To be honest, I am not sure if I should classify this as a first impressions or just a review. Vandal Hearts is a game I used to watch my brother play all the time when I was in junior high school. I just recently made a minor investment in my own copy of the game. I say investment because now days this game actually has quite the steep price tag. However, I had to have it because I love the nostalgic feeling when I play a game, and to be honest this one brought back so many memories of just hanging out with my brother. Other than that, I distinctly remember this game having an epic story line and I wanted to experience it for myself. That is more or less why I called it a first impression. It has been so long since I have even looked at this game, I couldn’t even tell you the entire story.
For those who do not know, Vandal Hearts is a turn based tactical RPG made for the PS1 back in 1996. What I didn’t know, was that this game was made by Konami. I literally just learned that when I went to go double check the year that Vandal Hearts was released. No wonder why it is such a good game. Anyway, getting back on track. Vandal Hearts follows Ash, a son of a traitor and member of Ishtaria’s Security Forces and his allies Diego and Clint. Throughout Chapter One (that is about as far as I have gotten), you follow the three Security Force members on their daily job, only to learn the government is corrupt and Ash and friends leave to embark on a journey to discover the truth behind the disappearance of General Magnus. This quickly spirals out of control and becomes a matter of saving the realm from falling into ruins.
The gameplay is a rather simple concept, but man does it become really difficult if you don’t strategically upgrade your characters. After level 10, you can branch your allies off on their classes. The swordsmen can become guardsmen. Your healers can become monks or bishops. Etc. Etc. Overall, the gameplay consists of being placed on a grid in the middle of a battlefield. There are conditions for victory as well as defeat. Usually, the defeat is the death of Ash, and the victory stipulations are defeating all enemies on the map. However, there are few occasions where those conditions change. I don’t know how many times I have lost simply because I am terrible at tactics. Even if I am bad at it, I still love this game. There are so many hidden secrets throughout the maps.
I simply love this game for many reasons. First and foremost, the story itself kept me wanting more. Second of all, I truly love the board game feel of this game. I love board games, so to find a video game that puts off those vibes was great in my book. Finally, the difficulty of this game made it impossible for me to put down as well. I personally like difficult games. With that being said, it’s not so difficult that it is impossible. Usually, on a tougher level, I have to redo it a maximum of three times, and I am okay with that.
I most certainly recommend this game to anyone who is looking for a difficult tactics game with an epic story. Although, you do have to appreciate the horrible graphics of a PS1 game. I, personally, don’t judge a game for its graphics because some of the best games have bad graphics. Besides, you do have to keep in mind this game was made back in 1996, so at the time, the graphics featured in the game were actually rather good. My final words of wisdom on Vandal Hearts is that if you are wanting to give it a try, you may want to find someone who has a copy as difficult as that may be. I only say this because a used copy of the game runs about $I am pretty sure a brand new copy runs about $250-$350. I lucked out and managed to get a used copy way less than that, but still was super overpriced for a playstation 1 game. You might also be able to luck out on the playstation store. I am not sure if they have a digital copy of it. Honestly, I haven’t looked. I am a sucker for physical copies of things whether they are books, movies, or video games.
Well thanks everyone for reading this. I know I couldn’t tell much of the story, but like I said, it has been so long since I have played I am not fresh with the entire story. I just recently played Chapter One. So, until next time guys. Vandal Hearts is a very much underrated game and it deserves to be heard about so thanks for taking your time to read this disaster of a first impression or review whichever you want to call it!