Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth Hands-On

Following in the footsteps of games like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics, Hoshigami is a Japanese-developed tactics game. Check out our hands-on impressions for more info.

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Hoshigami is a strategy simulation game with a medieval fantasy setting. Though Hoshigami was definitely influenced by games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, the game has several unique features that set it apart from the other games in the strategy simulation genre. The beta version mainly focused on demonstrating the use of session attack, which is the game's version of the chain attack. There were five different stages, and each mission objective involved the use of the session attack.

While there is definitely a storyline, the meat of the game is the complex battle system. The game features a RAP (ready-to-action point) gauge and a queue gauge that help you determine which of your party members is ready to perform an action. Although the game is turn-based, each character's turn sequence is dependent on the actions he or she performs, much like Final Fantasy Tactic's combat system. When actually attacking an enemy, a timed attack gauge appears atop the attacking character. Stopping the gauge when it's full delivers the most damage, but you can also shoot the enemies if you stop the gauge in the "shoot" range. The shoot function is important when executing the session attack. Enemies who have been shot are pushed two grids away from the attacking character in the direction that character is facing. If another party member is within range of the moved character and has preselected the session command, that party member will also shoot the enemy. Lining up several party members with the session command preselected in the proper places can result in huge session combos, as you can attack an enemy with as many party members as you currently have.

You have to be extremely precise to pull off session combos, and successfully performing a six-session-attack combo is actually quite a chore. Upon starting the battle, you have to decide where to strategically place your seven party members based on the enemies' positions. This is easily the most important part of the battle, as you'll need to have your characters placed exactly right to perform session attacks. The game will also feature magic spells, which are called "coin fame."

The graphics are highly reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics - characters and enemies are 2D sprites that interact with 3D polygonal backgrounds. You'll be able to rotate the field map in 45-degree intervals using the L1 and L2 buttons. The graphics definitely feel dated, and they're slightly subpar when compared with more recent PlayStation releases. Hopefully Hoshigami's gameplay will outshine its mediocre graphics. The game is expected to release in Japan this October.

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