First released in Japan at the start of 2019, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim will be available on the PS4 tomorrow – September 22nd. The game is developed by Vanillaware and published by Atlus.
With hugely positive reviews, in the game’s first week it didn’t perform as well as expected, and it wasn’t until word-of-mouth spread that sales began to pick up at the start of 2020.
13 Sentinels is a pretty complex game. There are 13 different playable characters, it’s set in 1980s Japan, and there’s also time travel. Oh, and giant mechs. Imagine Pacific Rim, but rendered in Vanillaware’s now distinctive art style.
With hand-painted backgrounds and characters, the game looks gorgeous. Many of Vanillaware’s games are recognizable by this style, and in 13 Sentinels it merges between a side-scrolling narrative and some RTS elements.
The two elements of the game look and play wildly differently. While the narrative is portrayed in this soft tone, with pastel colors and soothing music, the game gets far more complicated and intricate when it comes to the RTS mech battles.
Compared to Vanillware’s older games, such as Odin Sphere or Grim Grimoire, the combat gameplay is also quite different. It’s not to everyone’s liking – rather than the gritty combat of Odin Sphere, 13 Sentinels is more about its top-down RTS gameplay.
While you get to see the shape and size of the mechs during the 2D narrative sections, you don’t actually get to see these mech fighting the Kaiju (the giant mythical beasts that are invaded the city.)
Everything is rendered in this more futuristic, tactical-based gameplay. The screen is pretty cluttered with different attack modes, the status of your mech, and the status of the other 12 mechs around you.
It should also be noted that this game released over a year ago, and was originally slated to be released as far back as 2018 (on the PS Vita!) While the narrative parts of the game are definitely beautiful, these combat sections can come across a little dated.
The storyline is also fairly complicated – the first setting is 1980s Japan, but the narrative then jumps through time sporadically, featuring settings such as the Second World War.
If you’re a fan of games that blend different genres together and have played Vanillaware’s previous games, you’ll probably enjoy this title – even if it’s not quite like their other games.