Originally Published on the Official Blast Away the Game Review Facebook Page
Reviewed by Contributing Writer Chris Barsoum
-Very well done artistic choice for the games graphics
-Very easy to learn for veterans of the strategy world
-Tutorial is in-depth and rather well explained, if you can wait the two hours to get to it
-Solid soundtrack and original voice dubbing
-Fight system, rewind controls, and tutorial are at times complex and hard to manage
-Lackluster environments that make the title hard to enjoy
-Battlefields could have used more design and variety to provide a unique experience
As a fan of the strategy genre, this game was one that seemed like it had a chance to be unique and rather inventive in the genre for strategy RPGs. Instead this game quickly dishevels that idea and tosses it aside. In Tears of Tiara 2, players will be able to make note of the art, which is one of the things that actually sticks out the most. The game itself is what you would consider a standard strategy RPG, which is expected, and this is why the art style works so well, but this is where the problems do begin to form.
Unfortunately, the game has no cover story, which gives no background for players who are unfamiliar with the series. This is something that makes it a bit difficult to get into. It leaves the questions of how, why, when, who, and where in the back of your head. This doesn’t even change once five hours in, which can become a problematic ordeal for those who are story driven versus gameplay driven.Though in that time frame many of the interactions that take place as well as the conversations within them, they seem to be ones that you can rub off, ones that almost do not seem to do much with the game as a whole. This is something that can seem somewhat troublesome to those unfamiliar with the franchise.
First and foremost are the basics of the fight system. These are something that are not thoroughly explained, which means players will find themselves digging through the games manual feverishly in order to discover what controls do what. This also means the special and or unique controls for Tears to Tiara 2 are hidden deep within the games tutorial, which is not present until around two hours in; that’s assuming that you even make it that far. This is something that will frustrate newcomers and even leave some veterans kicking a can in the dirt hoping that the basic controls will at least appear in the tutorial, which reluctantly, they do. It seems that within the tutorial the key notes to how the game works had been left out. This is the same for advance controls for any that could be used as well as any tactics the game could advise players to find themselves crawling around with.
As a fan who loves difficult games; strategies none the less; there was one option that was infuriating, which to some may not be as bad; the rewind option. This allows players who are having troubles are able to go back through moves, time, and plan out what needs to happen with their units if they find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Don’t forget, this means you can also save squad members that may just be about to bite the dust at the swing of an enemy’s weapon. The part that sucks about this option? It shouldn’t be here, this is a strategy RPG, which means the game is meant to have a form of difficulty. For beginners this might be a nice option, but for veterans, this is a let down.
Once managing to get past the issues that are present due to a long delayed tutorial, a story that can’t easily be explained to those unfamiliar with it, the game does run into another problem; the environments. Within these environments players would expect something unique. Large glorious fields, combat torn terrains, cliff sides, mountains, castles, and so on, but this does not happen. Instead the game itself feels as if someone had taken some form of an RPG Maker title and threw out a simple dungeon. The combat fields truly felt rushed, uninspired, and well just sloppy. Something that in a sense that could have helped this title was depth, coordination, but also a uniqueness to each map. Some form of direction for players to feel at home with. In the opening, you do begin in an area with tons of people whom are at random buildings, the story explains you are some kind of servant who is working to patch up a shrine. Yet the character lives right up the hill near the worksite. This would have been nice had some direction been given between towns, events, and combat fields. Sadly this does not happen well and hopefully will see a future patch to enable this.
Combat itself is very simple and feels like it would be a part of one of the many strategy RPGs that came before it. Some of you may recall the limited movements per turn, attacks per character, and the overall setting up of using grid based movement; this is something Tears to Tiara 2: Heir of the Overlord does. Attacks can be given each turn if the enemy is close enough based on your characters attack range, some of the classes such as sage or archer can do this from a ranged area, some of them from only a few grid spaces away, but do note that if further away the hit chance does go down, which can be problematic for some who are not used to counting out the grid spacing to ensure a successful attack. Upon a successful attack each character will gain XP as well as SP, which allows them to become more reliable in combat and ultimately provide a better chance of clearing out the map itself. Like in previous titles, players can edit their parties equipment, and setups to ensure that their team will be strong enough for what they are trying to do. This will provide a better and more beneficial use when setting up your characters for each scene, but do not forget to make sure to check your items and swap them out as needed. This also can ensure a chance at survival while players push on through the games main campaign.
Outside of the games combat scenarios, character editing, and overview, the game itself is rather unique. Thanks to the rather beautiful art style and animations used, the game does seem to have some promise for fans of the series, but for ones that are unfamiliar to it; the game will be a let down or a huge mess of confusion. Like many titles that come from this genre or from Japan for that matter, Tears to Tiara 2 uses a well known set up, the graphic novel like approach that gives the game a entertainment value for those who aren’t big into the strategy rpg combat set up the game uses. Unfortunately, much like past titles, the game does seem a bit of a fan service, which can make the average adult looking for a form of entertainment cringe. This cringe factor is due to the rather over usage of barely cloth clad cleave, skimpy close, and well pantie shots that seem to be a big thing as of late. Even with doing all that, it did not help redeem the game as a whole, and unfortunately has left it as a game that will surely need some help in order to keep it alive unless you are someone who absolutely wants to skip all the conversations and shoot straight for the combat scenes. Even with all this said this game itself has only a small bit of entertainment value, it may be recommended to try and import some of the older titles from Japan that didn’t seem like a bit of a fan service.
So what does Tears to Tiara 2: Heir of an Overlord manage to fight itself to in a score? Unfortunately it has only landed itself with a mind breaking 3 out of 10.