We've seen the suggestive trailers and the "Really Naughty Limited Edition", but what about Record of Agarest War's gameplay? Aksys' Cherie Baker fills us in on the game's serious side, its T rating, and a little PlayStation 3 love.
Aksys has been playing up the seedier side of Record of Agarest War for the Xbox 360 in its marketing, using cheesecake imagery and sexually suggestive bonus items to draw North American gamers to this decidedly Japanese strategy role-playing game. While the naughty bits have been getting the job done, the lack of any real focus on how the game plays has concerned many of our readers.
The big question on our readers' minds, however, was how does a game that ships with a fake-breast mouse pad wind up with a T for Teen rating? Perhaps all of this sex talk has been blown out of proportion.
"To be honest, we haven't shown anything that isn't present in the game," explains Baker, a public relations specialist for game publisher Aksys. "Sure, there's some innuendo and skin, but it's nothing you haven't seen in other T-rated games like our own BlazBlue. The dating and naughty bits don't make up the entire game. It's not like you'll kill a baddie and be treated to some cheesecake. Make no mistake, Agarest is a pretty challenging and hardcore strategy RPG at its heart... It's just got a little more sex appeal than most.
"Contrary to what you think you might have seen in the debut trailer, you don't get to see any naughty anime bits, much to everyone's dismay."
And while the trailer released in December did contain censor bars, they were put there due to ESRB guidelines. There's nothing particularly dirty hidden beneath.
What has been mostly hidden so far is the actual gameplay, caught only in brief glimpses during the trail and summarily dismissed in favour of the more risqué content. That's something that should change as the game comes closer to its April release date.
"Yes, we'll definitely be doing a gameplay trailer proper as well as some tutorial videos before the game is released. We're not that irresponsible," said Baker. I resisted the urge to follow up, asking exactly how irresponsible they were, on a scale from one to ten, instead letting Cherie continue with a quick description of the strategy RPG gameplay.
"It plays similarly to other Japanese SRPGs that have come before it. The main difference lies in the Extended Area and Extended Attacks, which give you a lot more options on the battlefield, such as being able to link slow characters to allow them to act sooner than normal or linking a character that is out of range for an attack. Also, this system allows you to discover special combo attacks called Arts in which the player has to use different (or the same!) characters' skills in a specific order."
She actually makes the game sound like something I'd want to pick up for the gameplay.
And the pillowcase. And the mouse pad.
Which leads us directly to my final inquiry about Record of Agarest War. With the Xbox 360 getting the full retail release and the PlayStation 3 version being distributed over the PlayStation Network, where's the love for Sony fans? What do they get that could possibly compete with a new mouse pad?
"Aside from the lower price tag (TBD) since it's a downloadable game, most of that version's DLC will be free for PSN users. That's right FREE."
Can words like "cheaper" and "free" make up for the lack of a pretty boxed set? You tell us, PlayStation 3 owners.
360 owners can now preorder Record of Agarest War at Amazon.com, with GameStop and Best Buy listings in the works.