Prepare the armies
I got a chance to play an early build of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters on Thursday. While much of the text wasn't complete, the game was playable with only a few questions regarding character classes and names.
The first thing I wanted to do was make my own army. Soul Nomad pulled on my heartstrings for Ogre Battle's party design and configuration. I had watched the current three parties in a previous battle and decided one was fairly week. After I dismantled that party, I went about building my own.
Parties are created in a room. Rooms can be drawn up from a list in random order, so it can take time to find one that's right for the party's needs. A room decides the number of members that can be in the party as well as the formation options. Each room is a 3x3 grid, with only certain sections of the grid usable. In addition to the unit count and formation, each room has an item attached to it, which gives it a specific characteristic. The room I finally selected had six slots usable, two in each row (front, middle, back), on the left and right sides, with the middle wide open. The special characteristic was one of stamina (STM) recovery, allowing it to travel long distances without tiring as much.
This game needs more cowbell!
Every class has set action, based on which row the character is placed in. Not all classes have actions for every row, so placement is very important. I chose two Knights for the front for protection, Archers in the middle for ranged attack, and a Cleric and Saboteur (leader) in the back row. A cleric is essential as they are the main healing force in the game. There are weak items available, but only for special situations.
I entered the next stage to find multiple octopi spreading across a huge map. They surprised me with a ranged attack called Riptide, which ripped one of my armies apart rather quickly. I sent the survivors on kamikaze runs to take out as many as they could, and they did a good job, taking down three octopi with the help of special attacks. Each party has a list of special attacks, depending on the member combinations. Finding out my newly designed party was able to counter with their own ranged attack; I was well equipped to handle the onslaught of octopi that continued to appear on the map. The people at NIS America said I was going to have a hard time, but because of my new party, I actually cleared the stage with relative ease, especially considering my lack of experience with the game.
Even without knowing much of the story, Soul Nomad's gameplay makes the game one I am highly looking forward to playing again. It's one of those games where victory may be decided before the battle even starts; a true cerebral challenge. I hope this holds true for the final product as well.