STAFF REVIEW of Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment (Xbox 360 Arcade)


Thursday, January 28, 2010.
by Randal Santia

Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment Box art It's reunion time! Talk about digging one up! Konami returns to the Vandal Hearts franchise after a nearly 10 year hiatus. The Japanese turn-based RPG that started out for the Playstation almost 12 years ago, with a sequel 2 years later, returns with a prequel, Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment in the form of an XBLA title! The question is does it still hold up after all these years? Does it justify the 1200 Microsoft Points? Lets find out.

As mentioned the game is as a prequel to the original, putting you in the role of Tobias, one of the many orphans of "The Great War". You're at school, learning your arts when out of nowhere ( shockingly! ) bandits attack your village, and very quickly the fate of the lands are in the hands of you and a few of your classmates.

The Good. The game does a great job of sticking to it's roots. Battles place you on a grid style of map and give you goals to meet for Victory such as who must survive the fight, and the enemies that need to be killed. There are a variety of different battlefields, as well as some creative mechanics, such as rolling rocks towards a gate to break it open, or killing the enemies before a character dies, that mix the fights up and keep it interesting.

As you progress through the game, your skills increase as you use them. That is to say for every melee attack, your melee skills go up, and for each spell cast, your magic skills go up etc... This allows you to decide who's going to fill which class role for your group, and you're able to equip each character with the items that will benefit them the most. I prefer the system more to the XP / talent point style of play as it's simple, and more intuitive which is a good fit for this game, you don't need to be putting more time into skills and specs than you are into playing the actual game. It doesn't require you to scroll through 100 melee option to increase your caster's Mana pool for example. The graphics, sounds and plot all fit the bill, they're enjoyable, well done and definitely a plus to the game.


The Bad. Don't start a battle if you have a plane to catch... because you're probably going to miss it. The overall pace of the game is "laid back" to put it mildly. The Battles themselves take a long time to get through, especially when they start including upwards of 20 bandits. I once spent a fair amount of time just watching bandits move around the screen and attack me while I wondered when I was going to get another turn, only to make 2 moves and then sit and watch for another lengthy amount.

The process of actually making moves can be a little tricky as well, with a number of button presses to do something as simple as switch to ranged weapon or use an item. I felt they could have made use of a number of the unused buttons available to them rather than rely on the old system of scrolling through menu options for each character... it's vintage and nostalgic, but so is walking uphill both ways to school, and I'm pretty sure we all stopped doing that.

Another annoyance for me was the save system. It's a manual system that gives you the option to save here and there, and what struck me as just silly was that should you decide not to take that choice, because say you plan on playing for awhile longer, and then two battles down the line you are defeated you end up having no option but to load your last save point. Unheard of? no... but how hard is to offer the player to retry the failed battle? Having to go back and redo a 20 minute battle you have already won because you didn't want to save seems like excessive punishment for getting your rear handed to you.

Lastly... if I ever see those loading screens again, it'll be too soon! Some of them were longer than the story telling screen that follows it, only to go back to a loading screen right after it! Again... nostalgia I don't need.

The Way I See It: An enjoyable visit to an old friend that you liked so much, and didn't need to be reminded of his annoying qualities. If you like the genre & series, you should give it a go!

Don't Forget!: Demos are free



Suggestions:
Player convenience goes a long way. I find the constant menuing, loading, and waiting, just takes away from an otherwise solid game


Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10

Comments

Latest News








See News Archives

Top Community Gamerscores

1. CrazyCougar - 237,493
2. Symmetric - 151,561
3. Variation-XBA - 107,081
4. Enamelized420-XBA - 50,720
5. Silent-XBA - 43,232
6. oryanphine - 38,466
7. Kamshaft-XBA - 35,764
8. Soda Jones - 27,778
9. Casper - 27,710
10. Highlite23 - 21,904
11. ShannonX - 20,400
12. RudedogX - 16,420
13. GameGodX3 - 10,660
14. BigJosh359 - 10,255
15. Kraft - 7,945
16. pierrevincy - 3,235
17. Sam-XBA - 2,170
18. TheMaddenManiac - 1,135
19. Flood - 0

Community Forum Activity

Twitch Streams
Post by xrag3r7
0 Replies, 113 Views

Manette Xbox One Battlefield Hardline
Post by oryanphine
0 Replies, 152 Views

Thursday March 12th 8pm Est \5Pm PSt The Jackbox #XboxOne
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 254 Views

30 days in this forum.
Post by rose61
1 Replies, 311 Views

Xbox One Edition Spciale The Witcher 3 a gagner
Post by oryanphine
0 Replies, 816 Views

XboxAddict.com is saying goodbye after 15 years
Post by Kamshaft-XBA
32 Replies, 1834 Views

Playdate tonight 8pm Est Game title: TBD
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 348 Views

Halo Master Chief Collection tonight 8PM EST
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 441 Views

Wall-E faceplate(s) for sale
Post by gh0st_r1der
0 Replies, 488 Views

Titanfall Playdate tonight.
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 454 Views

Halo MCC Tuesday night 8-11 EST
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 486 Views

Plants Vs Zombies tonight 8pm EST
Post by Kiesey78
0 Replies, 566 Views

Hello
Post by gh0st_r1der
14 Replies, 1283 Views

Rayman's Legends
Post by l Maximus l
2 Replies, 858 Views

Join my new biker crew on gtaV
Post by xrag3r7
0 Replies, 766 Views

Site Statistics

Registered Members: 58,570
Forum Posts: 739,261
Xbox One Titles: 82
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,084
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 583
Xbox Titles: 847
Staff Reviews: 1,328
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 12,607
Screenshots: 27,437
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706
© 2000-2015 XboxAddict.com - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. XboxAddict.com is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics