Nippon Ichi has done it again with another breathtaking game in their world of RPGs. As you may or may not know, this company is responsible for Disgaea, Atelia Iris, La Pucelle Tactics, Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom, Ar Tonelico and the list goes on, if you visit their website you can see the list of games. GrimGrimoire is a 2D, side-on RTS RPG, try saying that when your drunk! Now, onto the game!
Grimgrimoire when you first load it up, you just look at the intro because the 2D art-style for this game, as with all Nippon Ichi games, is simply amazing. Some of the best 2D works in video game history. For some people, these titles bring joy or hatred. They are a style of games where, if you like one, you will love them all. If you hate one, you will hate the rest but still look at them and think, that is awesome artwork.
The story of the game revolves around Lillet Blan, the heroine of the story. Lillet has been invited to the Magic Academy which is lead by the famous wizard, Gammel Dore, who defeated the Archmage and now the Academy resides within the Silver Start Tower wherein the Archmage lived. Now it is used for studying, to find out the reason why Lillet keeps having Déjà vu.
When you get into your first bit of dialogue in the game, as with any RPG, it is long since it explains a lot of where, why and when. Pretty typical style. This feels different because you are in pure amazement at the artwork of the characters. It is presented with the wizard Gammel Dore welcoming Lillet Blan to the Academy. The detail of the characters is simply immense because you can see them breathing. This is unusual because most companies won’t be bothered with something of that minute detail, it is very cool to see that they care that much and it brings the characters to life that much more.
As with any RPG, after the introduction dialogue, you get told to do your studies, in other words a tutorial. After the screen fades off, you are welcomed with a bookcase with again amazing detail! I cannot stress how good the graphics are in this game. You then can choose a story mission or further down the bookcase, a side mission. Always best to start with the tutorial.
When you start, it looks like a platformer, far from it. You get told how to play. You have to choose your familiar to start with and the first one you get is an Elf. After selecting the Elf, you have to choose a rune to draw from your resources. You then select your Elf and tell him to gather Mana which is used to summon more creatures to help you succeed.
As with all RPGs, you level up and get better stats and so on. As an addition, you get Grimoires which are books that let you summon more familiars and also armour and weapons for them to assist you. There are three Grimoires for each of the four types of magic: Glamour, Necromancy, Alchemy and Sorcery.
The controls are easy to learn as it has a simple interface that anyone can get to grips with. For people who have played RTS games before, it will be alright for them because they know the basic tactics of gathering equals more manpower. For someone who has never ever played an RTS, they may find it a bit hard to get used to, but once you have that basic tactic down, the rest comes naturally. You can tell your units to defend, attack or gather. All self-explanatory by their actions.
The mechanics of this game can get extremely deep because apart from there being four magic types, there are also two body types for your minions: Astral and Substance. Both have weaknesses and strengths. Astral can’t get hit by physical attacks, but are very weak against magic attacks. Substance are strong against magic attacks, but weak against weapon attacks. Each monster in each magic group has weaknesses and strengths, so there is a lot to remember.
Once you get past the tutorial mission, you then unlock proper missions to progress the story and find out the mystery of the Academy and the tower. The missions in this game are far from easy and have a very steep learning curve. For the people who have played Nippon Ichi games before and know what to expect, difficulty wise, should be ok. For newcomers, they may get frustrated very easily.
The artwork and music in this game are simply amazing and are pure fantasy-style. Exactly what you would expect. The detail matches something along the lines of the Guilty Gear series because the detail on that series even goes down to the mouth speech when a character does a special attack. That’s how much detail is in this game. The music is brilliantly composed and has that very nice classic feel to it. You can’t really go wrong with it.
Once you stop drooling and get playing, you realise that it is such a beautiful game to look at, and some of the battles get you shouting at your TV because you feel that you make a connection with your familiars.
The Final Chapter
GrimGrimoire at the end of the day is an RTS-RPG. Some people will love and adore this game and others will hate it and wish they never bought it. It’s the old saying ‘Like Marmite, you love it or you hate it’
This will keep people playing, as all Nippon Ichi games do because there is that much to do in them, it can’t be done in a few simple hours. It takes time, blood, sweat and tears.
That’s the end of another LONG story.