Zangeki no Reginleiv Review
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On 03/06/2010 at 01:10 PM by Nick DiMola
It's basically Earth Defense Force with swords.
Those who really enjoy the Earth Defense Force series should seriously look into importing this title. All others should first give the said series a shot and then decide if a new title in the same vein is worth paying an import tax for.
Sandlot probably isn't a familiar developer name to most gamers, but it's one that should be. The team is responsible for the campy Earth Defense Force series; a third person shooter focused on protecting the Earth during an alien invasion. Those who do know the series will immediately understand the team's latest endeavor, Zangeki no Reginleiv. The game, published by Nintendo in Japan, takes the guns out of players' hands and replaces them with swords, bows, magical staffs, and other medieval equipment. Though the weapons have changed, players will still fight hordes of enemies waves at a time, but rather than aliens, players fight ogres in an ancient, medieval land.
For the unacquainted, the concept of both Zangeki no Reginleiv and the Earth Defense Force series is similar. The game is broken out into levels, each of which feature a large number of enemies. These enemies are typically massive in size and dispensed in several waves. As the levels progress, players will be subjected to even bigger, and more powerful, enemies. As players defeat enemies, crystals and tokens are dispersed, which players must collect in order to improve both their characters' weapons and health.
After a few levels, the game has a branching level path; one that continues the male character's story and another that introduces a female leader who possesses a unique weapon set. The female lead is a ranged character, who has excellent bow and arrow skills and can use a magical staff by default. She has the ability to weild a sword, but this is used primarily to power-up both her bow and staff. The male lead is a melee weapon master, and players will be able to purchase more powerful weapons like hammers, spears, and better swords as crystals are earned during missions.
This simple formula provides for quite a bit of fun for a few different reasons. First and foremost, the game's mechanics are a blast to utilize. Though the game offers a variety of control schemes, players should by default use the Wii Remote + Wii MotionPlus + Nunchuk scheme. With this, players have free range control of the sword and can slash foes from any direction they please. Sandlot has even built in a combo system that makes the swordplay more visceral and redeeming. Handling a bow is also enjoyable while playing as the female lead. Similar to Wii Sports Resort, players will aim and pull back with the Wii Remote in order to fire off an arrow. With the male lead, the bow controls are similar, but the pullback is a bit too far, and offers little payoff after the arrow is fired.
The controls do fall a little short in their implementation due to the dash, sidestep, and backflipping controls. All are tied to a motion on the nunchuk: forward will dash, left and right sidestep, and back... well, you get the picture. Because the Nunchuk's motion sensor is nowhere near the quality of the Wii Remote + Wii MotionPlus, the game will at times misinterpret the direction players are gesturing. This can be quite frustrating during intense battles, and in rare cases actually result in death. This is easily the worst part of the game, and could have likely been handled with the D-Pad instead of the Nunchuk's gesture.
Because the controls work well the majority of the time, players might get a little hung up, but it is no more than a minor annoyance. Ripping through enemies and earning crystals and tokens to level up provides for an addictive combination that will keep players coming back. However, because there isn't a lot of variety to the formula, it's possible that some players will eventually grow bored of the game.
Further increasing players enjoyment of the game will be experiencing the game online. Though the menus prove a bit slow (undoubtedly due to connecting to the Japanese servers) the in-game action is smooth with no noticeable lag. One of the odder choices for the online mode is requiring players to establish a brand new quest specifically for online co-operative play. In this quest, players are treated to new levels and new challenges, but must earn all of the weapons over again that they may have already acquired in their single player quest. It's an odd design choice, but can be fun if players have a reliable friend to play online with.
The most important question to answer is if Zangeki no Reginleiv is an import-worthy title. For those who are fans of the Earth Defense Force series, and enjoy Wii motion controls, the answer is a resounding "yes". Others who are on the fence should undoubtedly try out one of Sandlot's other games first. After that, depending on your feelings with one of their other titles, you'll know whether or not you're willing to pay the import tax.