As you might have guessed, Gungnir
plays out as a series of turn-based battles where youíll attempt to dominate enemy forces through superior strategy. The tactical approach is like playing chess, compared to the twitchier experience of playing a real-time strategy game. Whether youíre not inclined to do twitch-gaming, or just like the pacing of a turn-based game, Gungnir
delivers nicely on its premise. The story of feuding armies is decorated by a plot involving disenfranchised commoners engaged in revolution against an imperial army. This, combined with the fact that battles have been waged across generations by the time we join the fray, makes for some grand drama. Throw a mysterious girl into the midst and you really have the making of some intrigue. Okay, it does sound like the typical elements of any Japanese RPG, but Gungnir
manages to overcome what could be completely boilerplate by introducing some character choice and multiple endings.
Multiple endings add to replay value for what could otherwise have been a fun, but one-dimensional experience. Tactics games are largely defined by the quality of their battle mechanics and character development. The story does go through some twists and turns, including a major transformation of the main character early in the game. You have the chance after each battle to attract or hire recruits, to join your party and battle for you. The trade-off of leading a big army is that you need to outfit them and give them some attention during battle. The special attacks (called Beat and Boost) you use on enemies are only unlocked when surrounding friendly units are present, making it critical to balance your troops. Keeping them alive is a good idea... At the outset of each battle, you can choose one key character who can grant special bonuses to other units, and who you must keep alive. Little touches like this do help make Gungnir unique, but they canít break it out of the strategy mold that has been pretty well set by this point.