Its been awhile since I’ve done one of these, eh? I believe Kanon was the last one.
Anyway, this has been consuming ludicrous amounts of my spare time over the past few days, since a full-english translation was released on the 10th of October for it thanks to the efforts of the hardworking guys of Yandere Translations (and TakaJun, who seems to be everywhere!).
This is actually the SEVENTH game in the long running Rance series by AliceSoft (hence, Sengoku). As far as I’m aware, previous Rance games were dungeon crawlers with Visual Novel Elements. This one, however, is a tactical strategy game with Visual Novel Elements:
(This is showing the Items and Inventory screen, by the way)
Rance himself is…well… I guess, in a way, he’s like the fantasy version of James Bond. ‘Sex Freak’ doesn’t even begin to describe him. He unashamedly asks random women his just met to sleep with him and even seems to draw power from the act. He’s beyond arrogant and isn’t above forceful, dirty tactics to get what he wants. And yet…for all his arrogance and being a total dick, he’s a surprisingly likable character. His ‘Strongest man in the world’ claim isn’t just self appointed either; he really is one of the best warriors in the world, and is the bearer of one of the few legendary sentient demonslaying blades, Chaos. And underneath the lust is actually a strangely decent guy. Although:
Expect to see this alot. Gahahahaha. Rance has the ability to strip out of his Half-Plate in about 7 seconds when he thinks he might be able to get some. Which is impressive, I’ll give him that…
In short, the opening story is: After his adventures in Zeth, Rance decides to come and visit JAPAN (yes, in capitials) with his slave, Sill, in order to visit the hotsprings and of course, have sex with as many girls as possible. Rumours of the beauty of the princess Oda Kou lead him to the territory of Oda, where he meets a seriously chill version of Oda Nobunaga, whom apparently finds running a dango store to be more enjoyable than actually running his country.
Apparently (for no real reason) the two get along, and Nobunaga decides to appoint Rance as the new Shadow Ruler of Oda. Rance accepts, feeling this is a great oppertunity to test his strength (and of course, after conquering countries, its also a good oppertunity to exhert his right as the victor and test his bedroom skills…) Since Nobunaga is a pretty dozy guy, theres about to be a rebellion, and your first battle of the game is leading the remaining loyalists against the rebels (whom are actually an atrocious force, but I suppose this could come down to it being the first battle and hence, meant to be easy).
You’ll spend some time here, of course. Clicking on a country gives you many options for actions in the top left box.
This ranges from preparing for battle and searching for dungeons to advancing the plot and talking to your various commanders (Purple ???’s show something brand new).
Speaking with commanders raises their affection towards you, and once you accumilate a certain amount, they’ll usually have a special ??? event which raises their trust level (Its Hate > Normal > Trust > Love on a sliding scale). Each time the trust level goes up, the commanders unit levels up, allowing you to give them a new ability or upgrade their stats. Of course, only female units can reach Love and as you might imagine, raising female commanders to Trust and Love also usually results in H (and more Satisfaction for Rance).
Each time you do an event or battle of any kind, you’ll use an action fan. You normally start with two (I have 3 here, since this is from a new game+).
There’s also resource management involved, with items, gold, national power, and Rance’s Satisfaction (Sat.) to keep track of. As you might imagine, you get gold from taxes, items from winning battles or clearing dungeons, power from developing or conquering countries and satisfaction from doing Hentai type things with girls. The latter is surprisingly important, as every 10 satisfaction gives you a great bonus, from upgrading Rance’s Unit and getting more action fans, to calling for reinforcements and getting really rare items.
Rance’s objective (at least initially) is to simply conquer all of JAPAN. This can and will change as the game progresses, as you can go onto different story routes. Usually, you’ll end up having to deal with the demon lord Xavier and his demon army in some form or another.
You pit up to six of your units against up to six foes. Initiative order is shown on the top hand tabs. As you get to one of your turns, you select an action and a target. Troops have a number of action banners, and time counts down on the middle column. To win, you have to either annihilate all the enemy units or have the battle rating (the topmost bar) in your favour when time runs out. The number of troops left in a unit acts as its HP (a little like Advance Wars). The above shot shows the Ninja unit of Gekkou (and his Loli sidekick). Of course, winning a battle is rather strategic, and it helps to use a nice variety of units, which come in lots of types:
This is the Unit Roster, currently focused on Kanami the Ninja girl.
I’ll list the types in the order shown in the list above:
- Rance himself leads a Warrior unit. These naturally excel at doing lots of damage really quickly, especially once they learn Guard Break. Once you recruit Kenshin, she is arguably the strongest Warrior unit in the game.
- Footsoldiers are defensive. They halve damage against them when they have their guard up, and can leap in the way of attacks targeting other units. They deal pretty mediocre damage though.
- Knights are a special unit (you only get one, led by Leila, through a Satisfaction bonus). They combine the offense of Warriors and Defence of Footsoldier, but are very expensive to recruit.
- Archers are naturally backrow units and are useful mainly for versatility, since can target either row, though not for huge amounts of damage. Yamamoto Isokoru is best since she can learn penetrating fire that hits an entire column and can’t be guarded against.
- Musketeers (not actually shown in this shot) are front row units with atrocious defence but high offence. They can be a bit dubious though since they also have a low action count and they’ll be slaughtered by Warriors.
- Cannoneers are special (again, you get Maria through a Satisfaction Bonus) and are upgraded Musketeers (they’re actually a huge unit of girls with rocket launchers!). They can shoot from the back row and deal high damage, making them generally pretty good.
- Miko’s are your healing and utility unit, able to replenish dead troops. They can also provide archery support (though not as strong as actual archer units), and with a certain ability, also grant buffs to male units at the start of a battle (apparently, in this version of Japan, Miko’s are also ‘working girls’, if you catch my drift, hence the buffs to male units).
- Mages are special units again (you can get three, two from satisfaction bonus, one from a New Game + bonus). They are ‘western’ mages in the traditional sense, in that they typically throw fireballs (though Rizna learns a hit-all, Angel Cutter, whilst Magic and Shizuka learn a Penetration laser Beam).
- Diviners are the ‘eastern’ mages, who use spellpaper and shikigami. They are the best artillery units with their charge up hit all attack, and can also throw up damage prevention shields that completely negate a single attack against a unit.
- Ninjas are fast, dealing about as much damage as archers with Shuriken. However, Ninja Shuriken also cancels spell charging, which is very useful against enemy Diviners. They can also assassinate enemy commanders, which if it succeeds, OHKO’s an enemy unit (however, it succeeds only if the number of ninjas exceeds the foes unit and then not all the time, and regardless of outcome, always uses all of the Ninja units actions).
- Tacticians add buffs to your units at the start of battle and as a command. They can also de-buff enemy units (making them important to bring along if the enemy also has a Tactician), and finally, provide archery support (at a lower level than normal archers though, like Miko’s can).
- Cavalry is only recruitable by capturing enemy units from Takeda (horses don’t exist in this world, and these cavalry ride large ostritches which can only be bred in Takeda). It basically acts as a more mobile Warrior unit, able to attack from the back row and against the enemies back row, making it pretty deadly. They are hence both rare and expensive.
- Finally, Monks are a utility unit. They have decent attack (higher than footsoldiers, less than warriors) but awful defence. However, they can give other units actions, heal themselves, remove enemy buffs, stop enemy footsoldiers from guarding, and various other weird things.
Thats all that I’m going to explain about the game. The AliceSoft Wikia goes into a ludicrous amount of extra details if you’re interested. I’ll just finish with some more screencaps:
Yep, Kenshin (right) is a girl in this game. She is known as the goddess of war and is the best swordswoman in JAPAN. She also likes fighting for underdog, randomly defending nations that are under attack (including you, or nations you attack), until you engage Uesugi. Of course, when you do, the poor girl gets more than she bargained for with Rance:
Maybe its because he actually duals her and blocks her blows? Or perhaps its just the whole him saying ‘you look beautiful even up close’ scism? In any case, its love at first sight for her. Poor girl.
Nevertheless, once recruited, she becomes a ludicrously strong unit for you. With her Commander Charge, she often personally kills about 300 troops before her own troop then attacks immediately afterward. Brutal. (Rance has a similar move with RANCE ATTACK!)
Yuzumi the Musketeer girl adores cute things, apparently.
Souun is the head diviner of what I call the ‘Triforce nation’ (LOL). He is, naturally, the most powerful diviner unit, as this might suggest!
After taking over the Blacksmith nation, Rance’s sentient Sword, Chaos, gets some very special treatment from the female blacksmiths! I LOL’ed at this scene.
And to finish, Rance at the cherry blossom festival with (left to right) Suzume, Sill, Nobunaga and Kouhime. 3G, their Youkai minister, is in the far right background. Sill is very pink, isn’t she? (and yes, Suzume is indeed a catgirl ninja, sigh…though her ability to use Naruto like clones in her scenes is quite…disturbing…)
Anyway, that was a long post, ne? If you like your tactical strategy, this game will keep you going for at least 120 hours if you follow all of the routes, and its pretty darn addictive, so I’d recommend it solely on that. Of course, theres also the VN side attached with an above average story and lots of fun easter eggs (and of course, H-scenes, if you’re entirely here for that…) so its a very substantial, slickly presented package.
Thats all for now. I’ll probably do the last couple of reviews for the new anime season soon, so see you then.