Title: Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War
Release Date: August 17, 2020
Reviewed On: iOS
NEOWIZ has delivered some memorable mobile RPG titles in recent years. The studio focuses on delivering magnificent looking 2d sprites, character splash art, interesting strategic gameplay mechanics, a story with lovable characters, and post-launch support. Now, Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War is their latest strategic RPG on mobile devices. Though it only captures about half of what I expected from the game, there’s definitely enough here to keep my interest far longer than other mobile RPGs.
In Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War, players take the role of King Arthur, who is tasked with gathering heroes of legend to join his battle in protecting Avalon. It’s a familiar variation of the King Arthur story you’ve heard throughout grade school but mixed with anime elements. There’s some reasonably strong character writing in the opening moments, but late-game scenarios become interesting and skippable. Sture, it’s a good story, but I found myself wanting to progress if only to get more chances at the gacha pulls.
Luckily, many different modes provide premium items. One of them is the Tower of Arrogance, a battle tower that gets progressively more formidable enemies and gives rewards for every few floors you reach. Furthermore, there’s PVP and raids (which I’ll get more into later). The characters are insanely stylized, and they match their personality types wonderfully.
Even the nonimportant characters you feed to rarer units to increase their level had a lot of detail put into them. I mean, look at this slime! It’s not a carbon copy of any other slime in other fantasy games, and I adore that. However, when you enter the battlefield, it’s a bit of a different story. Characters have chibi models during fights, but they aren’t exactly what you would call cute. The arenas also took a hit here and look rather bland. Sadly, it’s a significant step down for combat visuals from Brave Nine.
Battles are turn-based and take place on a grid. Your main goal is to take out enemies on the field. There are a few waves of enemies per stage that allows you to mix up your gameplay a bit. It’s pretty standard for most RPGs like this, but I think the other titles from this publisher might have spoiled me because nothing really stood out to me. During the more manageable stages, I tend to leave the game on auto-play, like other gacha games of this nature, but there seems to be massive power creep when you reach chapter 6, even on the easiest difficulty.
I may have high-level units, but the elemental advantages make a huge difference. You’re kind of left to the luck of the draw when summoning units to have a well-rounded team at decent levels to get through the campaign. It’s possible to still make it through, but don’t expect to be getting three stars every stage without the proper team. It’s also possible to enter training dungeons to farm levels and materials that can strengthen your team.
The only problem I have with the story is how unbelievably short it is. I know a lot of gacha games only have a few story chapters upon launch. But again, with my past experience with Brave Nine, there were a ton of story stages to play through, making it feel like a full game. With no narrative for me to honestly care about, this almost feels more like a Tamagotchi game where I just feed my Arthurian Legends with experience points from time to time.
Each character has two abilities and an ultimate. These become more crucial to understand in later parts of the game, such as a piercing attack that could go through two enemies at once. Players can also obtain and equip units with runes to give stat boosts, but it’s only really noticeable to get rarer runes. There’s also an annoying system where you have to use in-game currency to remove runes.
And if you decide to replace them, it destroys the previous rune. I accidentally destroyed a few good runes while experimenting. They should have just left the option to pay to remove the runes. The nuances of the battle system and what goes into strengthening your characters are generally fine. Still, if they had included some terrain bonuses, debuffs, or a weapons system similar to Fire Emblem, there would be a lot more for strategy game fans to sink their teeth into.
Aside from the normal story that you can repeat for more rewards at greater difficulties, there’s more content to jump in on with Arena battles, Guild battles, Raids, and various training dungeons. There’s always something to do in Kingdom of Heroes as it doesn’t fall into the pitfall that some other gachas do by limiting the launch content.
There is a bit of a sore spot when it comes to the PVP content for me. There are costumes you can purchase for specific units that actually give additional stat buffs. The actual numbers do seem minimal, but when you compile it with max-level units that a lot of players already have, you do notice that certain units are hitting you a bit harder than they usually should.
Basically, PVP seems to be already flooded with whales with a ton of 4 and 5-star units max leveled and have reached the full limit break with costumes adding extra stats to their units. Matchmaking could have been significantly improved here. Otherwise, players are better off trudging through the story and dungeons to grind out levels and items to be on par with other players.
I’m not going to argue the pay-to-win thing here, though, as I’ve said many times that I believe you should monetarily support the free games you enjoy. Still, the act of using premium currency on cosmetics that buff your characters is kind of annoying.
Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War is a serviceable strategy RPG, and that’s all I can really say about it. There’s nothing groundbreaking in the game’s presentation or gameplay, but it’s entertaining enough with the help of its visuals and several modes.
It’s an unfortunate step down from the developer’s previous games. You see, the story never truly catches on as the game’s main focus seem to be on its battle system. Here’s to hoping that updates iron out the kinks of this adventure. Otherwise, this is just another standard strategy RPG to fill your phone storage with for a few minutes of fun.
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