Genre: Casual, Simulation, Strategy
Publisher: JAST USA
Release Date: Nov 10, 2017
Edited by KnightAvenger
Visuals novels always find a way to one-up something, be it amazing visuals, a soundtrack that is legendary or, in this case, being able to bridge two completely different styles of games one might think would be a match against each other: Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest. Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest is a visual novel, gone strategy game developed by Tenco, later released by JAST USA, that, while it breaks a mold not many novels tend to go for, with its portrayal of famous historical figures as anime girls, also hits a few rough spots in this new mix.
Falling from the sky like a gift from God himself, Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest holds no bars with the theme of conquest although it loses some of its impact due to how the story is ultimately told. We start off, the reader/player, with a mysterious voice speaking about the world and its conflict of battle before stepping into the thoughts of Himiko, the current ruler of Yamatai, just as her world comes crashing down like a lead balloon. After trying to engage on her own with a few troops, she retreats, only to be surrounded by thieves but, at the last second of a raining arrow storm, is saved by a mysterious figure from the sky. This figure is you, the player/reader who is suffering from a case of amnesia, as he does not remember why he was brought here when he wakes up in Yamatai, bring greeted by Himiko as big brother. We learn Himiko is after one thing, trying to save the world through the act of conquest, but is having trouble getting off the ground floor, so your main character agrees to help her although something much odder is taking place from the sidelines as Himiko, her new warrior, and many others gained from conquest join in for the fight of their lives. I will end my synopsis here, as the story to follow is filled with spoilers galore but is one of the most uniquely told visual novel stories I have had the chance to experience to date.
As I stated in the prior paragraph, my biggest issue with the story as a whole was a loss of impact on how the story is told from a bigger perspective. The issue I speak about is the usage of missions to tell and expand on the novel’s overall story. While I honestly loved the concept of missions to increase your story, as well as increase your bond with some of the characters, it put a big damper on the impact of some story pieces with how much it broke it up. Some of the best pieces in the novel early on, like your character speaking to Himiko and a few others, lost some of the “umph” it had building up to it with the mission-style storytelling. There were also some minor pacing issues, where the novel felt like it wanted to go both fast and slow at the same time but ended up going one way or the other. These isolated cases did feel odd for sure but never hampered my experience in any way.
Setting up our heroes like chess pieces on the board, Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest puts the focus on two forms of gameplay, which makes for a different experience than some strategy games but also adds some unfortunate filler content. As per my usual reviews, I will explain what I found separates this game from others like it, starting with the leveling mechanic. Leveling in Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest is unique in that it acts on two levels, how many troops you have on that character and what your level of interaction is with certain characters. The first is vital for most of the gameplay, as the number of troops you have acts as your health meter, with more troops making it easier to get through some of the tougher fights the novel has to offer. The second is more story driven and can only be obtained through missions, which require certain stats to complete, only adding a romance element to the novel usually. Speaking of stats, the way stats work and how you get more of them is another unique property of the novel I found to be a good twist. Your base stats are attack, defense, and movement/dodge, as indicated by a sword, shield or boot in the game. These stats are based differently per character and the class they are but can also get added to with gems, the novel’s form of equipment. The gems are found during missions and from certain events in the novel, giving a certain boost to some stats like plus one attack, etc. While these boosts seem small, each character can usually hold more than one gem so you can mix and match the stats where the character is weakest or strongest at.
Now let us delve into actual combat mechanics, as they do add a second layer of gameplay and keep the novel interesting, starting with the weapon system. The weapon system is interesting in the fact that it acts as a counterbalance of sorts with base weapons like swords, guns, spear, magic, the list going on. The way it counterbalances is interesting, though, as an attack can do more or less damage based on stats but also if that weapon is a counter to that particular weapon style, so a sword-wielding character could do more damage to a magic or spear-wielding character, but a gun-wielding character can do more damage to nearly everything else. Your positioning in Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest on the combat map is important as well, along with proper team balance. As I stated before, your character’s health heavily depends on the number of troops they have to aid them, but stats, such as defense, also matter so putting those with higher defensive stats or higher health in the front will often prevail over leaving your mages or gunner in that spot, as they sport a higher attack stat but a weaker defense stat.
I do have a few gripes with the novel’s overall combat, like the way you get gold to build up stronger forces being the biggest example. With most games that involve tactic, you usually get gold from simply fighting in battles as a reward, but here, it’s based on completing the mission attached to the battle, only being a one time reward with a slow gain of gold as a passive per new turn. This means if you have a character you find important for battle, you have to focus on them alone, leaving the others vulnerable if you bring them into combat missions. My other gripe is with missions as a whole, where they feel unbalanced in some places. The idea behind the mission system is honestly fine; I enjoy that change of pace for a VN, as it makes it consider which mission to take, the one that progresses the game’s story or the one that improves relations with a specific character. This often leaves gaps in the armor, though, as certain missions have to be completed by a certain turn, so unless you focus to reach the specific mission early, you fall behind.
Coming in with a comic-like quality, the presentation of Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest has some impressive visuals with a comic book style flare and a soundtrack that, while unique, doesn’t hold well. Visually, I was surprised that the novel has this cell-shaded style quality to it, like an old Batman comic but much brighter and colorful to the eye. The backgrounds are distinct and always different, something that caught my eye, as the island you start on each has its own style of city layout that they try to emphasize, like the remote village styling of Yamatai. Now, with character art, it falls to a split, as it is both good and bad in some cases. The good side, funnily enough, is the visuals they use for them when in combat or not, are 2-D and rendered so they have a full body in the battle scenes but are able to stay on screen and command a performance when in the story. The downside is the models are stiff, like cardboard. This forces the player, while the novel does try to animate them face and hand motion wise, to rely heavily on the voice acting from each girl to get their feelings and intent.
Humming in with a soft tune, Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest tries to create a soundtrack that is genuinely unique but ultimately falls flat, as the music does not last. Musically, I wanted to enjoy the entire composition from Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest, as it has a number of good pieces, each city having its own theme, like England with the horns. The problem lies in the soundtrack never gelling together to make itself memorable; I can remember bits and pieces of it but nothing more that makes me think it came from this novel. The sound effects are also a miss for me, as they do replicate the effects of some weapons but it’s mostly just guns, magic sounds, and arrows.
Overall, I felt Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest has some great single elements to it that make it a solid novel, such as the anime girl versions of famous historical figures, comic book style of art, and some solid, if not fun at times, strategy gameplay but has rough spots that take away from the overall experience. The mission-driven story style, unique female versions of famous historical characters, two-way leveling system, weapon combat system, comic book style art design and distinct and unique backgrounds make for a novel that is a fun global adventure but not always viewed in the best way.
- Mission split-driven storytelling
- Female versions of famous historical figures
- Two-way leveling system
- Weapon-based combat system
- Use of a comic book style of art
- Distinct and unique backgrounds throughout
- The story can lose edge with mission jumping
- Gold gain is slow up until mid game
- Lack of a coherent and memorable soundtrack
DarkLunarDude gives Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest a Drastik Measure 6.2 out of 10.0 (62)
For the price of $29.99 (USD) on Steam, I can recommend Eiyu*Senki – The World Conquest to anyone seeking a unique experience of a VN mixed with a strategy game, as the novel offers an experience like no other I have seen.