Review: Blazing Souls: Accelate

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While I have been critical of Sony and the PSP for many things, one thing I know: if I want a strategy-RPG fix, or if someone asks me to pick a platform for that genre, I always grab a PSP! My personal favorites are Jeanne d’Arc and the Disgaea games, but Final Fantasy Tactics, Lord of the Rings Tactics, Dungeons & Dragons Tactics, Field Commander, and many others are all solid games worth playing.

But it isn’t all good news – there are also things like Generation of Chaos. Games that are not inherently awful, but which offer such a user-hostile interface and approach with so little help and documentation that you almost think you should be earning experience for figuring out what to do next.

So which category does Blazing Souls: Accelate fall into? Well, here is a hint – I needed to look for help online before completing the first mission because the one-line ‘help guide’ did very little to help me complete an attack.

Sadly, it never really gets any better.

Here is what the game said: wipe out enemies using the Hold attack to target multiple enemies at once.

Here is the reality. Like any SRPG, you move first, then choose ‘Skill’ and then hold the R button for the Hold attack. Oh – and you also have to select which attack is the first part of the Hold attack. Then you select an enemy – oh, and by the way you need to know the range of your character, which in the case of the first battle is three blocks – and a ‘versus’ screen showing relative strengths appears. Then you are back at the skill screen, and you can continue choosing attacks until you are out of AP (action points). Then you press the Start button to launch the attacks. Then you find yourself just standing there, and need to navigate the menu to Standby which effectively ends your turn after allowing you to choose your final orientation.

Once you get used to it, the combat system isn’t too bad – convoluted, yes … but it works well enough. From this initial battle you get to choose characters of your own and begin to strike out on the adventure.

Technically, the game feels like a port of a PS1 game – the graphics are fuzzy, the writing is pretty lousy, and the characters are like a line-up from Cliche Central. None of that would matter much if there were more ‘meat’ to the combat system. Instead, even after getting engaged and accustomed to the idiosyncrasies, you will find that the game is pretty mediocre. The story is about the gods creating human genomes to replace mankind, and as you battle through them you find out more and more about yourself and your place in the world. Once again, not terrible, but nothing particularly interesting either.

I am not going to belabor this review – this is the worst PSP game I have played this year. I am long past forgiving a game for being as inscrutable as what I described above … especially when the ‘payoff’ is so shallow. If you want a strategy-RPG game for the PSP there are plenty of better ones out there … in fact any SRPG with the possible exception of Spectral Souls and the original Generation of Chaos is better than this. So don’t torture yourself – play something awesome instead (upcoming review hint: like Z.H.P.)!

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Pros:
+ Complex battle system with integrated ATB overlay
+ Long game with tons of gameplay

Cons:
– Everything about the game is more complex than it needs to be
– Over-wrought dialogues and cliche plot and characters you don’t care about
– Just never feels worth the time or effort

Game Info:
Platform: PSP (available on UMD and PSN)
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Neverland
Release Date: 10/19/2010
Genre: Strategy-RPG
ESRB Rating: Teen
Players: 1
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!