If we take away any life lesson from Record of Agarest War 2, it would be that humans should not meddle with the gods. Or in this case they shouldn’t seek out a god and attempt to slay said god with a magical sword without thinking about the consequences that would come along with the destruction of a deity. Blind to the consequences our protagonist Weiss unleashes his final blow to a god shattering the god into millions of pieces. A blinding light follows engulfing the world in a bright light and with it, releasing monsters and demons as penance for his selfish act. Waking up with no knowledge of who he is, cliché I know, you soon discover that without this god the world will be shrouded in darkness and chaos.
To return the world to its former glory, Weiss must sacrifice himself as the vessel for the deceased god; while cleansing the world of the demons that were released upon the death of the god. If that sounds like a lot for a single person, well it actually is. In fact, your burden falls on to your children with the same task after your time has passed as well as your grandchildren to finish the task that has been bequeath to you. While the original Agarest War had upwards of five generations of characters, the three generations in the sequel feels like a perfect medium.
In traditional Japanese RPG fashion the story plays out in visual novel style scenes with static character portraits with minimal movements. The voice acting is strictly Japanese, so those who don’t feel like reading for the next 40 hours will be disappointed. Choices during dialogue scenes will affect your relationship within your party. Care to improve your relationship with a party member even further? Head to the bathhouse and play a little mini-game massaging your “friend” with body oil. And yes, it is PlayStation Move compatible…pervert.
The turn-based battles are dependent upon the composition and formation of your party. Different party leaders will utilize different formations that come with various strengths and weaknesses. Besides a head-on attack, you may want to send your enemy soaring into the sky or send them straight into the ground depending on the weakness of your enemy. Utilizing timed button presses during your attack phase instead of simple button mashing will provide bonuses. “Breaking” your enemies guard will open them up to further special attacks that will devastate enemies. Sounding like a deep and rewarding combat system, the game’s inability to perform during battles bogs down the entire experience. Long load times coupled with frequent slowdown, hiccups and freezes sour the gameplay to the point where you dread running into a random battle right before reaching a town.
While Record of Agarest War 2 has its flaws, I was glad to see Idea Factory trying to bring new mechanics to an already established franchise. The loot portion of the game takes a back seat to the implemented crafting system, which is usually the opposite with RPGs. Lasting around 40 hours, the story and interaction between the characters will keep you coming, that is if you can stomach the long load times and constant stuttering.
Note: The Record of Agarest War 2 review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.