Peace and harmony rarely go hand in hand. The fine balance is often ruined because of power, money, or greed. War between nations is commonplace and fragile, peaceful bonds are easily broken. Empire of Angels IV uses this idea at its core while adding its fantasy flare to the mix.
Developed by Softstar and published by Eastasiasoft Limited, this is a turn-based strategy JRPG. It is the fourth instalment in this fantasy series and has finally made its way to console. The latest addition to the franchise ignites the lore and mechanics from the series. If you’ve never experienced an Empire of Angels game before, fear not, as this standalone sequel requires no prior knowledge.
Empire of Angels IV is a classic turn-based game with a sexy manga twist.
Everything about Empire of Angels IV screams old-school turn-based game. The dated but wonderful 3D in-game graphics, the shrill sound effects, text font, and the core plotline, all have a retro feel. I haven’t played a JRPG turn-based title for a long time, so this was a fantastic trip down memory lane for me. If you’re a fan of the genre, you will instantly fall for its charms.
The story was as absurd as I both hoped for and expected. It jumps to a level of madness because of the strange costumes and scantily clad maidens that are thrust in your face throughout. I normally find this over-sexualisation tiresome, but in the weirdness of this fantasy land, it worked. It added a sexy layer to the game while also highlighting the vulnerabilities of each character.
The story is set in the kingdom of Asgard where you join the Namtar Investigation Team. They patrol the lands, maintaining order against the plague that drives ordinary people to mindless violence. You witness a glowing orb falling from the sky and this act casts a shadow over everything you know and love about your world. You begin a quest that spans the kingdom intending to uncover the truth.
So many battles, quests, and female warriors!
Empire of Angels IV and “girl power” go hand-in-hand. This all-female cast is filled with powerful warriors, knights, wizards, healers, and archers. They all have issues and they join the fellowship. With a distinct lack of male company in the kingdom of Asgard, you wonder what on earth is happening. But then you spot the half-dressed ladies and forget your concerns.
The storyline follows a path across the vast green lands. You visit an array of biomes, encountering beasts and angry women en route. Every stage funnels the story to a specific point that loosely links the action to the plot. I loved how vague it was and how newly met characters progressed the tale.
As well as the core plot, you’ll have zones to grind up levels and areas to collect new pets, more on them later. The grinding areas were exactly what I expected from this genre and followed the same pattern as the main encounters. Your team moves, attacks, or heals before the enemies turn. This format continues until you or they are victorious. You are given objectives to work towards and achieving them will give you better rewards and a higher rank per fight.
Levelling up, teamwork, and pets.
Levelling up your team is a key concept of any RPG but in Empire of Angels IV, it’s essential. As you move through the story, your opponents gain ungodly powers. You’ll need to grind out battles to max out your chosen teams potential. With many fighters to choose from, it’s difficult to find the right mix. Using the side quests or grind battles can be tiresome, but they are a great way to experiment with your tactics. No matter how high your character levels are, you will need to earn Merits from the main story fights. You are awarded them each time you are successful and they allow you to alter the role of each character.
Do you want a fast-moving horse rider or a defensive tank? A healer or a mage? A rogue or a fighter? You must decide what style works as your decision is final. Each upgraded character brings new skills and these can turn the tide of any war. Teamwork is essential and leaving yourself isolated is certain death. You must observe your enemies, attack their weaknesses and work together.
As you progress, you’ll be given the power of summoning. This allows you to use pets as part of your line-up. Each creature has special powers and abilities and you’ll find one that compliments your play style. New pets are acquired by completing side quests in previously visited areas. Finding all of them is a bit of a grind, but the effort is worth it for the additional firepower.
A modern take on an old-school game.
The series has been around since the early 90s and much of the look is faithful to the first title. The developers have done well to maintain this original look while still maintaining a modern finish. The dialogue cutscenes are wonderfully detailed with vivid colours, eye-opening images, and a classic Anime style. What I found to be unnecessary was the breaking of your enemy’s armour. Whenever they died, their armour would break, leaving them exposed in their underwear. It was a tad pervy and voyeuristic and added little to the gameplay.
The audio matched the graphical approach. With loud sound effects, high tempo music, and Mandarin acting, this was faithful to the original games. The English subtitles were well translated, but they weren’t perfect. Unfortunately, it was wooden in places and there were some comical errors. However, it’s hard to dislike what was presented. The music is touching, full of emotion, and works well with the theme. The sound effects varied and brought every character to life. It tastefully pulls the franchise to 2021 while still highlighting its 90s roots.
Lots to learn, but it’s easy to play.
I worried that I’d struggle with this. I’m rusty with the genre and I feared it would be complicated to play. Now, there are lots of elements to master, but each was easy to grasp. Well laid out submenus kept it from becoming confusing and a thorough and clear tutorial explains the basics. You have a lot to learn and plenty of approaches to take, so mastering this will be a challenge.
With many characters to select, pets to summon, and roles to choose from, Empire of Angels IV will keep you busy for hours. A long main story is supported by secret missions, side quests and grind battles. There is plenty to do and a challenging achievement list makes completion a tough ask.
Empire of Angels IV is a welcome addition to the console market.
There is much to love about Empire of Angels IV. Its crazy story will have you hooked and you’ll love the characters for more than their skimpy outfits and shapely physiques. It’s a clever tactics game that balances difficulty with fun. I enjoyed the modern take on the old-school concept and recommend you to buy it here! Gather your fellowship of females, hone your skills, and solve the mystery behind the plague. Without you, peace will be a distant memory.