A few years ago, Kadokawa Games released Natural Doctrine for the PlayStation family of systems. The game, a strategy role-playing game, was not quite the success that they had hoped for, and critics and fans of the genre tended to be divided on the hardcore but linear aspects of the game. Once it was done, Kadokawa decided to scale things back a bit, and their latest work has finally been released. God Wars: Future Past is a classic strategy role-playing game, with an interesting story set in ancient Japan, where royalty and commoners mingle with Japanese gods and the like. The game is very much a straight-forward SRPG, which is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it’s a much more enjoyable experience than Natural Doctrine was due to a simpler set up and system.
God Wars: Future Past is set in the land of Mizuho, which is essentially ancient Japan, and takes place in three nations: Fuji, Izumo, and Hyuga. While the people tended to live in relative peace, eventually natural disasters started to take place, things like floods, earthquakes and such. The queen of the Fuji nation, Tsukoyomi, sacrificed her daughter Sakuya to Mount Fuji, and confined her other daughter, Kaguya, in case another sacrifice was needed one day. Then, Tsukoyomi disappeared, and during a riot, Kaguya escapes with the help of her old friend Kintaro. The two of them, and a myriad god named Kuma set off on an adventure to find out what happened to the queen, and understand what is really at work in the land of Mizuho.
The setting and the story is easily one of the best parts of the game. God Wars: Future Past really sucked me in with the adventures of Kaguya and Kintaro, and I was often ready to clear some more battles to get to more story, to get to the meat of what was going on in the game. The characters are all very well written and there is a good amount of depth to many of them, which helps to hook you and get you to continue on Kaguya’s quest.
The character designs are fantastic, and the games overall aesthetics are completely gorgeous. Animated cutscenes really help to build the tone of the game, and are complete eye candy, but it would have been nice to have more of them. The soundtrack is absolutely sumptuous, and many of the tracks really got their hooks into me, and I found myself humming a number of them in no time at all.
My only actual issue as far as audio and visuals go in the game was the English audio track. I found quite a few of the voice actors to be somewhat grating, and also weird mixing issues where it was hard to hear the speech in parts of the game. I would often switch over to the Japanese track, which in general sounded better, both as far as voice actors went and as well as the mixing quality was concerned. Also, while the character design and static artwork look fantastic, the actual game itself can be somewhat plain and looks merely better than a PlayStation 3 game. While the game visually can be a bit of a letdown, the combat most assuredly does not disappoint.
The combat and job system in the game are both spot-on, and it’s definitely what fans of the genre were probably hoping for. There are about thirty jobs to choose from, and characters can actually choose from 2 different jobs, with a variety of skills to learn. Additionally, each character has a unique set of skills that each one can learn, which means every character that ends up in your party can be played and leveled in a variety of ways. It’s best not to front load your characters with just combat skills, and maybe some healing, as the enemies love to use status effects on your characters. If you aren’t prepared for the various slowdowns and such headed your way, you can be in for quite a tough battle. The meat and potatoes of the game are it’s combat and job setup and God Wars: Future Past delivers for SRPG fans immensely in this regard.
If you have a soft spot in your heart for strategy role-playing games, like Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea, then God Wars: Future Past should be on your radar. The beautiful character design, intricately designed world of ancient Japan, and deep combat make for a quality addition to any fan’s library. While there are some issues with the audio, and sometimes maps don’t look as exciting as one would hope, there is still a great amount of depth to the game and an interesting story for fans of the genre to dive into.
A Playstation 4 Review copy of God Wars: Future Past was provided by NIS America for the Purpose of this Review.