Next month NIS America is releasing Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos another Idea Factory SRPG for the PSP. If you played Generation of Chaos forget all about it and the overly convoluted game map. Aedis Eclipse is a lot easier to understand and the load times have been optimized unlike Spectral Souls. Aedis Eclipse is split into three scenarios each with a different difficulty level. All the way on top is the Divine World where a war between Heaven and Hell rages. The surface world is a fantasy realm where a kingdom burns to the ground after it is betrayed by their allies. On the bottom lower world technology reigns and a group of military students use robots in battle. Since the lower world has the tutorial and it’s the easiest out of three let’s begin with it.
The story begins with Quinn a young Samurai and Gon sitting in class when an army of unknown mechs called Cyber Suits are spotted. Instead of evacuating with the rest of their class the two mischievous kids start searching for the Cyber Suits. Keri (whose class is “Rich Girl”) follows them and their first battle begins. Like Generation of Chaos, Aedis Eclipse takes place on a game board instead of open territory. Enemies are on the screen and if you want to get into a fight you just have to walk on the game board to initiate combat. You don’t actually control your units in battle. That is where the “chaos” comes in. Instead your units run and attack on their own sort of like Dragon Force, except you only have a platoon of ten fighters plus a general. Before they rush into battle you can pick a formation like the defensive central formation that has your units surround the general or the aggressive formation that has your general lead a fight and boosts attack 50% at the cost of decreasing defense 60%. The formations don’t last very long, once your troops engage enemies they focus on slashing or shooting little pellets. The only real control you have over your forces are to command them to charge or run back. Your general is a different story you can have him or her use a skill that breaks the action and hits a large number of enemy units at once. Quinn’s skill Kogetsu has him perform a set of slashes in a small area (perfect for killing another general) and Keri summons her servant Morion to come crashing on the battlefield and stay to help her during the fight. There is another interesting way you can win battles besides fighting. If you can get all of your troops to run from one side to the other, you automatically win the fight by breaking through the enemy defenses.
Combat isn’t exactly interactive or as thoughtful as other strategy RPGs. Instead most of the thinking and moves takes place on the game board. First you have to defend your base at all costs. If it gets taken over you automatically lose the battle, so it is wise to leave a general behind to protect it. If you want to get more “strategic” you can terraform land your enemy is standing on. Each square has a different element and if you terraform the square underneath them to an opposing element you can have an advantage during combat. Also on the map are buildings to capture. Recruiters refill your general’s troops, Hospitals heal 50% of your HP and Holy Land prevents instant death skills. To make things more complex there are alternate routes to take like riding the train as shortcuts.
In many of ways Aedis Eclipse is more of a board game in the early levels, but the limited paths are there to teach people how to use the system, when to have a partner in combat and so forth. I’m actually glad that a tutorial level was included because it lowers what could have been a steep learning curve. Later on levels are slightly more open ended where you have more room to explore in the Divine World, but it isn’t as open as other S-RPGs. Aedis Eclipse is something else in the wide world of strategy RPGs and it has quite a bit more to explore.