An RPG that’s far from child’s play

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Take a tac­ti­cal role-play­ing game, such as Final Fan­tasy Tac­tics or Shin­ing Force, blend it with Magic: The Gath­er­ing, and you’ll get a sense of what Chil­dren Of Zodiarcs has to of­fer. Turn­based bat­tles play out on grid-based 3D plains, driven by a colour­ful nar­ra­tive which sees your force, a band of three down-and­out kids, fend­ing off against everyone from royal guards to ri­val gangs.

Vic­tory never de­pends solely on player tac­tics, as even the best-laid plans, con­jured up by the most skilled of nog­gins, can be laid to waste by an un­for­tu­nate hand of cards or an un­lucky dice roll. Cards de­ter­mine what ac­tions a char­ac­ter can take, in­clud­ing at­tacks (melee, ranged, and magic), heal­ing, and spe­cial abil­i­ties. Dice are rolled af­ter a card is played, and can of­fer bonuses, such as ex­tra dam­age or ad­di­tional moves, that can se­ri­ously turn the tide of bat­tle. 1 It’s an in­tri­cate game of strat­egy, spliced with an el­e­ment of risk-ver­sus-re­ward that re­mark­ably ramps up the ten­sion.

Each party mem­ber has their own set of cards and dice, which can be customised and up­graded. 2 Most mis­sions of­fer a sat­is­fy­ing chal­lenge, but the oc­ca­sional dif­fi­culty spike means that some scuffles are un­fairly over­whelm­ing. Skir­mishes give you the op­por­tu­nity to bat­tle in ar­eas you’ve pre­vi­ously vis­ited, but these dish out woe­fully min­i­mal amounts of ex­pe­ri­ence.

De­spite the some­times un­bal­anced chal­lenge it presents, Chil­dren Of Zodiarcs is a bril­liant tribute to tac­ti­cal RPGs of old, with the table­top el­e­ments adding a fresh and en­gag­ing twist to the beloved genre. Anne-Marie Coyle

FOOTNOTES1 Rerolling al­lows you to gam­ble for a bet­ter out­come, if you’re feel­ing par­tic­u­larly gutsy. 2 You can cus­tomise in­di­vid­ual dice faces, to play to the strength of your char­ac­ter’s cards.

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