Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos is one of those games that defies the genre it’s pigeonholed in. On the surface it looks like any old strategy RPG where you move troops on a grid based field maybe like Disgaea or Spectral Souls (also made by Idea Factory). The system is entirely different from other SRPGs where the focus is about controlling your troops and selecting which attack to use from a menu. Instead Aedis Eclipse is about manipulating the terrain and altering it to boost your units.
In the first set of “easy” levels where you command a squad of kids and robots the terrain system isn’t critical to winning battles. You’re eased into it as Quinn, a young military student, is taught the ropes of battle. Sure you can run in head first with your units and just go head to head against another general. However, that’s not the best course of action and in later scenarios that strategy is going to get you killed fast. The field map in Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos is different than a battlefield where troops just fight. There is open land to capture and waypoints to control. If you grab a space of open land you can spend gold to build a recruiter to restock your troops or create a strategic windmill that restricts movement. If you see open land right by a choke point, grab it and build a structure that makes a fight favorable for your side like Holy Land that prevents instant death attacks. Something else you need to keep track of is the element of your enemy. If you terraform the land underneath them to an element they are weak against you will have the upper hand in combat. There are some other quirks to field maps in Aedis Eclipse, sometimes you can only move on the map in one direction and some squares only let a captain of a certain element pass through. In the first series of maps in the Quinn/Greckland story line you are going to feel very restricted. Since the maps are narrow and most of the time undeveloped. Later on in the Atrapollus/Galadia scenario the maps are specifically built to put you at a huge disadvantage. You control the Prince of Hell who has the “dark” element and all of the tiles that you walk on are terraformed with the “holy” element.
Something else unusual about the system is each general you have doesn’t get to take their turn. You are given a certain number of turns (usually around five) for your entire party. Since the total number of turns is limited you might not want to have a huge army of ten captains. It’s better to assign each captain another captain as a partner so you can have one super unit instead of an extra unit that can’t move. The actual fighting sequences in Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos are as the title implies chaotic. Before a skirmish begins you can select a formation like aggressive if you want to rush in for a kill or center if you want your captain to lead the group to victory. After your formation is set you have little control of what your units do. You can only command them to hold position, charge or retreat (never do this!). They attack on their own, but the troops aren’t “intelligent” enough to pick a unit with the lowest HP or rush the enemy captain. Instead all they do is attack what is right in front of them. There are a handful of troop types that you can mix up that keeps Aedis Eclipse interesting. If you’re the defensive type you can have a group of cat-like clerics heal you and have skeleton warriors do all of the damage. One of my favorite strategies to use is to only have magicians hold position all the way in the back. They can shoot fireballs while the enemy is approaching and this tactic lets you wipe out some of the enemy’s troops before they even reach you. While you can’t control your mindless units you can tell your captain to do special attacks at the cost of SP. Each captain can hold up to six special skills that you can purchase from a shop.
Combat between captains is fairly short and very passive, which feels a little unrewarding considering how long battles are in Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos take. Expect to spend 20-30 minutes per fight and in some of that time you’re just watching enemies make their moves. On the plus side there is a save function so you can put Aedis Eclipse down at anytime. Since battles are pretty much the entire game, there is a significant amount of time you have to invest in Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos before you’re actually getting into the story.
There are three different tales to play in Aedis Eclipse, each with its own hero and their own cast of supporting characters. We mentioned the lower world story where Quinn, his best friend Gon and their spoiled classmate Keri use Cyber Suits to defend their land. The surface world Aedis, has a fantasy setting where Duo acts sort of like Robin Hood. Aedis does not have robots or Cyber Suits, instead there are dragons and magic. All the way on top is Galadia where there is a war between the angels and devils. You command Atrapollus, the Prince of Hell, on quest to eliminate the angels. The twist is Atrapollus was formally in love with Rose, the angel who leads Heaven’s forces. The stories aren’t exactly innovative and the Aedis one is borderline cliché. Out of all of them Galadia’s is the most interesting, but you probably have to start out with Quinn’s or Duo’s stories to understand the system enough so you can survive in the Divine World.
I think the kind of person who will like Aedis Eclipse the most is someone who plays Catan, Culdcept Saga or maybe even Risk. The reason why is Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos isn’t action packed with flashy special effects like most SRPGs. While it is neat to watch your army do death charges, Aedis Eclipse is really a passive game that plays more like a board game with occasional combat sequences.