Vandal Hearts

Votes: 65
Reviews: 1

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Reviewer: Vandalay Date: Oct 8, 2014
Vandal Hearts is a little known tactics game, similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, but far simpler overall. Where FFT has a large system of classes and basically infinite supply of characters, Vandal Hearts has a predefined group of people with limited choice of class for each character. While Vandal Hearts certainly lacks some of the depth and complexity of other tactics games, it makes up for it by offering a solid gameplay experience and reasonably interesting story.

Graphics: 7
Graphics are typical for one of the earlier PSX games; characters are 2D sprites, and most action effects are relatively simple. Considering the gameplay style, the simple graphics don't really take away from the experience. I generally found the style of the sprites a bit more appealing than other tactics games; since there was a relatively smaller number of characters, I think they were able to put a little bit more effort into each. Each character's attack graphic, for example, is completely unique.

Sound: 9
Sounds in this game are pleasant; the music fits nicely with each battle and the attack sounds offer a lot of variety. The spell/attack sounds match the characters well, and the sound when an enemy is killed is quite satisfying.

Gameplay: 10
The gameplay is where this game really shines. As stated above, the simplified nature of the combat system means that the developers could do a good job balancing things and designing interesting battle arenas. The class system (strengths/weaknesses) works very well, and the limited character actions and inventories means that you can concentrate on the battle, rather than agonizing over every detail. In contrast to most tactics games, the player and enemy turns are separated (player moves all characters in one turn). This is an interesting twist, since the player can be very aggressive, but also must be careful not to overextend the party into enemy territory.

Overall: 10
Overall, this game is simply fun to play (the whole point of a video game). I enjoyed Final Fantasy Tactics, but the game took so much time to complete and there was frankly too much extraneous stuff (too many crappy characters, useless secrets, etc). In addition, I found the storyline messy and relatively uninteresting. Vandal Hearts is just a fun, relatively short game to play through. It's one of those games that I keep coming back to; often I will start playing casually, then it will draw me in and I'll go ahead and finish it.

As I said before, I found games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre to be overly complicated and loaded with too much fluff. Vandal Hearts feels like a tactics game distilled down to its basic elements, which makes it a fun, solid game to play.