Grid-based strategy RPG fans will recall a little game called Vandal Hearts for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It was a quirky, and often overlooked game, but fans of the genre recognized it at the time. It featured overly bouncy characters (seen later in Disgaea), remarkable 3D for 1997, and the ability to zoom in surprisingly close to your characters. There were seven classes and it followed an even more obvious rock-paper-scissors model than most games of this type. The game had its quirks, some of which resulted in frustratingly hilarious incidents. For example, the mission where the villagers are zombified and you must win without killing them, but they attack you, and with no way to turn off your counter-ability your team’s fierce warrior, Grog Drinkwater, proceeds to murder them all in one hit when he counters. It then becomes “get Grog away from them” instead of what the level was supposed to be about.
A sequel released two years later for PlayStation in 1999 and the series went quiet….until now.
Konami has announced a Vandal Hearts prequel for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, subtitled Flames of Judgment. I first looked at this screenshot and thought, this is not hardcore enough, but then I remembered Vandal Hearts was always a combination of serious war, and whatever Disgaea perfected, that ridiculous element. Hopefully the transition into current-gen will not lead to a slow interface. Slow interface is the worst thing a strat-RPG can do for us, we want to issue commands FAST.
More details when we have them, but now I leave you with some footage of the original.