Strategy games are an interesting breed of RPG’s, as they come in various forms. From tower defense style games where you need to be careful on how much resources you use or board based games where you place units on a map and have them take on various enemies attacking your base. They can be great experiences and when they venture off into more creative types, it’s interesting to see the end result.
Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault takes the strategy RPG genre and blends it with tower defense elements and building management elements. Though combining promising gameplay with a charming story, does it result in a fun experience?
The story takes place in the future where the Silent Apocalypse happens; a horrible event that forces humanity to mine for special resources. They work hard and create a special base system that can rotate entire cities in an effort to defend themselves and end up surviving for years. Fast forward decades later and we have young adults assigned to defend a lone location that doesn’t get attacked much. You as the player, are the leader and have direct control of the cities various systems. So you would think with a serious backstory the plot would have grand stakes and push things in dark directions, right? Not really. It instead favors more light hearted dialog and very generic anime tropes interacting off one another.
This could be a problem if you get annoyed with the characters or the tropes they are inspired from but the writing is done well enough to where you can either enjoy it or just press on to the meat of the gameplay. I personally enjoyed it as I thought the characters, even if generic, had this layer of positiveness that made me want to root for them. Interacting with them is just fun, as they clearly enjoy working off one another and that is important for good character interaction.
Gameplay itself is set up as a mixture of a town building simulator and tower defense game. You have direct control over a massive crane that can place buildings and weapons in various spots in you city, with each requiring resources gained from battle. Placement of buildings, houses and more is important as it determines various elements.
Where you place a house for example could limit where needed weapons could be for example. But the town building element is rewarding, as when you finish combat missions, you get happiness levels that can increase. Through successful combat, you can make your people happy and get even more to flock to your town via air ship.
Combat itself is the games greatest strength and weakness. You have the power to completely rotate your city’s inner layers to different positions, which determine where your weapons face. This allows you to have a high level of control over combat; if you layer weapons on top of each other, they become even more powerful. This results in proper placement of fire arms and rotations being important to successfully completing missions.
You can also level up your supporting troops, which grant you special buffs during the mission. For example, through leveling up one of your more supporting characters, they will give you more hints during the building and combat portions of the game. It is a good system and feels rewarding. These systems in place can create a complex game but the low difficulty doesn’t help make combat challenging, resulting in gameplay never blossoming into anything more then mindless fun.
Visuals and overall presentation is quite mixed. The art direction and some stylistic choices work great, making it have a unique identity in many places. When the game has still images during story scenes, it shows a good deal of character and I enjoyed this a lot. But in-game visuals when building your city and in combat feel lacking. This is a cross-generational game across the PS3, PS Vita and PS4 (I reviewed the PS3 version) and sadly, it shows a bit. Many textures feel muddled and don’t look that great. So while the art is strong, the rest of the visual package could be better. At the very least though, the game ran well on the PS3 and had little to no load times.
Regarding lasting appeal, you will spend a long time with this title and fully completing every mission will take at least over 20-30 hours. If you really get into the game, you will have a lot to sink your teeth into.
My overall thoughts on this title is that if you enjoy RPG’s and want some mindless fun, you will enjoy this adventure. More so if you enjoy anime or anime-inspired stories. But through lack of challenge and lackluster presentation, the game suffers from never really fleshing out it’s core mechanics.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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