Spectral Force Genesis
Decent, but could have used more refinement
Spectral Force Genesis is a game in a long series of games that have largely not seen a U.S. release for the most part. This game sadly suffers from issues that prevent it from going beyond good and into greatness and becoming a most play for any fan of the genre it represents.
Spectral Force Genesis is a turn-based game that utilizes real-time strategy combat. The game also boasts RPG elements, but this feels more like false advertising in my opinion since all of the items gained after conquering a nation can be used on any general in your employ. So, the game feels more like an action adventure game in terms of character development where it is based on power-ups rather than combat.
On of the weakest areas in this game in my opinion and in the opinions of many reviews, but I feel the need to defend this game. This game is a turn-based game which each month dedicated to specific tasks. These tasks are broken down into foreign affairs, human affairs, tax, strategy, and battle. This breakdown of your options makes the gameplay rather slow paced since you'll often be waiting for a chance to attack an enemy nation and bypassing your other options rather quickly. This especially becomes true near the end of the game.
During turns where you are working on foreign affairs you can forge alliances with other nations or recruit generals from other nations to your side. This can be a useful tactic early on in the game since it can allow you to pick-up powerful generals early on.
Human affairs covers recruiting additional generals that are apparently just wandering around on the map and handling your current generals. You can assign a tactician, envoy, representative, or dismiss a general from your ranks. Though, if you dismiss a general you'll be unable to recruit them again on your current play through.
Months dedicated to tax allow you to draft troops and assign them to specific generals. You can also invest money into the various currencies or sell them off into the market for profit. You can also collect special taxes to increase your cash reserves while increasing the chance that your citizenry will riot.
Strategy months are dedicated to building up your status in your various regions under your control as well as building up your walls in those areas as well. The higher the level of your walls the more difficult it is to successfully claim your nation is. And, the higher your status is the more troops you will receive during tax months.
And during months dedicated to battle you can loot other countries for money or engage with them in battle. The combat system of the game is in real-time and uses a rather simplistic rock, paper, scissor setup in terms of combat. Offensive units beat magic units, magic units beat defensive units, and defensive units beat offensive units. Of course, this doesn't take into account terrain advantages or special abilities.
Another problem this game suffers from is a rather weak AI. Often times during combat you'll be able to pincer an enemy unit and rather quickly eliminate them allowing you to focus on the other two units in a 3 on 2 combat strategy.
Though one of the major issues in this game is breaking down your enemies walls. This can be especially problematic later in the game where it can take you a year or more to take down an enemy's walls depending on how high the walls are leveled at. This is what slows the game to a crawl and can drive you nuts. Though, the walls also offer an opportunity in allowing you to let enemies attack you and lose hundreds of men in an attempt to take your castle.
Graphically the game uses rather simple sprites for combat, but you'll largely be focusing on the menu screen during combat, and most of the rest of the game is based on looking at menus as well.
There are also cut scenes with 2-D images of the characters and character portraits within text boxes. These scenes are rather nice to look at, and do offer some story to this game, but the story is so spread out poorly explained that it often feels like it isn't there.
The games sound track is rather lacking and is often times repetitive. The game would have been approved by a more varied sound track, but it never proves to be annoying either.
This game offers a lot of lasting appeal for a perfectionist. The game offers 40 unique countries with battle events, story events, a normal ending, and a true ending. And, this means that the game is going to take a long time to get through since you'll have to play each campaign at least once to see the true ending and each campaign takes around 20 hours.
Lasting Appeal: 9