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Grand Kingdom: Lead Your Own Mercenary Troops!

Company: NIS America


The Story:

Grand Kingdom is a new tactical RPG coming soon for the PS4. Traditionally, a lot of RPGs are solely one player, but Grand Kingdom provides the ability to play online in a war. You start out Grand Kingdom at the end of a battle, a battle that you are winning. Unfortunately, the guys who paid you to fight have decided to give up, which means that even though you are the victor, you wonít make a penny. Luckily, the guys you just beat up invite you to join their mercenary guild, since you are such an amazing fighter and Godfrey is the guild leader. While that might sound a bit odd, thatís how the world works now. The Uldein Empire fell 100 years ago. Since then, no one has taken control, so the land is pretty much ruled by mercenaries rather than knights. They will fight for whoever will pay them enough to feed themselves.

Once you get through the tutorial, youíll be at the guild hall. Godfrey assigns his daughter, Lillia, to be your assistant. In the guild, you can hire new units to aid in your battles, provided you have money, of course. When you hire someone, you really own them. You can change their name, skin color, clothing color, hair, even their head, face, and voice! You'll also get some points to distribute to their various abilities. Donít ask me what happened to the characters you joined the guild with, maybe you're just hiring them officially now, but you'll have to hire four more fighters to make up a troop. There are only the four classes available that you play with in the tutorial for this beta, but you will get to see what four more of the classes look like. There will be 17 total classes in the full release. After you get your troops ready, you can officially go fight.



Fighting:

You are given quests and each one has an objective and a time limit. You have to meet the objective before your time runs out or you fail. There is only one quest for the Beta. When you take on a quest, you have a little chess piece that moves around the board. While on this map, you can do things like check the health of your troops, heal your troops, check quest info, use field skills, and more. There will be treasure chests on your route, so make sure to open them (press (X)) when you see them! Youíll also find other things, some good (like field medics) and some bad (like traps). Itís a pretty interesting terrain.

You will also see enemies on your route. Normal enemies are purple, strong enemies are red, and hidden enemies are a dust cloud that isnít always shown. You can force hidden enemies to be seen by using a Talisman Mirror. If you want to avoid an enemy, like a red one that you just canít take on, you can possibly use a field skill. You definitely want to check out all your field skills. They will take TP to use and you earn TP from battles. If you touch enemies, you will be in a battle.

Grand Kingdom has a turn-based battle system. You have a "timeline" at the bottom of the screen, so you can see when each fighter on the screen will be allowed to perform their action. Even after you beat the enemies, you might find yourself in a successive battle, which means that you will have to take on another set of enemies.

You can also contract your services to one of the four kingdoms and go to war. When you choose to take on a contract, you can choose how many battles you want to contract for and to which kingdom you will fight for. After that, you will dispatch your troops to the field and fight!



How to Play:

In battle, you have three horizontal lines that you will fight on. You want to take out the leader first, as they are the strongest and smartest. The D-pad or Left Stick moves you around. (Square), (Triangle), and (O) are attack buttons, depending on the type of unit. You will need to correctly time ranged attacks by pressing (O) again. Be warned, friendly fire will hurt you, so be careful where your ranged and especially magic attacks are going to hit. Your healing will also heal the enemies if you arenít careful. Some units will Autoguard at the end of their turns, which is really nice. You can only move a certain amount each turn. There is a gauge at the bottom which will show you how much. But, if you donít like where you ended up, you can press the Touch Pad and redo your movements. I really like this feature of Grand Kingdom.

In base or on the field, (Triangle) opens the Party Menu. Here you can configure anything you need to about your party. You will change their equipment, set their skill, and fix up their battlefield formation however suits you best. For equipment, each of your party members can be equipped with a main weapon and two accessories. The equipment has slot on it, which can be filled with Pyroxene, an item you can find in treasure chests.



Taking Care of Your Troops:

Fighters, Hunters, Witches, and Medics are the classes that you will be able to use in this beta version. Fighters are your front-line characters and they battle up close and personal with the enemies. You can press their attack button multiple times to make them attack more than once per turn. Hunters much prefer to stay back as they are a ranged character. You will need to time a ranged character's attacks so that they land when you want them to. This means that you will press the button once to fire and then once right when you want it to hit. Witches fight with magic, so this means that they prefer to stay back a bit as well, but they will have to be close enough to hit the enemy with their spell. Spells will take a bit of time to cast, so make sure you know what you want to use and when to use it. If you time it right, you will be able to get your troops out of the way before the spell is cast. Medics are specialists and they will use skills to heal you.

There are two different types of money in this world, Gold and Royals. Gold is for use at the shops, while Royals can be used in the capitals. There are four capitals: Fiel, Magion, Landerth, and Valkyr. At the capitals, you can get a lot of useful information and items. You can talk to the people to find out what's going on and talk to the leader about mercenaries. The people that are there will change every time you go, so stop in often. You can go to the markets to buy or make stuff. I definitely recommend you check out the blacksmith for your weapons. You can make weapons, upgrade your current ones, or even fuse together equipment to make a much stronger piece. There are two different shops, the Trading Post, and the National Shop. You can only use the National Shop if you have a contract with the ruling monarch. The Trading Post can be used by anyone. You go to the Barracks for armaments. Once again, you are only welcome there if you have a contract with the kingdom.

So far, I like like what I have played of Grand Kingdom. I want to play more quests soon. I'm not a huge fan of online play (I think I am one of the rare gamers like that), but even still, I enjoyed the online war portion of Grand Kingdom. If you're looking for an RPG that requires tactics and that you can play online, check out Grand Kingdom.



-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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