel’s energy or may require strategic placement on the battlefield before it can be used to its full extent. The battles play out in real time but while you’re commanding your Sentinel, it pauses the action until you’ve issued your commands. This gives you a bit of a reprieve when things start to get chaotic.
Each Sentinel has their own strengths and weaknesses and fighting off hordes of enemy forces is incredibly enjoyable in the game. The battle segments of the game are great and tie into the story quite well too since there’s lots of chatter between characters over their communication links while in the Sentinels. Later on in the game, players will be able to upgrade their Sentinels and perform far more than just basic attacks on enemy forces. Using strategy becomes necessary to defeat enemies and the battle sequences serve as the perfect interlude between major story arcs.
Graphically, Vanillaware have created a game that is absolutely gorgeous. Everything from the character designs to the Sentinels and environments themselves are a feast for the eyes. There’s so much attention to detail that’s been paid to the 2D side-scrolling world scenes that you’ll often find yourself just gawking at the fantastic artwork that’s on offer here. Each scene is a work of art throughout the entire game and while the 3D top-down battle views aren’t as great as the 2D scenes, they are still visually pleasing to see in action.
The soundtrack is just as great too with the Japanese voice acting being performed by well-known anime voice actors who have delivered incredibly believable dialogue. The music is also on par with both the voice acting and graphical aspects of the game and fits the scenes perfectly.
Overall, if you’re a fan of anime, sci-fi or visual storytelling, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is the game for you. The storyline, while dealing with numerous different arcs and plot points, weaves itself into one really excellent tale that will grab you and not let go. The game is rather lengthy too and will keep you entertained for numerous hours. The battles are fun and serve as a great interlude to the more text/speech heavy story segments that await you while you piece together everything. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is highly recommended from us especially if you’re a fan of Vanillaware’s storytelling.
You can purchase 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim here for £49.99 on PS4.
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