aquaspirit39 here! How are you guys doing?
I understand that it has been a while since I write a proper full review, but unfortunately, as the title suggested, this too will not be a full review since it will only cover the Chaos Route. After all, it took me one whole week of ten to twelve hours of daily gaming just to achieve 100% Chaos Route and there is no way I am going to spend another one week just to get to the Law ending. Actually, it will most likely be less than that since I have cleared all the sidequests but with May and June 2013 エロゲ out, I think it is a good time to move on to other games.
Despite of my all blabbering at the previous paragraph, I just realize that I have failed to introduce the game that I am going to review, so let me do it now:
GEARS of DRAGOON ～迷宮のウロボロス～ is a dungeon-crawling turn-based RPG エロゲ made by a company called ninetail which I doubt many of you guys are familiar with. As a matter of fact, this is actually my first time playing their game. Although for those of you who know about VenusBlood series by dualtail, you may have heard of this company which is supposed to be the elder sister company of dualtail. While dualtail specializes on hardcore エロス, ninetail focuses more on normal エロゲ.
Let us get the review started then and I hope everyone will be able to enjoy their stay here, お手柔らかにお願いします。
Name: GEARS of DRAGOON ～迷宮のウロボロス～
Release date: 2013/01/25
Categories: RPG, Fantasy, Adventure
Our main protagonist, Ladius Kaaro is an adventurer who belong to a small group called サクシード (No idea how to romanize that). Originally, サクシード was a unit consisting of three people: Ladius, his elder brother Falco Kaaro and his younger sister Stella Kaaro. However, constantly moving with them are Fillia Ellips from アベスターグ(Avestag/Abestag), Elen Wet from ハーミット(Hermit) and Sheeta Rotaria(unaffiliated). Together, they form a ‘family’ which is known by others as the カーロ一家(Karo Family).
Just like any real family, カーロ一家(Karo Family) was not without problems. The youngest of the family member, Stella Kaaro, suffers from a rare disease which requires a large sum of money to cure. To earn this money, they have no choice but to sail to a newly emerged island called Elysion, which is still mostly unexplored and home to many monsters. They are hoping to able to find many exploring and monster hunting jobs that can help them earn this money.
My initial intention was to write the character section as usual, that is until I realize that I will need to write sixteen character descriptions. Yes, this game has altogether sixteen playable characters: six characters playable in Law Route, six characters playable in Chaos Route and and four in both Routes. Moreover, except for Sheeta who is the best girl in this game, the rest of the characters are average at best and I decide not to waste my time writing about them.
This aspect will probably be the main deciding factor for those of you who are still unsure about trying this game. If you are fond of or in the mood of doing some old school dungeon crawling RPG, then this game is definitely for you. What if I do not want to be bothered by the RPG attribute of the game you may ask? Do not worry I say, there is an instant win button if you choose to play in easy mode, although you still to do the exploring yourselves.
As can be seen from the screenshot above, you only get to use six characters in a party and in parts of the story, depending on the quest you are doing, you may be forced to use certain characters. Luckily, when you accept a quest, all characters will automatically level up to match our main character’s level, so there is no worry about unused characters being under level.
Gears of Dragoon uses a common skill tree system which I believe most of you guys must be familiar with. You earn one skill-point every level and by allocating a certain amount of point on a skill, you will be able to unlock the next skill. These points can be reseted easily when you are not in the dungeon which make it much easier for you to play around until you got a configuration that you like.
Enchanting and Slotting
Other than statuses bonuses and passive skills, equipments also come with three other important attributes: number of slots (filled or empty), enchantment status (+12 in screenshot above) and power-up points (強化). I probably do not need to explain about slotting weapon and enchanting since they are very intuitive, power-up points on other hand has a small twist to it.
Power-up points can be used to increase both the number of slots and enchantment level of an equipment. It take one point to level up the enchantment by one and two point to increase number of slots by one. A player has to make a careful decision whether to further enhance the weapon or add another slot for a magic stone.
This screen contains a lot of important information and can be a little overwhelming to those who are not well versed in Japanese. When that happen, you can always refer to Gears of Dragoon wikia which albeit incomplete have most of the basic information that can get you through the game.
If Eushully is about coming out with new innovative gameplay(in エロゲ) like card games in Soukoku no Arterial and real-time battle in Madou Koukaku, Ninetail’s Gears of Dragoon is more about recycling old and successful systems. Turn-based battle, skill tree, slotting and enchanting are systems which have been used by many earlier games, however using old gameplay does not make this game less interesting, these systems are afterall successful not without reason.
In the beginning, I might say that my review will only cover the Chaos route, but you can actually take my review as a review for the whole game. The reason being that what made up this game is the gameplay and not the story, in fact it safe to say the story are there for the sake of the gameplay. Even on Chaos route which probably have more twists than Law route, events are still pretty predictable, so I can imagine that Law route must be very straightforward.
In all, if you are playing for the RPG, I can say that you will not be disappointed, but if it is good stories that you are looking at, I suggest you go look somewhere else.