Weapons can also be mastered with use, and as proficiency increases, so too do their attributes and number of special attacks. This is actually a neat system that allows for preferred weapons to be kept, despite their base stats initially being less than another weapon of another element. Crystals strewn about the battle maps can be chipped and their shards picked up for improving gear, though this isn’t always possible given the aforementioned difficulties in regards to the number of enemies per battle. But with enough experience and a few upgrades, an older sword that has a nice variety of pattern attacks can be kept on for future use if the player has become accustomed to it. And that’s just weapons; there are also items; armor for the body, head, and hand; and shields to hunt for and fuss over.
With up to 15 characters, there is always some pre-battle maintenance to be done. But that’s also indicative of the game’s more endearing traits in that it caters to players who like to meticulously plan their assaults and execute intricate maneuvers. The latter can be fraught with unpredictability, though, given the limited turn count and the proficiency the enemy has weaseling their way into and around formations, but this also makes it particularly satisfying to successfully pull off a hard-fought strategy. Laying a trap that requires an enemy to find themselves seven or eight grids forward and into a spell’s range as its nine-second cast has ended is cause for a celebration. There is also something about the let-the-world-burn attitude of the War Gods that is both appealing and cathartic, venting pent-up frustrations by unleashing a deity who could just as well freeze your Ace and make another character retreat in fear as it could turn an enemy onto its former cohorts and knock half of them out of the battle with a mighty attack. The game isn’t always forthcoming with its goods, but it does have its moments.
Gungnir is a decent tactical-RPG that suffers from poor balance and pacing. It would have made a much stronger offering on the PS Vita, which it should be compatible with at some point, but as it stands, there are much better games on the PSP for fans of the genre. If those have been completed, then Gungnir is worth a shot. There’s plenty to like, but it’s not always easy to like it. For those who do decide to take down the Empire, take my advice and enjoy the more forgiving Basic difficulty. Your PSP is already thanking me.
Gungniris rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes..