The Generation of Chaos series, developed by Japanese firm Idea Factory, has seen success in Japan, but it hasn’t been able to catch on in the Western Hemisphere. In Aedis Eclipse, the second PSP installment of the series, nothing’s really changed.
The game is a turn-based tactical strategy game with RPG elements, but it doesn’t play like Disgaea or other NIS titles. Where most titles rely on a grid system, Aedis‘ levels look more like board games, with pre-defined paths and special spaces. Players can move along paths, capturing areas, switching elemental alignments and fighting enemies.
There are a lot of fun, innovative ideas in this title. Too many, really. The title’s menus are too many and too unclear, and it can take hours to get used to where things are. There are entire areas of information that have no bearing on how the game plays, and those sections aren’t distinguished in any way from those that players should pay attention to.
Since the overworld of the game is very segmented and tactical, the battles seem strange and foreign. They can best be described as real-time mini-battles, and though you can choose formations for the leader and his minions, it seems to make little difference. At first, the change of pace is refreshing and the leader’s special attacks are flashy and eye-catching. As the game goes on, hitting the 350th identical battle where your actions make no difference can only be described as infuriating.
The three campaigns do offer a large amount of gameplay and deep customization. Not just ramping up slowly in difficulty, the different areas play and look different, and the storylines are sufficiently interesting.
The thing that really holds this game back is its complete incompetence when it comes to load times. The pace of games in this genre is already quite slow, and Idea Factory did absolutely nothing to compensate. Moreover, many added annoyances, like the unnecessary turn indicator animations and slowly fading objective screens, make this thing deathly slow. For a portable iteration of any title, the pace must be sped up. Console gamers can reliably sit down for a few hours at a time, but handheld games have to be able to be booted for just a few minutes at a time. One turn of Aedis can’t be completed in this short of a time.
Though a lot of work was put into this title and it shows, Aedis just shouldn’t be on the PSP. However, it’s not horrible, and players willing to take the day or two to get used to it can find some enjoyment here.