In Grand Kingdom, you’ll need to step up and take your place in the war. Sign your contract and get ready to take up arms for your chosen nation!
With great thanks to NIS America, I was invited to take part in the Grand Kingdom early beta. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this for quite some time now, so I quickly jumped in to play when I had the chance. What I have here are my thoughts on what I played within the Beta.
One of the big focuses in the Grand Kingdom Beta is the online portion of the game, however in order to get to the online part you will need to progress through the first bits of the storyline first. In this story section, you will receive a basic tutorial as to how to play, and you’ll receive a basic introduction to the characters. You will get an opportunity to name both your character and your squad, and since I’m boring I stuck with the default names for both.
Combat in Grand Kingdom plays out in a turn-based strategy sort of way. Both you and your enemies will be placed on a horizontal field that is composed of 3 different rows with you on one side of the field and the enemy on the other side.
When it gets to one of your character’s turns, you will have the opportunity to move them around the field before initiating your attack. While the Beta only gives you access to four of the classes, the full game will feature a large variety of classes for your to choose from and recruit. The fighter is your up-front tanky sort of character, and attacking with him takes a fair bit of getting used to. Other than the fighter, you will also have access to a mage, a medic, and an archer. Once you’ve moved your characters around – should you choose to do so – you will be able to use one of the abilities that you have equipped at the time.
Unfortunately, the tutorial is a bit lacking in telling you anything but the very basics of combat, and from watching war replays and the enemies, there is definitely a lot of complexity that isn’t told to you. One of the big things I saw was comboing properly with the fighter. Whenever I was controlling him, I would always miss with some of the hits, but the AI was always able to land all of the hits.
Other than physical attacks, you’ll also be able to use some ranged attacks. You need to be careful with these, though, as they can hit your own party members as well. One type of attack will hit targets in the row that your character is in, and another will let you land multiple hits at once if you’re able to time them right. The mage’s version of the row attack will require charging to use, and if they’re hit and knocked back during this charge, they won’t use the attack at all. You do need to be careful with how much you use some of these attacks too as they have a limit on charges per mission.
Recruiting new party members is fairly simple. While you’re in the guild, you can go into the recruitment section to look between who is available at the time. As I said, the Beta only let’s you choose between fighter, mage, archer, and medic, but you will be able to get a glance at some of the other’s that are in the game. Once you’ve chosen the person you wish to recruit, you can change around how they look (unfortunately there is no “random” option), but this is somewhat limiting as there’s only 8 or so colours per option (three for skin tone). Once you chosen their look, you’ll be able to assign skill points to them. How many skill points each character starts with seems to be somewhat random, and you will get more as you level up. After all that, you’ll finally need to pay the fee to recruit them into your party.
After you’ve completed the first few storyline missions – all that’s available in the Beta – you’ll finally gain access to the online portion of the game. This online portion will let you sign a contract for whichever nation you choose for a certain number of wars (or, in other words, days). Once you’ve signed a contract with a nation, you’ll be able to send your troops out to fight for them, either with you controlling them or them going on their own. I only ever sent them out on their own and only ever came back with them losing, which does at least still give some experience.
The other perk of signing a contract with a nation is that you’ll be able to go visit them and buy exclusive items. While you can visit the other nations, you won’t be able to visit their shop, and their materials market will have increased prices. Other than that, there’s a part of town in which you can talk with some townsfolk and they will grant you little quests to exchange around materials you might have.
After playing the Beta – the story part lasted me around 2 hours – I am definitely still looking forward to playing this game when it comes out in late June. I am definitely interested in playing around even more with the combat system so that I can try and figure out the little tricks to it. I’m still somewhat unsure as to which version of the game I will be aiming to try and get, but from my experience with it on the PS4, it definitely played very smoothly. I was very impressed with what I saw during my time playing, though I do wish that the tutorials helped explain certain things better so that I wasn’t just left there wondering what the AI just did.
Grand Kingdom (Beta) Initial Thoughts
Grand Beta is available now for pre-order from Amazon for PS4 and Vita.
I would like to thank NIS America for providing me with a code for access into the beta of the game.