13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

released on Nov 28, 2019

Uncover the truth and delve into a 2D sidescrolling adventure featuring gorgeous art and environments. Then, battle the kaiju in fast-paced, top-down combat. Customize the Sentinels with an arsenal of mechsuit weaponry, and fight to defend humanity!

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El futuro de las VN, el apartado visual es una locura de bonito.

Overlong, uselessly redundant, extremely convoluted. It mixes hundreds (literally: hundreds) of sci-fi clichés, it explores 13 different plots and respective characters, all intertwined. Multiple realities, different timelines, ai, cyborgs, mecha, aliens, seriously this is one of the most chaotically unbearable narrative worlds I've ever been exposed to.
Gameplaywise, it's both a visual novel and a turn-based strategy game. The former provides you with the chunks of story and information you're missing in real time, and therefore transforms dialogues and exploration in too-often machinic procedures, in which you just try different choices over and over again just to see what happens (and you spend more time staring at diagrams and game menus than being immersed in the story). The latter is so aesthetically uninteresting, so slow, and so dramatically repetitive that you cannot but miss being forced to go over the same dialogues over and over again instead of fighting kaijus - which is, on paper, just unbelievable.
The art style is its best feature. But despite things have improved since other Vanillaware games, the artworks are still so oversexualised you just cannot take them seriously. Even allegedly dramatic scenes become tragicly funny.

This review contains spoilers

For the short review, the art and story makes this game. The gameplay is fine, and there isn't a whole lot of inconsistencies other than it being weird. The characters are also pretty good, with some exceptions obviously. For the long part, the story is very confusing in the start, almost too confusing. The only real reason I understand it is because of Renya Gouto's storyline. It gives too many different elements/ stories in the beginning to keep up with. It is almost impossible. One can easily go through half of the game and not know what is going on. However, the elements of the story are captivating, they just introduce lots of concepts that can lead to different (and incorrect) theories very quickly. For example, Yakushiji's story can make her seem like she is doing good and bad every single chapter, and it is difficult to pinpoint in my case. The main problem here is the player doesn't know WHAT or WHO the problem is, which could be purposeful, but if so it needs to be dialed down. The matrix part in Minami's story is the only real defining event where the player can see what is actually going on. That is the main complaint I have here, everything else was pretty great. The genre of the story and the gameplay were good, as well as the characters and world building. The clear star of the show here is the art, which is probably why some people actually completed the game in the first place. TLDR; if it sounds interesting to you, play it. It isn't a GOTY, but still a good and interesting experience that is different than any other.

A masterclass in Sci-fi storytelling. It's been a while since a game story captivated me THIS much. I loved the twists on common troupes. The structure and the way the plot is told was so addicting and the gameplay was decent too. And of course the presentation and music are gorgeous.
VERY SUBJECTIVE CHARACTER THOUGHTS, (not ordered in each rank)
Ei: great mistery setup and engaging plot, he's just cool
Ogata: Most fun plot setup with a great ending, love him
Kurabe: best plot twist, cool lore
Hijiyama: best dynamic, gameplay a bit repetitive
Shu: Really grew on me, best lore and great twists
Yuki: cool setup and great dynamics
Miura: underrated af, lowkey my fav
Nanami: worst prologue but grew on me
Ryoko: best design, great development
Gouto: not as fleshed out as I would like, his story is just exposition dumps
Megumi: Both fun AND boring setup but has a great dynamic and best ending, she a bit dumb tho😭
Iori: worst gameplay and kinda forgetful tbh
Tomi: Very important plotwise yet I'm really neutral about her idk

I'm always wary of media that presents itself as mysterious and full of plot twists. It's easy for them to use those twists as a crutch instead of interesting story and characters and become self-parody. For example, I don't think Zero Escape games work, and the last one might just have the worst twist I've ever seen.
Aegis Rim isn't like that, and while it bombards you with plot twists, underneath it all is quite an enjoyable story. However, especially around 25-75% of progression through the game it was way too easy to just not care about the plot when it throws another revelation at you. I'll give you trope spoilers for everything game uses. Some of them turn out to be not real after being used as a hypothesis, some are used multiple times, but this game features: Time travel, alternative dimensions, clones, robots in humans, humans in robots, fake humans, AIs, aliens, simulated reality, and more.
So at a certain point you just go along with it and not bother, especially in a game where story is presented so non-linearly. Underneath it all, however, is a pretty enjoyable and cozy slice of life melodrama. It's not too anime in its sense of humor, but I do find that ladies are written much worse than dudes. The game's fairly progressive, featuring homosexual relationships and non-binary character, but I do find that almost every girl has just love on her mind, and said love manifests in a very similar way. Not to say guys don't fall in love in this game, but they're more different about their approach and are allowed to be lovable dipshits as opposed to swooning schoolgirls. Not every relationship works and some feel like a start of a blooming abusive relationship, so frankly, I don't see a point in getting everyone into neat couples. It doesn't add much, and stories where characters aren't as interested in love are by far most interesting ones.
The worst part of the game is the actual game part which takes place after most of the story where you fight what's called "Kaijus" in a RTS mini-game. It's incredibly simple and boring. Seeing numbers go up is satisfying, but at a certain point I switched to the easiest skill to ensure I'll get all S ranks and rewards because I just didn't want to see it anymore.
I also wish character designers who are unabashedly horny would get paired up with straight ladies or queer people, because the amount of almost-boobs in this game is staggering compared to nothing you get if you like guys. There is one character who does nothing but breasts boobily in every scene she's in, but, like, if you have to have your highschoolers naked, maybe do so for everyone. Kinda weird to see a portrait of a girl naked lying with her ass up when the guys get a naked shoulder at most. Thankfully none of it is "words and deeds" shit, even though there's an explanation for why everyone's naked inside a robot. It's clearly just a horny-ass designer, and I respect it much more than whatever sitcom-ass situations some people think of to show a leg.
Overall, I've enjoyed this game, but I think most VNs I've played recently (The Great Ace Attorney and Paranormasight) are better. Still, it's fun. Took me a full day to complete it and I don't regret it. I do wish there were fewer plot twists because just characters interacting or someone having a one continuous journey through their plot were the best parts as opposed to someone having 7 revelations in a row during a non-linear story.

One of the best experiences i had on the PS4!
Its a crime its not on PC!
Love the characters and story, and the gameplay is nothing to be shrugged too!