So I decided to try 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim for a few reasons: first is that it’s made by Atlus which is one of my favorite video game developers and second it has a real-time strategy robot fighting element. As some of you may know I love anything involving robots and strategy. Seemed like a win-win situation for my video game collection. The story itself is about 13 individuals that are experiencing unusual circumstances that really shake the foundation of what they know about their lives and the world around them. As they strive to figure out how their world came to be they also face the threat of enemy kaiju that threatens to destroy everything they know.
Their are two main sections that make up the gameplay of this game. The first is the visual novel story where you play as 13 individuals as each of them experience their own unique stories, challenges and revelations regarding the situation they are in. During this section what you do is gather clues and look for things to interact with that may trigger the next element of the story. It’s very much like a point and click adventure so the gameplay is very simple; however, the story is anything but. The story is so complex that I find it difficult to form the words needed to describe it without going into spoiler territory because it’s that complicated. As you progress with each character you find out a lot more about them as individuals and each one has a very detailed and complicated background. I didn’t like all of the 13 characters, but even then I found myself invested in the complexity of each story and striving to put the pieces together in a way that makes sense. This leads to the next part I like about the story. Just when you think you have any sort of idea what is going on a curveball hits and then you get a series of new facts which swayed my theories elsewhere only for those theories to be proven wrong with even more facts. It’s truly a game that requires an incredible attention to detail and focus to keep all this information and then piece it all together once you get to the end of it all. I really was expecting this to be a game I could play for a little while and then put down to do something else; however, I was so engrossed with the story that next thing I knew it was late at night before I put down the controller. The story is truly a masterpiece in the sci-fi mystery genre.
Now for the combat gameplay. The way this part of the game works is you have a team of up to six of the 13 characters in giant robots. You use a variety of weapons to destroy the kaiju as they go after the city and your characters. It’s kind of a real-time strategy game where everything moves simultaneously and you have to maneuver your characters on the map to do the most damage to the enemy. The goals are usually either to wipe out the enemy or last a certain amount of time. As for your units, you have four different types of sentinels with strengths and weaknesses. It’s best to have one of each type out at a time, but some maps will challenge you to use specific combinations for more rewards. I did enjoy this part quite a bit but there were so many missions and each one to me seemed to be the same as the others. While it was fun it did get a bit monotonous after awhile just due to the fact that after I got the hang of it I basically had a copy and paste strategy with each type of sentinel going into each map. So I would enjoy the combat for a few rounds then I’d be ok with taking a break for a little while. Although the last map severely raised the stakes and was grueling and intense which was entertaining in a way that stood on par with the game’s story. When I first played this game I thought this would be the element that would be the most entertaining; however, that was not the case. First of all the story was so amazing it easily outshined everything else. So when I had to play through some of these rounds of combat to get more of the story I honestly found them to be more of an obstacle than anything because I just wanted to get back to the story and figure out that next clue.
Overall the story is honestly one of the best I’ve ever played and truly a gem in the video game world. If you are a player that loves games for excellent storytelling then I highly recommend playing this game. It’s complicated and had me fooled multiple times before I was wowed by it’s miraculous ending. I can’t say enough good things about it. The combat gameplay is good but it’s easily the weakest part of this game. The rounds get a bit repetitive and since these have to be played to get to parts of the incredibly captivating story the combat sometimes got frustrating. It’s not that the combat was bad, I actually really enjoyed them, it was just far less attention grabbing than the story and that difference really made me less interested in the giant robots which really took me by surprise. To put it in perspective I found the story was impossible for me to resist while I was satisfied with putting the game down for a little while after a few rounds of combat. It’s a super fun game and a must get and while I do note that there is a difference in entertainment quality between the combat and the story and I do feel that difference is the one and only flaw of this game, that is by no means a flaw that lessons the overall entertainment quality this game has to offer. Do yourself a favor and pick this game up, you won’t be disappointed.