Yggdra Union for Game Boy Advance (GBA) Reviews
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Yggdra Union for Game Boy Advance (GBA)

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
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Wanted: Gamer to rescue the last remaining princess of Fantasinia, holy sword included.

Feb 7, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:1) Three save slots, ingame suspend saving 2) Soundtrack 3) Layered graphics

Cons:1) Slow gameplay

The Bottom Line: Yggdra Union is worth the challenge. With hours of game play awaiting you, get a comfortable chair and turn up the sound.


Yggdra Union is a fine example of why you should never ignore the last few game releases on a matured video gaming platform. Originally released in Japan on June 30, 2006, the game was quickly imported by Atlus and released November 21, 2006. The game features a rich storyline about the heroine, Yggdra Yuril Artwaltz. Complimenting the storyline is screen after screen of bright color schemed menus overlayed onto anime backgrounds. I was surprised to find that the level of difficulty is rather high for Yggdra. Deep RPG based character statistics and equally detailed battle engine can cause any player to actually think while they play. The game also features a musical score that has prompted release of a two disc soundtrack!

Plot
The Empire of Bronquia has invaded the Kingdom of Fantasinia with a deadly blitzkrieg. Princess Yggdra has managed to flee the capital city, Paltina only to be pursued into the badlands by enemy troops. She meets Milanor the leader of a band of thieves who promises to help her after his own hideout is burned to the ground by Yggdra's pursuers. The game has a simple linear plot line that develops the story of young Yggdra. Each battle field has its own set of dialogue with the characters. I found my short attention span satisfied with just enough detail to keep my interest. While the dialogue at times seems a little drawn out, you can easily "button press" your way through it in a few minutes.

Gameplay
I jumped into this game without reading the tutorial or manual. The battle system is very intuitive. Twelve hours of gameplay later, I regretted my decision! The game has a lot of features that without the manual could never be understood. For example after you have set your battle orders, the game will display a set of 5 prediction marks for each unit involved in the battle. Predictions marks quickly gave me an edge in battling that has saved me thousands of morale points! The depth of Yggdra Union's gameplay is astonishing because the game slowly introduces new battle capabilities as you progress through battlefields. The game's formation and linking features allow you to team up against the evil ones with devastating effects. The formation and linking also tend to slow down gameplay as you plot the moves required to get your units into position.

The third battlefield, Orlando, was a challenge to complete in just one turn. The first phase of the battle was the rescue of a royal knight unit beseiged by enemy forces. I had to concede defeat in this zone because I simply did not have the morale power required
to last three consecutive battles. Once you have lost a battlefield, you can either retry or simply load a previous save. If you retry the enemies abilities will be reduced, at the cost of the MVP selection. The game determines the most valuable player for the battle and awards the character with a permanent stat boost. After twelve battles, the MVP awards can really boost your entire team's stats. For this reason, avoid the retry option at all costs.

Morale is the true indicator of stamina in Yggdra Union. When battling, if your player loses they are assessed a point penalty that is deducted from their morale points. If your player wins a battle, they deduct morale points from the defeated unit. Your player is not given these morale points, they simply vanish. As your player's level increases so does their morale. By the time you reach the twelfth battlefield, some of your characters can hold over 5,000 morale points. Morale points do not normally recharge. Just like combat pay is given to modern armies, you must give each character bonus items to recover lost morale after a long battle. Acquiring items is also dependent on a whole new set of requirements such as the number of “Luk” of the winning unit.

Graphics:
When you purchase Yggdra Union all you expect is a tactical RPG, but instead you get one of the most complete gameboy games ever released. Final Fantasy IV Advance was given strong marks for it's graphics on several review sites, yet it's graphics were very pixelated almost blocky. A side by side comparison of FFIV with Yggdra Union would cause a lot of people to second guess their graphics ratings if GBA games. The graphics in this game are simply stunning. Featuring a very active user interface combined with vivid colors, Yggdra Union feels like a console game rather than a Gameboy Advance game. The battle and story animations are very smooth with no noticeable frame rendering lag. The text is easy to read, no squinting to see if your morale is 100 or 180.

The backgrounds are detailed anime style drawings. I have never seen such detail in a Gameboy Advance game. Several sections of the game were actually written to allow you to view the background graphics alone. Finally, the menus seem to have a distinct gothic touch to them, much like those of the infamous Atlus title, Shining Soul II.

As an added bonus, when units use card skills in battle, the developers somehow implemented fog and photon style effects to the affected units.

Replayability
As you move units around maps, they will discover hidden items that are picked up and placed in your equipment inventory. As you battle, cards gain points for every victory. Characters can level up and even be awarded special MVP awards that directly credit their stats. All of these factors combined will keep this game in my DS for months to come. The only thing that will stop me from playing is the flood of new DS game releases coming for the month of Febuary 2007!

Programmers
We rarely hear or read about the efforts of the development teams behind Gameboy Advance games. Yggdra Union is no exception to this type admiration. As you play this game, the level of technical achievement involved with the programming jumps out from the screen. The game was originally written by Sting. If someone can find a list of programmers please post them.

Game Website
The following link will take you to the official game website:
http://www.sting.co.jp/yggdra/
I encourage you to visit this website because you can download sample high resolution videos and wallpaper. Additionally, you can find animated character avatars on this site as well! The site is in Japanese, but most of the menu buttons are in English.

CD Soundtrack!
The developers of this game have released a soundtrack called, Yggdra Union: Perfect Audio Collection Plus! The following page features cover art, track listing and sample audio for you to enjoy.
http://www.sting.co.jp/yggdra/special/soundtrack/index.htm

Summary
Yggdra Union cannot be classified as either a Final Fantasy or an Advance Wars clone. The game proudly stands alone as a welcome one of a kind release by Atlus and Sting.
I intentionally left a lot details out of this review. I felt the only basics of the game: graphics, plot and gameplay needed to be covered, from a RPG gamer's point of view. I hope that you decide to pick up this title and publish your own review comments as well!


Recommend this product? Yes

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