Reviewed: April 24, 2006
Released: February 28, 2006
Turn Based strategy games have been around for a long time, but few have dared to create a game that strayed from the ordinary. Generation of Chaos (a turn based strategy RPG) does just that by allowing you to create and govern your own kingdom. Battles are massive, consisting of up to 30 characters on either side. Add to that many different possible endings and the ability to control ten unique kingdoms (each with its own story) and youíve got one huge portable game.
Story: When mortal existence was still in its infancy, the Gods waged a terrible war for their souls. Fighting to the death, they created ultimate weapons of Armageddon, the Dragon Kings, whose roars could be heard across thousands of leagues, and destructive power, ultimately, caused the extinction of the Gods themselves. That is the legend passed down since ancient times. People feared the beings called Dragons, and revered them.
The Dravanian Revolution ended in 1701, leaving the country in ruins. In the wake of this chaos, Minister Zeo deftly maneuvered through the political system to emerge as the countryís strong new leader. Before long, Zeo began to transform Dravania into a powerful military force. Now, Dravania has risen from the ashes to restore peace and prosperity to the rest of Lost Grounds.
The game begins by placing you in charge of one of the several feuding kingdoms (you choose one). Your goal is relatively simple; lead your army(s) against all opposing armies. After beating the fist campaign a new kingdom opens up for you to do battle in. Each of which has many unique chapters with cut-scenes at the end of each one. Whatís sad is that the story isnít interesting enough to hold your interest. The battles are the heart of this game, but also the gameís major problem early on.
The difficulty kicks into high gear right from the beginning mainly because of the extreme amount of flexibility and control you have over battle tactics, troops, resources, and everything else. You can even upgrade your armyís weapons and armor while trying to maintain your troopís loyalty.
Your main source of control is the general who commands each of your armies. It is this insane amount of control that will separate the men from the boys who play this game. Youíll spend hours using the trial and error approach to your strategies and army management. Youíll even read the entire manual two or three times like I did. Then youíll go online to get helpful information and strategies to aid you. Then finally, after nearly four or five hours you will understand how to effectively play and enjoy playing Generation of Chaos.
Each time you begin a chapter youíre introduced to the enemies you must defeat to proceed. The battles take place on a big map that is filled with many structures such as forts, castles, and towns. Your goal is to occupy as much of the map as possible while defending the areas you control and making sure none of your commanders die (or itís game over). You earn money for each town you control, so it pays to invade and take over enemy towns. Once you control a town you can build new structures, invest in your markets, hire or execute enemy commanders, and the list goes on.
Battles are initiated by moving to an occupied square on the map and, although this is a turn-based strategy game, they play out in real-time between commanding officers (which can have up to 29 troops). This is an extremely slow real-time which gives you more than adequate opportunity to react to what the enemy is doing.
These battles are so slow that it can easily take two or three hours to clear a single chapter in the game. It gets to be very tiresome and the short and frequent loading times don't help.
This game has a lot of downsides, the first being that the combat isnít nearly as fun as it looks. If you were to look at the back of the package and make your buying decision based upon the screen shot youíd be disappointed.
Generation Chaos features some intriguing character design and an old school 2D look. You play from an overhead battlefield perspective while cut-scenes are generally done from a side view.
Itís hard to fit so many characters on one screen and retain quality graphics, so NIS opted to do it the easy way: make each character blocky. They arenít terrible by any means and the battle effects are neat enough to distract you. After a while the battle effects get old and slow the already slow pace of the game down even more (you can turn them off).
Its major downside comes in the form of the gameís world interface, which isnít designed well and lacks a lot of visual polish. To be brutally honest, the interface is extremely convoluted and confusing for anyone who hasnít spent countless hours adjusting to it. Furthermore, itís hard to access a lot of the useful information because of the confusing menus.
Once you access this information it is hard to read not only because of the incredibly small text, but because everything is abbreviated (I suppose) to make it quicker for you to read through. Unfortunately it only makes it more difficult to understand in the long run. Itís the first time Iíve had difficulty reading text off of the PSPís gorgeous screen, but thereís a first time for everything I suppose.
Like most old school RPGs the music isn't memorable. It gets the job done, but lacks anything of real value or quality. You'll find the general sound effects here, and also subtle background music which is surprisingly well done and fit the battles nicely. The downside here is that they repeat like most RPG's, but however don't get annoying.
The voice acting sounds pretty pathetic and almost laughable at times. Whatís worse is when the game loads when a character is in mid-sentence. Itís really embarrassing when a game loads and cuts someone off.
Value for this game varies greatly depending solely on if youíre a big strategy fan willing to invest copious amounts of time into it or not. If not, then this game has zero value and wonít appeal to you in the least, and I would expect you to sell it on eBay or put it on the shelf forever.
For those few who are willing to invest a lot of time and patience thereís at least sixty plus hours worth of enjoyment to be had. However, the problem with a game like this is that itís portable. That makes it even more frustrating given the gameís staggeringly slow battles and steep learning curve. Give this game enough time and youíll be rewarded thoroughly.
There are two ways to perceive this game: you either love it or hate it. All the reviewers that gave this game a 6 or 7 were going merely on technical specifications and not on their enjoyment of the game. I gave the game a 6.8 for the technical merits, but based on the fun factor alone, I'd score it an 8.
This is one of the few games in which you reap what you sow. Whatever you put into it, youíll get out of it. If you open it up, put it in, get frustrated after 1 hour, and give up, then youíll never truly understand the joy this game is to play.
This isnít a game for those who donít like to work hard, and Iíd recommend this to college students/graduates looking for a fun, extremely deep and complex turn-based strategy game with infinite replay-ability.