• Zangeki No Reginleiv Review - Nintendo Wii

    Oops. Looks like Ragnarock is upon us. The Kyojinzoku (Giants/Titans/etc.) are back to wage war with the gods and they're not taking any prisoners. Luckily for the humans of Misgald, two of the gods - albeit junior ones - are going to fight along side them. Odin & Co. will be occupying the enemy elsewhere.
    Frey and Freya are brother and sister, and the characters that the player will control during the many skirmishes with the Kyojinzoku. Each has different strong points. Frey has more health and can wield more powerful physical weapons including hammers and broadswords, and can take two different ones into battle. Freya can also use swords, but has lower HP. Unlike her brother, she can equip and use two magic staves/wands/bows along with her choice of sword.
    It's all about the hacking and slashing, right? So Frey is apparently the best choice. Give him a hammer and a broadsword and let him loose on the baddies. At least that's how it might well begin for some players. From the start of the game, the player is able to choose who they wish to play as. There are certain missions where there is no choice. The path the siblings take must split. One goes with one group of human villagers, and the other with another. Good thing too, otherwise they might never choose Freya and miss out on using her INCREDIBLY powerful weapons.
    Freya starts with the ice staff. It fires little ice pellets that follow rather stunted trajectories and completely fail to impress. Kill some baddies, collect the "mana" they drop, use it to forge new weapons. Try a few out just for kicks. Use a fire wand once and realise that that branch of weapons is like the kind of grenade launcher that a fairy might carry around. Oh hell yes.

    While Frey might well have hammers, broadswords and be able to use bows as well, Freya is the character with the REAL range of weapons. She can be using a laser-like light wand with pinpoint accuracy one minute, and the awesome destructive carnage of a fire wand the next. The only downside is that any of Freya's weapons (barring swords) will eat up magic power when used. This can be recharged by hacking up enemies directly with her sword. This is when she is most vulnerable to direct attack. That being said, careless use of fire wands tends to be more deadly.
    The Kyojinzoku are giant. The smallest is three times the height of our godly twins and wields a club. The next largest is more than twice as big and has a metal hammer. The big daddy of the normal enemies is twice as big again and carries a club the size of the hammer-wielder. Taking a hit from that will send Frey(a) flying helplessly. A few more and it's goodnight. There are some riding rhino-like beasts, some that float and summon monsters, and even one that has transformed into a dragon. The detail on these nasties is forgivably low, but the number of them that gets crammed onto the screen is impressive. The slowdown that kicks in from time to time (a little too often) is not so impressive. While annoying, It doesn't really detract much from the game. Sandlot certainly did a good job and could probably teach Capcom a few things if they were planning another Monster Hunter on the Wii.
    The initial few missions revolve around defending villages from attack and driving back the enemy. One thing which makes itself known from the start is that the player is going to be doing a lot of running in-between fights. Start in the middle of the village. Run to one side and kill a few guys. Run to the other side and kill a few more. That's not fun. The earlier missions are more about getting a feeling for the controls of course, and later missions may have people wishing for fewer clubs being swung their way.

    The field of view is quite restrictive. A fully 3D world is all well and good, but these are some BIG monsters, some can barely have one leg fit on the screen. Taking hits from enemies that are just off screen and out of Frey(a)'s swinging range is something that can be avoided by paying closer attention to the on-screen radar, and by using better judgement when attacking. Different physical weapons have different reaches and combos. For example, a sword might have a combo that goes: weak->weak->weak->strong, so swinging it four times may do twice the damage of swinging it three times. Swinging in different directions will do different amounts of damage, like the hammer does more damage being swung up/down than sideways. The weight of weapons affects how quickly they can be swung. Heavier = slower. Similar rules apply for the wands, with roughly five seconds for fire wands to charge up enough power to fire there's plenty of time for Freya to be attacked, or for her target to get too close and get her caught up in the blast as well.
    There are only really three kinds of settings in the game - town, countryside, cave. Parts of the environments are destructible, but a sword won't do much. Not really an issue as there are more than enough Kyojinzoku to take care of. The surroundings not only affect the kind of enemies that must be splattered, but the techniques employed to do so. Using the fire wand in a cave is a recipe for a deliciously toasted Freya. A different kind of wand is better suited for enclosed areas, so back to the weapon select screen the player goes.

    This is the game that "Ougon no Kizuna" could have been but wasn't. Missions are long enough to be enjoyable but difficult enough to prompt the player to think. The controls work, even if controlling the camera and making the characters dash takes some getting used to. The NPCs talk all the way through cut-scenes and battles, but the player will be more concerned with what/where to slash than to pay attention to that or the background music. There are some frustrating points, but upgrading armour and forging new weapons will provide enough reason to revisit missions. Five difficulty levels adds even more to that.

    Hacking, slashing, zapping and exploding. Zangeki no Reginleiv does what it promises.

    Score: 7/10