E3 Impression

Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment


Anna Marie Neufeld

Cartoon Network vs. Hell

Though we have a one-on-one meeting with Konami later this week, I decided to jump the gun and try out Vandal Hearts on my own. I figured any progress I made could help whoever did the demo during the play session. I'd played the original two VH games, though not to completion, so I had some idea of what to expect — solid TRPG action combined with COPIOUS amounts of blood. I was not disappointed.

I jumped into the middle of a battle. There were only three enemies left to defeat, along with three enemies that were literally undefeatable. They had 500 HP and I could only do 1 damage per attack on them, if it even connected. I queried my game host and he explained this was purposeful, as the encounter was done in several sections. Once I'd killed off the other enemies, the story inside the mission would progress. Evolving maps are a touch and go thing for me — if it's going to be done, it really has to be done right.

We look kid friendly. Totally.

I polished off the three weakened enemies and it cut to an in-game story scene where a bratty little snot orders his undefeatable guards to advance. Before they could lay waste to my party, however, a giant worm burst out of the ground, throwing the guards up in the air with floods and floods of blood gushing out of them. See, now I feel like I'm playing a Vandal Hearts game! The bratty kid was quick to exit while the worm's attention centered on my party.

Much like a typical tactical RPG, my units were able to move, attack, cast magic, use items, or defend. I had a very good mix of party members: two melee, one doubling as a tank-type, two primarily magic users, one being good at healing, one archer, and my hero who was a catch-all but mostly melee. The boss had a very nasty spin attack that hit everyone surrounding him but I didn't have much of a choice — like many TRPGs, position matters and I was doing the most damage to the beast's slimey sides. Once I'd dealt about 1/3 of his health bar, he ducked underground, leaving a disgusting ooze cloud in his wake and additional wasps around the battlefield.

I quickly marched my troops out of the cloud of doom and onto the insects. Unfortunately, at that point I had to take off for another meeting, but I'm certainly pleased with the showing VH gave today. It's going to be out some time this winter via XBLA and PSN, so I guess I'm asking for some Xbox Points for the holidays. So many games, so little time...

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