Legend of Heroes is a pretty complex series, and this newest entry proves this more than ever! After all, with so many things to love and hate in a single title, it only comes to show how deep the franchise is!
Previously, on The Legend of Heroes:
The very first thing my homeroom teacher does is to open a trap door, sending me to a cave full of monsters. I was not too happy with that…There’s a blonde bitch in the same class who bitch-slaps the protagonist after he saved her life. This also didn’t made me happy…All members of the main class are as generic as they can get, which is sad!Every chapter starts with you walking around the school helping in trivial problems, which is boring.You can also watch some visual-novel events with your party members, but those are poorly written. Hence, boring! After that, you need to explore a dungeon that recycles the same assets and layouts over and over again for every chapter, and that’s also boring!Later, you fight against a practice robot-thing…boring!In every chapter, you go on a mission school trip to visit other cities, which is fun! And then, you need to help solving trivial problems again, which is boring!On the way there, you play “Blade” with your allies, which is a type of trump card game. Guess what? Boring!During the trip, you get to know a little more about your classmates, but since they are just one-dimensional stereotypes, you already knew everything there was to know about them, so: Boring!Eventually, something interesting happens at the end of the chapter, which is great! That is if you’re not sleeping after all that boringness.Further in the game, there’s a school festival. I have never seen something like this before! Hahaha!…Boring!Hey! This Crow dude is cool! Finally! A charismatic character!HOLY SHIT! GIANT ROBOTS!CROW IS A TRAITOR!! He killed Osborne and now he wants to destroy or peaceful school days! I LOVE YOU, CROW!!!The main cast is utterly defeated by Crow who is piloting his own Mecha and the protagonist has to run away from the battlefield like a bitch!! Did I already say how much I love this Crow guy?!The End….WHAT?!The first chapter in the “Sen no Kiseki” story-line was released last year on the Vita and PS3 and, as anyone can see, 90% of the game was godly awful! You could presume this could have been an attempt to emulate the huge success of the Persona series. Regardless, it was clear that the writers under Falcom didn’t know how to work with that theme.But, that’s ok! In the end, since it is part of a successful series of games, it sold fairly well. And there’s a saying about how “All’s Well That Ends Well”. So, if the cliffhanger is so promising, this means the sequel has to be better! But to ensure things would work out in the next game, the fan-base gave a lot of feedback. Thankfully, Nihon Falcom cares a lot about their fans’ opinions. Therefore, they took all those complains into account to fix many…MANY things in the sequel:
Some stuff that was fixed thanks to fan feedback:
The Story doesn’t take place at the school anymore. Instead, you will guide the heroes through many dangerous battles, as they get involved in an intriguing conflict.Not too far into the game, you get the ability to freely re-explore places from the previous title and visiting completely new places with your own airship!There’s less focus on the main allies from the previous game, since most of them were not very popular. In their place, popular NPCs from the previous game and many new characters get to join you!You are not forced to use a specific team anymore. With the exception of one or two characters during some chapters, you can freely choose your party members. Which lets you exclude your less favorite heroes from some main events.Rean actually gets to be less of a pussy in this one!Graphics were improved a bit. Animations are a lot better! Some clumsy sequences were fixed or deleted. There’re also new animations replacing recycled ones. Most cut-scenes use interactions with 3D models, as opposed to the previous game, where usually only a message would be displayed saying: “Character A does something to Character B”.The stories that go with each side-quests are way more interesting than before.This time, every party member use different clothes, which makes their visual much more unique and interesting than the first Sen no Kiseki.You’re not forced to go through a pallet-swap dungeon on each chapter, anymore. There’s an equivalent to this, but it’s optional and it’s only for a few chapters.
Some stuff that is still broken:
There’s still a lot of half-assed work in the graphics. Like the mouth animations, which didn’t cease from being just a poor texture animation.There’s less focus on the main allies from the previous game. So what if they were not popular? It doesn’t change the fact that they are the main cast of your game! If you were not able to make them likable, the shame is on you, Nihon Falcom!
After the 1st chapter, the main heroes decide to not side with anyone at the current war, and they use all their resources and allies to become a 3rd power to fight between the two forces in order to protect the interests of both parties, and put a stop to senseless bloodshed.This concept has lots of potential, since war alone is already such a complex theme. You can write a very interesting story about it. However, this game tries to take it even further by adding this idea that the students from class VII are this “neutral force” composed with both commoners and nobles who see each other like family. Unfortunately, they fail to deliver this. Because of the weak character development in the 1st game, it’s hard to believe some of the characters would betray their families and pride just to help the protagonist.War isn’t portrayed in a realistic way here, because we can clearly see that nobles are the “evil side”, since they attack innocent people and use family member as hostages. Furthermore, the heroes are not really neutral, since they only join forces with the military, police and commoners, because they are the good guys who are only defending themselves. But, since they are “neutrals”, Rean keeps denying to be allies with the commoner-side, even though he defeats many generals and take over their bases.At some point, this plot feels like a story of the “seinen” genre, which would give a more mature look at a big conflict and its consequences, but what we got instead was a simplified idea of war, which focus more in the “shounen” aspect of the plot, with lots of battles in the name of justice, love and friendship.Although it gets weak at some areas at times, the main plot is actually quite good! There are many moments with interesting revelations and twists that ties this chapter with older titles (like Ao no Kiseki) or that makes building-up for future entries in the series.Sen no Kiseki can be considered as the weakest arc in the series, but you can still see the high quality in the writing which made this franchise so famous. However, there’s a point where everything crumbles! The final chapter ends with the perfect cliffhanger, it would’ve been the ideal moment to finish the game, but just like the film “A.I.”, it doesn’t finish there. Following a sequence of awful developments, the winter vacation ends and it’s back to the damn school again!AAAAAAH! SO BORING! You need to watch class VII studying for exams and helping with trivial stuff ALL OVER AGAIN! And when you think it’s over, there’s a very awkwardly placed final dungeon that has no reason to exist other than to give you an excuse to use all those guest characters once more. This final part is so convenient and sudden to the point it feels like something out of a fanfic!
If you’re not a big fan of the previous main cast, chances are you’re not going to enjoy this game that much. It could even be frustrating, since one of the main characters only gets development during a short battle that comes before a main event, while some characters don’t get development AT ALL!!During the journey, you get new support in the form of Tovar Randonneur – a seasoned Bracer, Elise Schwarzer – the little sister, Alfim Reise Arnor – the little princess.Angelica Rogner – the cool and beautiful senior student, Towa Herschel – The fake-loli president of the student council. Claire Rieveldt – a member of the military, and Sharon Kluger – the assassin maid.All characters who already had been briefly introduced in the first game. At first you get to play as them only for some chapters, but they all come back as fully playable and customizable characters in the final dungeon. Nevertheless, even though they are not playable for the whole adventure, those are the characters who usually have more development and who have more involvement in the main plot.
Nothing was changed from the previous battle system, which is great, since I love this system! There’s a new feature known as Over-rise, which is basically a toned down version of the Burst system from Ao no Kiseki. By activating Over-rise, only two characters get a few extra turns, but at least you can use it in any battle, as opposed to the Burst.This games has a bigger focus on side-quests and exploring. You get in control of a huge battleship and there’s a lot to do that is not listed in your list of side-quest. One of the best new features is that you can also recruit students from the same school as the heroes to have them work in the battleship with you.This is very similar to how you recruit the 108 stars of destiny in Suikoden. This new game flow is perfect for fans of traditional-RPGs, but if you love DateSims, you would probably like the first game a lot more, specially because the Galge elements are not as influent and constant as the previous title.
As mentioned before, the overall visuals received a bit of upgrade in some areas, but it still uses most of the same assets from the 1st game. The new assets created for this game are really good. Costume designs, enemies, dungeons layouts, all those are excellent, but we also got giant robots battling each other, and it’s glorious! The designs and animations are really sharp and even better than the ones for human characters, with an impressive level of details in those giant metal monstrosities, which makes every battle with Valimar really epic, specially for those who love Super-Sentai stuff.There are many new attacks. The bad news is: Most the animations for those attacks are as ridiculous or dull as in the previous game, the good news is: There are some excepts!
The music is still fantastic! Not quite as good as Ao no Kiseki, but it’s still pretty awesome! I like how they brought back some old tracks from Zero no Kiseki during the side-story in Crossbell, but it’s a shame they didn’t use the arranged versions from the “Evolution” remake.
Nakata George, Sugita Tomokazu, Sakurai Takahiro and many others talented voice actors working in this game. It would be perfect if those awesome voices could be heard more often in this game, but sadly, the budget for this game didn’t make possible for Nihon Falcom to make this fully voiced. There’s also many characters who are simply not voiced, and there are some events where only one or two characters have voice-over, usually it’s Rean who loses his voice, since he is the one who appears the most in the game, which means they would need to pay much more just for his seiyuu, and they don’t got the money for it.
The game finally ends with the cheesiest scene in all the series! It’s so silly that made me embarrassed! This leaves the game with 90% of a good story and 10% of the worst shit ever. Which means Sen no Kiseki 2 is the complete opposite of its predecessor. Which one is better? I can’t really answer that for everyone, but I definitely had much more fun with this one. And since there are still many more games to come, there’s still hope for a better future in the series. Maybe we will get Ao no Kiseki II someday…