Blazing Souls: Accelate ReviewDustin Hill
Blazing Souls: Accelate is a new Strategy Role-playing game from game designer Aksys, known for their work on other titles such as Record of Agarest War and a soon to be released, as of this writing, title Jikandia: the Timeless Land.
You begin the game as Zelos, a contractor who soon finds an entire party of characters as you take on jobs and begin to unravel the story at large.
First off, Blazing Souls features quite a fair amount of character customization. While you're still rewarded to go down certain paths with your characters, (some are adept at magical/ranged attacks while others are melee-fighters) there are still lots of tweaking that you can do from your basic weapon and skills (increased attack and defense) to adding new effects that can become very powerful later on.
Blazing Souls tries something relatively new; they include puzzles inside and outside of battles. Outside of encounters you can subtly alter the environment to set yourself up to solve the in-battle puzzle that will allow you to move onto the next level of your particular stage. This allows, and quite pushes you towards, playing the same level repeatedly until you figure out the puzzle. This may feel tedious at times but gives you something to do while powering up your characters rather than simply grinding over and over a singular level.
The graphics are generally just average for what is generally expected of strategy role-playing games at this point, nothing impressive but nothing that looks awful either. The sound though, sounds good. The music fits well with the encounters and there's a good variety as well.
Battles generally take a long time due to generally cumbersome and time wasting menus you have to navigate through to win encounters. This is quite the strategy game and so gives you several options on how to attack the enemy; however these generally tend to feel tiring and frustrating at first. Blazing Souls: Accelate does have a solid battle system once you get used to it but, requires more patience than your average strategy role-playing game.
Hit and miss voice acting, mostly due to the poor lines characters are given, is a little distracting when you're playing. Characters are two-dimensional, have little to no motivation for joining you at the beginning of the game and while the voice acting is well done, the lines given are awful in spots.
The story at first lacks any real source of motivation. With books, you have 11 pages to impress your reader, in games you have even less time. It's probably a solid ten hours before the story begins to give you motivation to do more than simply get into battles. This is mostly due to the sandbox' feel that Blazing Souls tries to mimic, giving you several choices in which to develop your play through but can sometimes leave players lost or ill-motivated to move onward.
Overall, once you really get into the meat of the title, which will probably be after ten hours of gameplay, it's just fun. Though I wouldn't recommend this one to someone who hasn't specifically played a strategy Role-playing game before as the controls can be frustrating at first. You can also tell that Aksys games, the creator of Blazing Souls, not only wanted to try something new (to debatable success) but they also put a lot of heart and soul (so to speak) into the title. In my humble opinion, it's always good to see a company try something new, even if it doesn't always work, instead of just churning out the same uninspired product year after year.
The game isn't amazing but it also doesn't deserve to be called awful in any arena.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.