13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim review: Stunning multiple narrative RPG is an epic sci-fi adventure – Eugene Sowah

Vanillaware’s epic sci-fi adventure 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim finally arrives on the Nintendo Switch

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim trailer from Nintendo Switch

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Selected StarSelected StarSelected StarSelected StarUnselected star

Vanillaware is known for its intense 2D action RPGs that always carry a stunning art style.

This is why the initial release of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim on the Playstation 4 surprised fans, who weren’t expecting a narrative-driven real-time strategy game.

But after being so well received, Vanillaware is releasing 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim on the Nintendo Switch.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a Sci-Fi adventure that follows a special group of teenagers that fight against monstrous Kaiju called Deimos while piloting giant robots called Sentinels.

The story is split into different arcs that follow each of the students, who all come from a different times in history.

But not is all as it seems and this is where the 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim’s amazing storytelling really shines through with amazing twists and turns resulting in a stellar piece of science fiction.







13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is an epic Sci-fi adventure
(

Image:

Vanillaware / Atlus)

Juggling thirteen protagonists is a herculean effort that could easily fail at the first hurdle, but Vanillaware did a fantastic job with each of the character’s development allowing them all to stand out from each other.

All of the characters felt just as important as the next and seeing all their interactions and relationships unfold is a sheer joy to watch.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim does feel very much like an anime, especially with its episodic story pacing that teases big moments at the end of each character’s section which you are allowed to play at any single time.

The game may have a simple premise but it is so much deeper than that and the overall narrative will leave players speechless.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim features Vanillaware’s signature anime style but with a much more subtle colour palette.

The use of light and colour has been well implemented to recreate fantastic versions of Japan in different eras.

The game is stunning with the hand-painted art style looking like a sensational living visual novel.







The game focuses on 13 teenagers from different eras
(

Image:

Vanillaware / Atlus)

The character designs aren’t as elaborate as what we have come to expect from Vanillaware but are more grounded, fitting the narrative well.

On the other side, the Deimos and Sentinels look simply fantastic, overflowing with originality and intricate detail.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is simply a stunning game that’s a testament to Vanillaware’s amazing work.

My only issue is the combat sections don’t look as stylish as the rest of the game with each character being represented by neon icons rather than character models.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim has dual audio with both Japanese and English voiceovers being available. The heartfelt voiceover performances for each character sound amazing during the entire duration of the game.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is split into different segments which make up the overall narrative. The Remembrance segments put the player in 2D side-scrolling environments where they have to interact with other characters and other elements.







13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim has a heavy focus on narrative with combat taking the back seat
(

Image:

Vanillaware / Atlus)

Most of the action is driven by choices the players make that will progress the stories. There are several elements that move in real-time, but can be affected by the player’s choices.

Players will play out a section from each of the thirteen characters’ perspectives which they can switch at any given time.

The game uses a system called the Thought cloud database that can be used to trigger new dialogue by speaking the correct keyword to certain characters.

The game does a good job of limiting the number of interactive elements on screen so players can focus on the narrative.

The way the game unfolds the narrative is simply amazing by drip-feeding plot points from multiple perspectives and knowing when to halt the progression of a particular character.

Each of the thirteen characters will be able to pilot a giant robot called a Sentinel in the battle mode, also known as the Destruction section.







Each of the characters will have their own story to tell while forming bonds with others
(

Image:

Vanillaware / Atlus)

The combat takes place in a top-down real-time strategy setting, with up to six characters fending off waves of Kaiju while the remaining protect the Aegis from destruction.

Each mission will also have an extra objective that will allow the player to earn more rewards.

Combat will mainly consist of players picking a team made up of the Sentinels from four generations that can counter the types of Kaiju that are attacking.

Each Sentinel has its own strength and special ability, however, players will be able to customise them to defeat multiple types of enemies.







The 13 pilots have very unique traits
(

Image:

Vanillaware / Atlus)

My main issue with combat is that the difficulty spike isn’t consistent, as some battles are really intense while others are really straightforward, even in the latter part of the game.

There is a hard difficulty setting that can be used if players require a consistent challenge.

At the end of each battle, the characters used will receive a ranking depending on how well they defended the city and the Aegis.

Characters will be rewarded Metachips that can be used to upgrade the sentinels and the terminal. Characters will also level up independently of the meta chips system, unlocking new abilities.







Combat takes place in an real time strategy environment
(

Image:

Vanillaware / Atlus)

The final part of the gameplay is called Analysis which takes the form of an index where players can see information about different events, people, items and concepts.

There are also mystery files that will be unlocked by progressing through the game. This mode is a handy tool that will help players decipher clues and get to the truth behind everything.

Verdict

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a very different game from what Vanillaware has released in the past, but this is a great showcase of what they are capable of.

The narrative is a fantastic piece of science fiction that can easily work as an anime or feature film.

It’s simply amazing that the developers have intertwined all these different narratives without feeling overly complex.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch with portability being an essential feature to get the most out of this title.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is out for the Nintendo Switch on 12 April

Read More

Read More