Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord: Text and tactics

October 14, 2014


When I first heard the concept behind Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord, I was skeptical. I was expecting yet another game in which a male main character goes through a reference-filled plot that only exists to tie battles together, with a bunch of women swooning over him the whole way. Given the series’ roots in mature visual novels, I figured that was only natural, but I am happy to have my assumptions proven wrong.

The first parts of the game are a depressing introduction to the setting, and to the unfortunate place your main character has in the world. It’s a pretty grim place, and the game gets into some fairly dark themes. There are moments of levity, and these feel like a welcome respite when they happen as opposed to a forced joke to get a cheap laugh from anime fans.  The game is taking itself completely seriously for the most part, which I suppose is one of the reasons I find it so different, despite so many recurring themes. This sets it apart from other games, which all too often fill themselves with innuendo and references. It really doesn’t feel like every other anime RPG out there; though the plot is still undeniably anime and full of tropes, developer Aquaplus still manages to make it different from the usual fare.


The game only has Japanese voices, though I think much of its intended audience sees that as a good thing. I’ve played some recent games with a lacking English track, and perhaps Japanese games with limited budgets are better off spending elsewhere. It also has an animated intro, something often done only by bigger games like the Tales series. It’s a relatively small thing, but it’s still a nice touch. Games should incorporate more of these throughout the story, though it’s understandable that financial constraints make this difficult. In larger titles — most notably the Final Fantasy series — you can tell from the cutscenes when an event was really important; that’s harder to convey in a largely-2D game engine.

Initially, I was afraid the game would go down the path of many strategy-RPGs before it and simply turn into a massive Disgaea-style grind. That’s not a bad thing when done well, but too many games in the genre end up doing the same thing over and over. The visual novel aspect of this game may potentially turn away strategy-RPG fans who just want another series of battles, but it’s refreshing that Tears to Tiara II does its own thing, instead of chasing after an already crowded space. The battle system is still fun to use and has some of the mainstays of other SRPGs, but the battles are there to hold the story sequences together, the inverse of a typical SRPG. Those who aren’t the biggest visual novel fans may find themselves continually interested in this release, as the battles really help break up the monotony.


Tears to Tiara II does a great job of combining the storytelling of a visual novel with the gameplay of a strategy-RPG. The story is still very much an anime plot, but it doesn’t fall into the trap that so many others do, simply retelling the same stories with different characters filling out the cast. If you’re looking for another set of maps to grind through, there are likely better options out there, but Tears to Tiara II is definitely worth a look if you’re feeling the need for something fresh.

Pros: Serious plot, not a lot of forced humor
Cons: Battles a little light, still full of tropes

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.