| Alcohol Reference, Language, Mild
| The Good
Extremely deep and challenging
Multiple campaigns to take on
More options to build your empire than you may
30 vs 30 battles play out in real time
| The Bad
Slow down in battles
Loads often, causing stuttering in voice dialog
Steep learning curve
Generation of Chaos for PSP is actually a port of
the fourth part of the Japanese strategy series from Idea
Factory. Since none of the series has seen the light of day
in North America, this PS2 to PSP port, published by NIS America,
may seem like a completely new offering. And, that is what
may catch some gamers off-guard.
As the game begins, we're told of the ending of the Dravanian
Revolution and the rise of Minister Zeo as the leader of the
Empire. Now, the Dravania Empire struggles against the other
empires in hopes of uniting the land. The story for Generation
of Chaos is presented in a unique fashion in that you
get portions of it in each of the campaigns. While cutscenes
may not progress some overall story, except in small steps,
the overall story is revealed in time as you play the different
campaigns. I especially liked how you got multiple perspectives
on the war between the different empires.
When you start a new game, you'll be given two campaigns
you can start with. The Dravania Empire campaign is a beginner
mode that one could say slowly moves you into the game. But
even since the first chapter starts with a one vs. one face-off,
most of the game mechanics may catch the player off guard.
The other campaign, the Kingdom of Zodia, throws you into
the heart of the game, where you'll have to fight hard against
multiple kingdoms at war with each other.
As you get rolling, you'll find your lands filled with castles,
towns, towers or caves. In many of these are at least one
commander. Each commander starts off with a unit of 29 soldiers
at their disposal. Early on, you'll find yourself with more
than enough units to satisfy your early-game needs. While
you can only move five units a turn, units can actually be
used for all manner of activities, so much so that you can
actually use all your units in a turn and still not use all
That's not to say you won't be moving around, as you will
need to do so to claim more territory. Why, you ask. Because
more territory equals more money and you will be needing money
in spades to pay for your troops, as each unit comes with
a certain upkeep cost. Each unit has a different move distance
and these can be affected by the terrain you're moving along.
Some units may have a hard time moving through desert or the
water, while others may be able to move much quicker.
Of course, all this moving will eventually get you into a
battle, be it random or against one of your opposing nations.
Once you get into conflict, you'll find yourself drawn to
a battlefield where your unit of 30 fights against the enemy's
unit. Each squad comes with a leader and on occasion a special
soldier that works as a secondary unique character to the
unit. The rest of the troops are all of the same type, though
there are a large variety of troops like soldiers, knights,
magicians, and hunters (just to name a few). As combat starts,
the player is allowed the option to change their formation
and even the operation order (which allows you to charge into
battle, focus on the leader or even flee the battlefield).
As both units move in on each other, you're able to change
commands and even direct them where to focus their attacks.
Your leader has skills that can be used, though they consume
SP. These skills can either be attacks or status effects.
You can purchase new skills to equip from cities you control
and even earn skills from certain equipped weapons. Each leader
also has the ability to equip a single item. Most of the time,
you'll have a green herb which can be used to give a health
boost to your unit. As the killcount builds up, the "Super"
gauge fills. When the gauge fills a level, your leader can
use their Supers, which are often powerful all-enemy attacks
or status effects. These are more powerful than skills and
can turn the tide of battle if used effectively.
There are a lot of conditions that affect whether you are
successful in battle, ranging from the time of day, why type
the battlefield is, and the bonuses that help either unit.
Of course, equipping better weapons and equipment will help
your units in battle. It may take the player some time to
really get an idea of how all these various effects do work,
but when one of your better units gets slaughtered, you're
sure to pay attention.
Outside of combat, you'll find a lot of nation-building elements
that make Generation of Chaos feel a bit like Civilization.
Most locations have fortification and market levels that can
built up by units posted in the location. The Fortification
stat is good for defending the area, while Market lets that
city/castle/etc. generate more money and offer a better shop
to the player.
There are a lot of options in the game that most may never
use, but control freaks will love to exploit. The R&D option
allows you to change the landscape of an area under your control.
You can also build forts, factories, clinics and cemeteries.
Commanders can try to set up alliances with other nations
or just send their troops into town to search for random items.
More of the more important aspects that isn't part of battle
or city maintenance is dealing with captured prisoners. When
you defeat a unit, the unit's commander is captured. With
the right amount of influence or even by just wearing them
down, you can convince most enemy commanders to join your
empire. Why would you want to do that? Well, because this
is the best way to get better, more powerful units under your
I could honestly go on and on about all the little options
available to the player when playing Generation of Chaos.
Many may only be used once or twice by the player, while others
will see constant use. Because of this, there are a lot of
menu options and commands that may overload the average player.
I would strongly suggest the player actually read through
the manual and even grab the free
mini-guide from NIS America's website to help them get
into the game. If not, a lot of people will find the difficulty
curve to be intimidating.
While the original game was a PS2 title, I think the graphics
actually make a fine transition to the PSP. It's likely that
the original game wasn't all that impressive on the home console,
but on the portable, they look rather good. The game map and
character icons look clean and detailed enough that you have
a good idea what's going on in the overworld. Battlefields
have a nice variety and the magic effects all look nice without
being overly impressive. Visually, I really like the artistic
style used with the characters and NPCs. Even some of the
low-level grunts look really cool. This translated well to
the anime cutscenes that are used for certain Super attacks.
Musically, Generation of Chaos feels largely anime
influenced, which really isn't much of a stretch considering
how the game is styled. With the art style offered and the
presence of a lot of familiar voice actors in the cast, the
music is appropriate and fits the move of the game. The sound
effects are pretty solid, especially for the genre. There
is certainly something fulfilling about listening to your
squad hacking away at the enemy forces. The voice work is
pretty solid, and anime fans will find a lot of familiar voices
I have to wonder how difficult the conversion from PS2 to
PSP is as Generation of Chaos seems to need just a
bit more optimization. There are constant load times all over
the place. While this isn't completely deal breaking, it does
manage to rear it's ugly head during cutscenes with voicework.
During these, the disc seems to always struggle to keep up
to speed, making these sequences feel stuttery. There is also
a bit of sluggishness in many of the battles, as if the engine
is having a hard time controlling the 30 vs. 30 units with
It may seem that I'm being overly critical of Generation
of Chaos, but I did really enjoy the gameplay that was
offered to me. It's nice to see that not everything in the
SRPG genre has to fall into certain turnbased RPG mechanics.
Even if the game had been optimized more and some of the mechanics
streamlined, this game would be a hard sell for most gamers.
But, for those looking for a deep and challenging strategy
title, Generation of Chaos will fit the bill.