Updated from April 06 2022: Test of the Switch Version, by Neogrifter
A year and a half after its exit on PlayStation, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim arrives to feast on the Nintendo Switch .
As Alandring had prophesied in his test below, the console lends itself well to the rhythm of play the title of Vanillaware . According to the desires of the moment, we can follow the leaves of these thirteen high school students with adventure mode or embark on a confrontation of giant robots with the battle mode: as every segment lasts just a few minutes, it is easy to catch the console and to progress between two activities. Of course, the progression of one side always conditions the possibilities of the other: you will have to find a moment to crush the deimos if you want to learn more about the tsundere local. And if you are afraid of losing the line in the story, the archive mode is there to refresh the memory.
The game turns well, whether by dock or nomad. On the small screen, the 2D is clean and clear, and the battles remain readable. Everything goes to the controller, the touch screen is not at all involved. English and Japanese voices are available, as well as subtitles in several languages. All the sound design got savored at the helmet. If you opt for the downloadable version, it will occupy 4,3GB of your console.
It is therefore a simple and effective portage that is proposed to us here: no reason to sulk our pleasure.
Let’s start by presenting the story of the game: humanity is threatened with extinction because it is attacked by hordes of extra-terrestrial robots that can travel over time. Fortunately, a ultimate hope remains: 13 high school students have the ability to control giant robots – the sentinels -, only powerful weapons to overcome the invaders.
13 Sentinels: Aegis RIM is composed of two parts. In the first, the player incarnates in turn these 13 high school students in an interactive story. During this, the player moves in 2D environments and has the opportunity to interact with different characters. The progression is very directed: if some characters have a more open narrative structure – Juir Kurabe in particular – the majority of the protagonists have an extremely linear story: the player is content to engage the following dialogue or interaction, but this one is usually hardly difficult to find. There is also no choice: the history of the title takes place little by little and the only freedom of the player is to determine in which order he wants to discover it.
The choice of 2D makes it possible to offer neat environments and very beautiful visually, but it also results in an impoverished exploration and complicated by the problems of perspective as well as the need to teleport to go from a table to the other.
Second Pan of the title, its tactical fights, which take place according to an active pause system: the player controls 1 to 6 characters and gives them orders so that they conquer the enemy robots. Each action takes a while to make effect and, above all, prevents the pilot from acting for a fixed time by the action carried out. The 13 characters are distributed between 4 classes (body-to-body fighters, distance fighters and two types of support). Each class has a list of accessible skills among which it is possible to pick up to make each Sentinelle unique.
As in all other games that have opted for this formula, the active pause does not offer the strategic potential of a real tower tour or the dynamism of real-time clashes. Nevertheless, the combat system of 13 sentinels: Aegis Rim is easy to take in hand and, to say true, nice enough. It must be said that one does not ask him more: even if these phases are successful, they are above all an obstacle preventing from continuing the narrative part, which represents the actual heart of the game.
After a pilot fought twice, he is obliged to rest during a confrontation. In addition, each fight offers bonus goals. These two constraints force to vary the composition of his teams: do not imagine doing the whole game using the same characters. This allows the gameplay to renew itself and never become a laundry, which is reinforced by the customization of sentinels. This is very rich: it is possible to choose what skills equip each other, to improve these skills and also to improve the basic statistics of sentinels. To say true, this wealth is almost too important: it is difficult at first at first to determine what to get up first, which can be frustrating enough.
Controlling 13 characters has something to worry, as it quickly recalls the recent narrative sinking of Octopath Traveler . Fortunately, the title of Vanillaware is doing much better: the stories of the thirteen characters are all intrinsically connected and the plot is extremely complex, much more than its synopsis suggests it. You have to force a little to pass the prologue, quite difficult to access, but then the player goes to revelation in revelation until the end of the game.
To tell truth, I do not remember seeing such a narrative mastery in a video game. In the manner of Horizon: Zero Dawn, all the pieces are perfectly trained in each other. Each sequence is neat: revelations are not only strong, they are especially perfectly timed. To achieve this, Vanillaware has cut the story of each character in short sequences (about ten minutes), which are unlocked as and when. To continue the story of a character, you often have to move that of another character.
It is also nice to be able to discover this story with French subtitles and English voices (Japanese voices are also available), which makes it really immersed in the plot without being embarrassed by the language barrier voices or texts; The story is quite complex not to add an additional obstacle.
The division of history makes it possible to ensure the overall coherence, but it has a price: if 13 sentinels: Aegis RIM is an excellent game, which one recommends without hesitation, it is not the kind of titles that is Suitable for long sessions. It is to be consumed with moderation, making regular breaks. In short, the kind of title perfectly adapted to the Nintendo Switch; The PlayStation 4 is clearly not the best support for such a game, even if it does not happen so badly, the handling to the joystick being for example sufficient during the fighting. So do not think after the 30h that the game proposes in a week, but it is good: 13 sentinels: Aegis Rim is an experience so unique and so memorable it deserves to be tasted by taking its time.
_Test made on PlayStation 4 by Alandring from a version provided by the publisher.