Confusion is a strong theme in this game…
When you search for a definition of the word “Accelate” online, it is suggested that maybe you spelt accelerate wrongly. As such, I am left not really knowing what the word “Accelate” means, which is not too far removed from how I feel about the strategy RPG Blazing Souls Accelate…
The strategy RPG seems to have made its home quite firmly on Sony’s PSP handheld, with plenty of examples of the genre available for fans to play. In fact, they are pretty much the only games that still turn up on the PSP, not counting the downloadable Mini titles. The problem with this is that it means there are more than enough examples of the genre to compare Rising Star Games’ latest import with, and the game just doesn’t compare favorably.
Blazing Souls Accelate doesn’t look too bad. It has a nice mixture of hand drawn art and traditional “chibi” sprites which works well and fits perfectly into the genre. The audio work is also perfectly acceptable with a pleasant soundtrack and voices that don’t annoy. But sadly, things go slightly downhill from then on.
Things start to go wrong with the story and the characters. Things revolve around the main character, a mercenary called Zelos, who appears to gather around him other mercenaries as they travel from one job to another, eventually being set on a path that will see them saving the world. The story is fairly generic, once it gets going, but it is very difficult to invest as the characters are just horrible. So far as concepts go, the idea of making the main character and all of those round him pretty much unlikeable is an interesting idea. In practice though, and with this particular genre, it just doesn’t work and not being able to like the characters makes the game that bit more difficult to enjoy.
The actual gameplay doesn’t really fare any better. Everything seems to be overly complex, and there is very little by way of tutorial or explanation, which leaves the player stumbling in the dark for the first few hours of the game. The turn-based combat will see players going through the usual assigning of action points to attacks or skills and choosing targets. The problem is that there are all manner of other options and button presses required before the actual attack can be initiated. It is just too convoluted.
Once the player actually gets the hang of things, which will not happen quickly, the system actually allows for quite a bit of strategy. But it really is an uphill battle getting to that point. Even something as simple as exploring the world map is made complicated by forcing the player to solve clues about locations on the map, and then earn work Points to actually find them.
Then there is the character progression. Players who enjoy lists and ever expanding menus will be happy here, with tons of stuff to unlock, skills to improve characters, weapons to purchase and monsters to face and check off. Those who are less enthusiastic about this type of thing will find everything overwhelming.
Blazing Souls Accelate really is a bit of a mess. It is overly complicated and poorly explained, and only the hardcore SRPG fans with an abundance of patience will find themselves able to enjoy the game as the developers presumably intended. Fortunately, there are plenty of other examples of the SRPG genre for PSP owners to enjoy, so passing on this particular title won’t be too much of a problem.