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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Review Thread

Danjin44

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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is truly one of the most unique games I have ever played through. My 35 hours with Vanillaware’s latest title is something I wish I got back because I want to play it again for the first time. Kamitani explores so many interesting sci-fi ideas and philosophies in this title and they come together to form something magical. None of this would be nearly as impactful without the unconventional piecemeal storytelling scattered throughout the 13 protagonists’ perspectives. It is a narrative labyrinth that kept me intrigued the entire way. The execution of this game is masterful in its own right, fully utilizing what video game storytelling could be capable of. While the RTS battles drew the short end of the stick, what 13 Sentinels achieves in storytelling for video games is something to be celebrated and commemorated.



You know a game has consumed your life when it seeps into your dreams. That’s exactly what happened to me. I’m seeing Triangles floating atop heads and planning strategy in my sleep. Not the worst way to sleep but also not the most relaxing. I’m craving yakisoba pan all the time. No other games exist while you’re playing 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. Don’t even bother trying to play anything else. Your brain simply won’t let you.


Beat by beat, you've seen elements of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim's plot elsewhere before, but you've probably never played anything quite like it. How 13 Sentinels strings its complex narrative together is nothing short of astonishing. It operates like a great melodramatic sci-fi TV show, only reworked and shuffled into an interactive format, and it takes full advantage of it. And for that, even with weak RTS battles complementing it all, it's an easy recommendation.


Had Vanillaware crafted a title where the story and the action wove into one another flawlessly, we'd be looking at the greatest game the developer has ever made, without question. Unfortunately, that's not what this game is, and while what is here is great, it's crushing to see just how close 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim came to perfection.



Vanillaware games have always looked great, but 13 Sentinels is the first time the studio has put a bulk of its focus on storytelling. And it pays off. This revival of classic sci-fi ideas hits all the right notes and goes deep without overstaying its welcome, even at over 20 hours long. And while Vanillaware’s attempt at doing something different with combat by branching out into real-time tactics to portray its city-scale mechs-vs-kaiju warfare is commendable, the storytelling and rich characters undoubtedly doall the heavy lifting in making 13 Sentinels an enjoyable journey.



Vanillaware’s previous games include fantasy-inspired fare like Odin Sphere, Muramasa, and Dragon’s Crown. With 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, the studio doesn’t just dip its toes into sci-fi; it jumps into the deep end with a story that takes inspiration from the genre’s most iconic works. While that doesn’t result in the most original plot, it is still a fun and ambitious experience that combines high-school drama and huge robots in a (mostly) beautiful package.



I think of this kind of ridiculous entertainment as absolutely essential, especially within games, because the craziness is driven by a desire to go all out. Movies and games both have reached a technical ceiling where it's really difficult to surprise audiences on a technical level, so the surprise lies in delivering unguarded, enamouring passion instead. This, above all else is why 13 Sentinels matters to me so much. Being Kamitani's passion project, two games in one made by a game of just 29 people, simply reminded me of the effort that goes into making a game. It's easy to forget about, what with developers and publishers shrouding the whole process in mystery, before we as players tend to automatically compare whatever we play with the biggest thing already out there. That way of thinking makes it difficult to enjoy the feats of ingenuity on display. A Sentinel slowly hulking onto the screen fills me with the same awe here as it would in a blockbuster movie, knowing Vanillaware's programmers had no idea how to design such sequences, but they were so essential to the vision for the game they took years to figure it out. It's a good reminder that taking risks and trying new things takes a lot out of even the most seasoned team. The noticeable effort to create a mix of familiar and the new makes it Vanillaware's best game to date, and one of my favourite games of the year.



13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a phenomenal visual novel — and a surprisingly great strategy game. In trying something different, Vanillaware has crafted one of its best games yet. It's got an engrossing story that's absolutely packed with mind-blowing twists and endearing characters, all wrapped up in a gorgeous visual style. Don't sleep on 13 Sentinels — it's one of 2020's finest.



13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a must-play for fans of Japanese sci-fi adventures. Mixing the strengths of Vanillaware's art with time-travel adventures is a recipe for huge success. A story ambitious enough to have thirteen different protagonists seems bound for failure, yet the game manages to make each story not only incredibly impactful on its own, but adds up to a bigger, brighter and utterly unforgettable narrative. The addictive tactical gameplay that strings these story scenes together, despite a strange artstyle, is just icing on the already massive and delicious cake.


13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim deserves much more attention that it feels like it has gotten prior to its launch. The game is absolutely one of this year’s standout RPGs, and it’s particularly refreshing to see that in something that brings both unique combat and storytelling to the table. Vanillaware has outdone itself here.





 
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Matsuchezz

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I just get to know this game exists and the developer too, i am intrigued about it I want to try this game, is there a demo? I read that the story is great, I am not that fan of the characters design but whatever. If the story is good I will overlook that.
 
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Danjin44

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In for another Danjin thread
 

Saber

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I though this game already launched lol

Anyway, I'm waiting for walkthroughs on youtube. Became kinda interessed, if the game sucessfully attracts me who knows.
 

ElCasual

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Two stupid questions:
Is Vanillaware a indepent studio? ( For risk that will be buy for example Mircrosoft).
The game is still coming for Vita?.
 
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DragoonWalker

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I can't even find me a pre-order copy of this (that's not Amazon for NINTY FUCKING DOLLARS). In Canada. Anyone know where to look let me know.
 

Vawn

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Is this a PlayStation exclusive? I'd really like to play this on Switch.

I'd like to play all the Vanillaware games on Switch actually.
 

diffusionx

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It sounds a lot like Pyre in a lot of ways, but the RTS doesn't sound as good as the matches in that game.
 

SLoWMoTIoN

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Vita is dead here? why should they waste their release it on Vita?
Japan cares more about Japan than Canada. They started working on this game for the Vita before working on the Ps4 version I believe since Sony killed off their system. (actually they just couldn't keep up with the delays so they had to cancel it so that they could focus on the ps4 version) It would have been a guaranteed sale on the Vita though. As this game's niche demographic can mostly be found on a deceased portable. They barely made any physical copies for the west thinking it wasn't gonna sell and this is why it already sold out everywhere I take it. Scalpers are happy.

Switch would have been better choice.

Is this a PlayStation exclusive? I'd really like to play this on Switch.

I'd like to play all the Vanillaware games on Switch actually.

Vanillaware hates Nintendo and port begging. They haven't made a game on a Nintendo system since the Wii for a reason other than they like Sony. This is all speculation however.
 
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mejin

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Is this a PlayStation exclusive? I'd really like to play this on Switch.

I'd like to play all the Vanillaware games on Switch actually.


you can always wait, but their last 3 games were playstation only.
 

Vawn

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you can always wait, but their last 3 games were playstation only.

I'll probably play it on PS4. I'm traveling soon and it would have made a good portable game. And since they killed the Vita version, I'm out of luck.
 
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SLoWMoTIoN

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you can always wait, but their last 3 games were playstation only.
Only Muramasa was on the Wii. That's it, and the Vita version got the definite edition. (Kumatanchi died in Japan) They are a small newish company that is sticking to Sony for whatever reason.
 
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mejin

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Only Muramasa was on the Wii. That's it, and the Vita version got the definite edition. (Kumatanchi died in Japan) They are a small newish company that is sticking to Sony for whatever reason.

It took them 6 years to launch 13 Sentinels....Dragons Crown came in 2013.

I'm actually a little worried about them, but I hope for the best.
 
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Guilty_AI

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They are a small newish company that is sticking to Sony for whatever reason.
Some of these smaller JP companies are usually really conservative with game development. They've been making their games PS only for years and remain sort of stuck in that mentality/process, despite the fact they could easily make more money if they made Switch and PC ports
 
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Danjin44

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I can't even find me a pre-order copy of this (that's not Amazon for NINTY FUCKING DOLLARS). In Canada. Anyone know where to look let me know.
Yeah....this game got very limited physical version, it going to be very tough to find one.
 

SLoWMoTIoN

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It took them 6 years to launch 13 Sentinels....Dragons Crown came in 2013.

I'm actually a little worried about them, but I hope for the best.
Dragon's Crown sold ok-ish. But they need more manpower yes or hell a budget.
Some of these smaller JP companies are usually really conservative with game development. They've been making their games PS only for years and remain sort of stuck in that mentality/process, despite the fact they could easily make more money if they made Switch and PC ports
Their first game was some MMO though lol. I think they would have done their games on the Sega consoles had they survived. Still happy I can play most of their games on my Vita with translations though. About the ports I doubt it, I mean they had to cancel a version of this game just to finish it.
 
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Danjin44

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Now all that left is wait and hope that Amazon won't screw my order.
 
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Guilty_AI

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Their first game was some MMO though lol. I think they would have done their games on the Sega consoles had they survived. Still happy I can play most of their games on my Vita with translations though. About the ports I doubt it, I mean they had to cancel a version of this game just to finish it.
Seeing some more of vanillaware development history, i honestly gave up trying to understand their thought process in choosing platforms
 
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Arachnid

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This looks cool as shit. I'm loving that art style. I can always count on you to bring me weeb gems, Danjin. After Persona 5 Royal, I trust your judgment enough to give this a go
 

mcz117chief

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I wonder how Vanillaware stays in business, considering they make 1 game per century that sells to a very limited audience. Or do the Vanillaware people work in multiple studios?
 
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Danjin44

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I wonder how Vanillaware stays in business, considering they make 1 game per century that sells to a very limited audience. Or do the Vanillaware people work in multiple studios?
Not only that but they also include english dub which other niche games like Atelier series and even Persona Q2 didn't have one.

I honestly just glad they are in business and I want them still be in business because I LOVE their games.
 

Pejo

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I wonder how Vanillaware stays in business, considering they make 1 game per century that sells to a very limited audience. Or do the Vanillaware people work in multiple studios?
They should look at porting to PC *cough cough*.

Great question though, they always play to a relatively small audience but seem to do just fine. I hope this game sells despite the gameplay taking a back seat compared to a normal Vanillaware game. What I wouldn't give for this and the entire collection to come to PC. Individually or as a collection I'd double (or in Dragon's Crown's case triple) dip.
 

mcz117chief

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They should look at porting to PC *cough cough*.

Great question though, they always play to a relatively small audience but seem to do just fine. I hope this game sells despite the gameplay taking a back seat compared to a normal Vanillaware game. What I wouldn't give for this and the entire collection to come to PC. Individually or as a collection I'd double (or in Dragon's Crown's case triple) dip.
Pretty sure they only work at Vanillaware when the bosses decide to go into full production mode but are otherwise employed at other studios around Japan. You have to realize that there is plenty of work for video game designers with all the pachinkos, arcades and Japanese exclusives. Just a conjecture on my part of couse.
 
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ZZZZ

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87 Metacritic, impressive.
I'll probably ignore every thread about it so i don't get spoiled, will only be playing this i guess when i get my PS5 next year or 2022.
Hopefully they bring this to PC but i doubt it.
 

Danjin44

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Pretty sure they only work at Vanillaware when the bosses decide to go into full production mode but are otherwise employed at other studios around Japan. You have to realize that there is plenty of work for video game designers with all the pachinkos, arcades and Japanese exclusives. Just a conjecture on my part of couse.
Or they could be like Monolith Soft, they help out Atlus's other IPs.