Blazing Souls Accelate Playtest: Masochistic Gamers Wanted

By Jenni . November 16, 2010 . 5:28pm

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Zelos is a mercenary. A really awesome mercenary who’s tough, strong and has an "I’m a badass" attitude. He normally works alone, but the guild assigned him a mission that was supposed to be quite difficult, even for someone of his caliber. Realizing the challenge, the man behind the desk automatically recruited some friends for him to join the fight. They go to the ruins and the battle isn’t all that difficult, but look over there! It’s a fallen woman. The party saves her and learns that she’s a magic-wielding amnesiac named Aria. The group the "convinces" Zelos to join them as they help Aria recover her memories and find her way home. But, things won’t be so simple. Human Genomes, creatures created to replace humanity, appear and clash with Zelos and his assigned friends’.

 

So, he and his band of "friends" go battling all the world, occasionally stopping long enough for players to experience little vignettes that show character interaction. Really, that’s all I can tell you without spoilers. Blazing Souls Accelate‘s main story doesn’t really kick in until at least six hours in. Maybe more. I lost track of time with all the level-grinding.

 

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If you love the nitty-gritty, customizing parts of strategic RPGs, then you’re probably going to grab your copy of Blazing Souls Accelate and disappear for a few weeks. People will ask where you are, someone will mention you got the game and a look of understanding will come over everyone nearby who’s heard of it. You customize characte stats when they level up. This allows you to directly influence how the group will grow. You also earn general stat points from battle, which can be used on characters that aren’t really leveling to strengthen them too. You can synthesize equipment to create better gear. You can alchemize items. You can collect accolades. You can even collect monsters to use in battles. Plus, if you certain actions lead to Aliases, which can determine what you can do while roaming around a battle area and influence interactions. There is a lot to do in Blazing Souls: Accelate. Keep a post-it on the wall to remind yourself to occasionally eat and drink while you’re playing.

 

Did I mention there are multiple endings? Well, there are. You’re probably going to need a guide to get the best ending though, since it involves a bit of work. No, scratch that, a lot of work. Actually, you’ll probably be searching for a guide anyway. There are a lot of skills you can create, aliases to acquire, and extra characters to recruit. All of these can be quite easy to miss. Not to mention events you can only see if you managed to fulfill certain conditions.

 

Level grinding in this game is mandatory. You’ll kind of need that to survive in Blazing Souls Accelate, because it doesn’t coddle you. Nope, you’re going to be facing a real challenge. I could even imagine inexperienced strategy RPG gamers losing a character in the second battle, which is also supposed to be a bit of a tutorial battle. Not that it happened to me. The first time I had a character die was on the third battle I fought. (Poor Adelle!)

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And, to further encourage spending at least 1/50th of your life playing, Blazing Souls Accelate has a New Game + option where you can keep almost everything you earned and acquired in the first play through. Levels don’t carry over, which means you’ll need to level-grind all over again. Some players may not mind because you’ll probably still be experimenting with attack and skill combinations.

 

All that content means that Blazing Souls Accelate is incredibly complicated. The game doesn’t hold your hand and tell you how to do every little thing. There’ll probably be two or three sentences, maybe four if you’re lucky, explaining what to do and you better pay attention. If you don’t, you’re screwed. Seriously. I sped past the whole "Search" explanation thing because I thought, "I’ve been playing RPGs for over 15 years! I know this stuff already!" I promptly squandered all my WP, couldn’t search anymore and didn’t find the next location. I had to restart the game because, silly me, I saved after doing that, not realizing I’d messed up royally.

 

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The same thing happened to me with "Charge" attacks in battle. The game told me to do it in a brief tutorial before the second battle and, of course, I just zipped past it without paying attention. After the another WP-wasting incident and restarting, I discovered how awesome the system is. You know in the Disgaea series, how you can chain together character’s attacks in one turn if you have them all gang up on one enemy? Blazing Souls Accelate has that too, only it’s trickier because you don’t get to move all of your characters at once. There’s a bar at the top of the screen that shows which characters are acting next. If an enemy gets between two charged up characters you were hoping to have attack another enemy with a third character, and one of them gets attacked, you lose your chain chance. If they don’t, then you can pull off even bigger and better massive attacks.

 

I hate that action bar. Even though Blazing Souls Accelate tries to act like a real-time strategic RPG, it isn’t. Characters’ and the enemies icons move from the right side of the bar to the left, and when the reach the left they can move. This normally takes around 10 to 20 seconds. I always thought I was a fairly patient person, but I found myself getting annoyed that there was delay between actions. It would have been much easier if there had just been character icons in a line and the next character or enemy in line would automatically move and/or attack once the corresponding icon appeared on the left. Yes, I realize how silly a complaint this is, but still. It bothered me and felt like a cheap way to make battles, which can already be long, even longer.

 

Blazing Souls Accelate also has a serious flaw with Searching, which also ties into that whole "dump players in the game and only tell them the absolute basics" thing. To have to search for new locations to fight in or advance the game, you need to search the map at the guild using three characters and WP. Okay. Except WP can be hard to earn and you have a set amount, which means you have to use those points wisely. As a player, you resolve to be careful. Unfortunately, you will run across situations where you won’t be allowed to search a certain area because your characters lack necessary stat levels. So you think fine, "I’ll go level up and come back to search." Except when you get back to the guild screen from the failed search attempt, you’ll see lost WP even though the game wouldn’t allow you to search. Not cool Blazing Souls Accelate. Not cool. Save before each search attempt!

 

I’m not going to lie to you, Blazing Souls Accelate is a sadistic game. There is a very good chance it will make you curse and throw your PSP to the ground in frustration. At the same time, there’s nothing more rewarding than unleashing a massive charge attack that completely obliterates an enemy or watching your lackluster characters turn into powerhouses.

 

Do you enjoy being thrown into an incredibly complex, difficult game with little or no guidance? Does spending an entire evening leveling grinding sound like an awesome way to spend a Saturday night? Do you like writing a novel filled with game notes or hunting for guides? If then answer to all those questions is yes, then Blazing Souls Accelate is the game for you.

 

Food for Thought

  • Unlike some earlier Idea Factory PSP games, Blazing Souls Accelate has minimal load times.
  • I recommend getting the UMD copy, just because it means you’ll get an instruction book. Which you should read, and maybe carry with you for your first few hours of play. Just in case.
  • You need to keep multiple save files, since there’s a good chance you’ll mess up or miss something.
  • It doesn’t tell you how to check weapon range, so expect friendly-fire incidents early on.
  • I have to give Aksys a compliment when it comes to voice acting, they did a very good job with casting. The only voice I didn’t care for was Adelle’s. Perhaps that contributed to her dying multiple times.

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  • Ereek

    The party saves her and learns that she’s a magic-wielding insomniac named Aria. The group the “convinces” Zelos to join them as they help Aria recover her memories and find her way home.

    I think you meant amnesiac? But still, an insomniac mage is somewhat of an amusing thought.

    Thanks for clarifying that it doesn’t have the previous PSP IF game loading issues. I don’t think I’ve seen any other review mention it and it was the one thing preventing me from getting the game.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Melinda

      Now that’d make an RPG to play – On a quest to find some sleep?

      • http://twitter.com/Ale598 Ale598

        Yeah, it’s called Catherine.

        • Darkrise

          Catherine’s not really an Rpg though. ,**, It’s more of an action adventure or survival horror.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      I meant amnesiac, yes. My bad. XD

      That would be an awesome idea though, wouldn’t it? I imagine a mage like that would be somewhat similar to Viki from the Suikoden series.

  • Ladius

    Thank you Jenni, this is probably one of the best english review for an Idea Factory tactical JRPG I have ever read.
    Lack of easy anti-IF bias, attention to small gameplay details and informations that actually prove that the reviewer played the game thoroughly- just what I expect from my Siliconera :)

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      Thanks Ladius. I’m glad you enjoyed it. :D

      I think the reason some people may reacted to Blazing Souls Accelate negatively is because there’s just so much there and you really have to take your time and give it a chance to really understand the game and appreciate it. It’s difficult and unforgiving, but once you’re about 5-7 hours in you really start to get into it.

      I never got the whole IF bias. Sure, there have been a few less than awesome games, but they’ve released good games too. (I loved Aedis Eclipse and Spectral Souls.)

      • http://twitter.com/colonelxanders Alex Sargeant

        Haha, you’re an awful lot more forgiving than me. I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with a few (Aedis Eclipse and remarkably Trinity Universe), but they do so love to repeat their previous mistakes. Did they retain that ‘foom’ explosion sound effect and ‘whoosh’ wind sound effect? I seem to have come across that in every other one of their games.

        I do have a pretty strong urge to play this though. For one, that main character is level 7 and yet his HP is 5000. This is a side of the numbers game I think I like.

        • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

          Yeah, leveling concepts are kinda weird. Your characters can be at a kind of low level, but still be a lot stronger than you’d expect. Course, it can take a long time and a lot of grinding to level them up. So it sort-of evens out.

          I sure I heard the whoosh, but I can’t remember if I heard the foom. I’ll check when I get home and let you know. I think I’ve even heard the same “foom” in one of their visual novels, so I wouldn’t be surprised! XD

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000301072427 Mark Shaver

    “Human Genomes, creatures created to replace humanity, appear and clash with Zidane and his assigned friends’.”

    Fixed.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/SplashdownTiger STiger

    I just might get this game so I can have something to rage at. I haven’t raged at a game in so long…

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      Trust me, there will be rage. When I realized what I did with the WP and searching when I first started playing, I think I just kind of gaped at my PSP in shock before letting loose a stream of expletives. I actually had to put the system down and walk away for a few minutes before playing again. I knew it was my fault, but still.

      Those kind of moments can come up in battles too. Or when you realize you made a silly mistake and messed up your chance to get the True Ending.

      It’s kind of fun to have a game that can make you rage though. It’s almost like it makes you want to play more just so you can show the game who’s boss.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/SplashdownTiger STiger

        “It’s kind of fun to have a game that can make you rage though. It’s almost like it makes you want to play more just so you can show the game who’s boss.”

        Exactly!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jay-Gokey/738494080 Jay Gokey

    “I hate that action bar. Even though Blazing Souls Accelate tries to act like a real-time strategic RPG, it isn’t. Characters’ and the enemies icons move from the right side of the bar to the left, and when the reach the left they can move. This normally takes around 10 to 20 seconds”
    This can all become instant by holding circle

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      This is what happens when you get a digital copy of a game where an instruction manual would be a godsend.

      Thank you!

  • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

    Wow I guess I will get this in December, seems like a pretty awesome game! Im up for the challenge, lol.

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    The only problem ive found in the game is how hard is to get WP, and it is so necessary T_T, battles just dont giive enough

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      I know exactly what you mean. I save before I do any searching so I don’t squander them.

  • http://www.aksysgames.com Belisarius

    Thanks for the write-up. :) I just wanted to let everybody know that if you DID buy the PSN download version, we’ve got a PDF of the manual on our website that you can download here: http://li.brari.us/bsamanual

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      Thanks so much! I love that comment on the last page with an address to send chocolates and love letters.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X4IEP7ZE35BORMWDEHTXEHK74E Samuel Elizar

    this game was made by the same as spectral souls? right?
    one thing i don’t like about spectral souls was it has multiple parties
    you can’t concentrate on a single one
    (they should made that the player can choose which army to play for each playthrough)
    Does this game has multiple party/army?

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      Nope. Just one big party of characters. So no jumping around. You can only take a certain number of party members into battle with you, but that’s common in all strategic RPGs.

  • JustaGenericUser

    “Search”? Oh no. Oh no, no, NO. Please, for the love of holy beings, please tell me they didn’t inherit that crappy-ass soul-searching feature from Cross Edge!

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      I never played Cross Edge so I don’t know if its the same thing.

      You see a map and have a certain number of points (WP). To search areas it can be 5, 7, 10WP (and so on). You choose 3 characters with good searching skills and send them off to look around an area for new locations and stuff. But mainly new locations.

      • JustaGenericUser

        Okay, posting under the CORRECT response this time.

        Yeah, I read further and it is similar to Cross Edge. In that game, you search for “Souls” on the world map using the square button. If you search at the right place, and your Search Level (raised by finding more and more Souls) is sufficient, a Soul will appear. Square Souls are items, diamond Souls are normal events, and round Souls are mandatory plot events (initially you had to search these particular Souls out, too, but later they just start appearing automatically anyways).This would be okay, except: A) You have to walk around the entire world map (there are multiple world maps, btw) and search randomly all over the place while dealing with a, B) sky high encounter rate, also the fact that, C) you can miss events if you progress too far in the story, some of which are crucial to getting True End, and some time windows are so ridiculous that particular ones are literally only available when you ENTER a dungeon but BEFORE clearing the dungeon, and D) you have to go back to older worlds to search for Souls you couldn’t find before because you weren’t at sufficient level; did I mention some of them also are needed for True End? So you have to search all over the place AGAIN.tl;dr It is completely, utterly ridiculous and if you don’t have a guide you will tear your hair out. Hell, even WITH a guide…

        Oh yeah, you can search unlimited times, you don’t need “WP” or anything like that. After reading what you said about Blazing Souls’ search feature and the WP requirement and the fact it’s possible to get permanently stuck, however, I think this is one game I shall avoid. Sorry to those who like this game.

        • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

          Oh wow… that sounds incredibly frustrating.

          Well, at least here, you don’t have enemy encounters to worry about while exploring the map.

          You can’t REALLY get permanently stuck, since you can visit a town shop to exchange points from battles for WP, but it’s so hard to earn said points from battles to convert that it was just easier for me to restart. (WildArms mentioned the same thing in an earlier comment.)

  • http://www.tbstactics.com mjemirzian

    Umm no. This game is just a pre-hash of Record of Agarest War, which is well known as a grindy, repetitive, numbers based mess. And ‘small gameplay details’? Oh lord. This write up just regurgitated the instruction manual.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      I like level-grinding… especially when my characters end up being superpowered beasts that can take on anything. Sometimes I get bored and I want to play and do something, but not get overly involved. Level-grinding for a few battles is perfect for that.

      And I think weapon/equipment boosting, item creation, alias collecting, monster raising and occasional party vignettes count as small gameplay details. It gets quite intricate and involved. (Since you could accidentally forget about them, and maybe could possibly get through a game without doing using one of those systems.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lindsay-Gurr/644469767 Lindsay Gurr

    Where do I sign? This sounds like a game for me, gotta love level grinding XD

  • http://twitter.com/Lordvaynard Vaynard

    I love Spectral Souls and now i’m playing Blazing Souls and i’m loving it. Grind, customization, cool character design and a good history in a game, fantastic! I would love play Spectral Souls with the Blazing Souls engine, but it’s just a dream :(

    Idea and Neverland, please a port of Spectral Souls on 3DS or PSP2!!!

  • Roses4Aria

    This game was a must-have for me if only because of Zelos. Did I mention I love Zelos? :P

  • masuto

    Nice! Gonna go get the game now.

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