|a game by||TNS Co., Ltd.|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 1 review|
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Hot on the heels of Shining Force III comes Wachenroder, Sega's new strategy/RPG that bears a striking resemblance to the classic Shining series. Touted as a "steam-punk epic," Wachenroder takes place in a futuristic world where all the technology is steam-based, from the vehicles all the way down to the weapons. That's right, even the weapons--swords and all--are steam-powered.
Designed by the same crew that created the characters for Atlus' Groove-On-Fight, Wachenroder could best be described as somewhat of a cross between Shining Force III and Final Fantasy Tactics. While the characters are alt prerendered sprites, the backgrounds are fully polygonal and can be rotated at 90-degree intervals (and tilted or zoomed as well). Once engaged in battle, players can choose from a number of commands: Move, Attack, Move Object and Item Use. Fairly standard stuff, but when selecting Attack, you have a couple of options. You can opt to attack in a relatively straightforward way, where a gauge pops up showing how much charge you have for your S.R.6. (Steam Refine Gear). The amount of time you wait to let 'er rip will determine how much damage is delivered. If you have enough steam-power you can unleash a "Super Steam Barrage" that does megadamage. During these scenes, the game switches to a cutscene, similar to Shining Force III, where the characters go 100 percent polygonal and pull off some major butt-whoopin'. Although these scenes aren't as impressive as those in SFIII, they still add character to the game and can be turned off at any time should they get annoying. Each stage, as with most strategy/RPGs, has an objective, whether it be to rescue a group of imprisoned allies or to defeat some unnaturally strong mid-Boss. As with games of this nature, the story line is very linear, and you make your way through the game with very little character interaction outside of battle scenes. However, with a plethora of characters to use and six different areas to explore, Wachenroder provides more than enough variety to keep fans of the genre satisfied.
Since the chances of SoA bringing this to the United States are extremely unlikely, the only way you're gonna get to play it is to import it. While it won't make won't make you forget about Shining Force III Scenarios 2 and 3, it'll at least help ease the pain.