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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

十三機兵防衛圏

Developer: Vanillaware Publisher: Atlus
28 November 2019
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim [十三機兵防衛圏] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.06 / 5.0
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345 Ratings / 4 Reviews
#134 All-time
#6 for 2019
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2019 Vanillaware Atlus  
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Title
Twists and turns.
Been discovering lately the incredible games that vanillaware has under their resume, and I finally arrive at 13 Sentinels, which is clearly the best I have played from them, but at the same time so different. Considering that the studio usually focuses on core gameplay first, 13 sentinels can be regarded as a graphic novel, with some tower defense sequences that are mandatory to move the story alone. The focus is however definitly on the graphic novel, that comprising of easily over 75% of the runtime and being almost mechanically divorced from the tower defence sequences.

The visual style and sound of the game is sublime. It features that very aesthetically pleasing vanillaware style, that somehow manages to pour huge amount of charm and expressiveness into 2d character models. Even if the story and writing is incredible, the character designs themselves help to add a lot of impact, depth and personality into the game. The game also features some good orchestral score.

The game is definitly very bold in the way that it approaches narrative design. The game has 13 protagonists, and you can follow each individual story. Early on its a bit hard to follow along since the story being told is really complex, but as you gradually start uncovering what is happening its clear how much care was placed into making sure everything fits and is explained. Now, even if there are 13 protagonists, some of the characters definitly hold a greater importance to the overall narrative than others, and that is also a bit reflect in their individual stories. The game offers a lot of in game archives for a player to check back on and reflect what is happening so far. The story has a lot of sci fi and anime tropes, but even the it comes up with surprising twists and honestly keeps such a good pacing of its core mystery that its hard to put down. It absolutly glued me to the game for a period of just over a week.

Besides the strenght of the overall narrative and mystery, the characters themselves are also well written. Each is given a lot of depth, nuance and ulterior motives. The game knows how to deliver funny moments, tragedy, joy and whole broad of emotions, and that is only really possible because of how you start to care about each individual personality and want the story resolved in the best way for them.

The turrent segments are the gameplay aspect of the title, and early on feel a bit divorced from the story. It also doesnt help that the tutorial sections is way too lenght, and the initial area is also too easy and doesnt really reenforce the mechanicall depth of the game. However when areas 2 and 3 come around the difficulty spikes, and the game really starts to shine as a RTS. Each of the protagonists has a mech of the 4 available classes. You can upgrade the mechs through meta coins found by completing the graphic novel section of the gamee and the turrent defence squirmishes. This way you can really develop the tactical RPG side of the game, specialize every unit but at the same time having the need to boolster everyone as you can only deploy the same unit twice to battle (and must forcefully rest in the next one). As the game starts throwing you huge waves of boolstrered enemies its very satisfying to completly wipe them out with well coordenated attacks and upgraded abilities. I wished that they went further with this in the main story, as there is a lot of untapped potential with the gameplay they came up here, just needed more challenges for the player to beat with whats on offer.

The strenght of the characterization also flows into the gameplay, as the mech class fit for each of the 13 pilots matches their personalities, and again makes you care much more to how their perform in battle.

I had been meaning to play this one for a long time, and when that happens I always feel for disapppointment. Thats not the case in here, actually the game surpass my expectation when it comes to the strenght of the writing, pacing and mystery of the story. Even the often criticized turret defense sequences were much more involving and exciting than what I was hoping. Definitly amogst the very best of 2019, which itself is probably the best gaming year in recent times.
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Threntall 2024-05-31T12:12:36Z
2024-05-31T12:12:36Z
5.0
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An odd game, with two disparate halves. One is a side-scrolling sci-fi adventure/visual novel about a cast of Japanese high-school kids, told in 5 to 15 minute-ish fragments scattered across space and time and connected in ways that take a long time to become clear. It's hard to discuss the plot in any detail without getting into spoilers, but while I found the premise and structure compelling and enjoyed the mystery slowly unraveling itself, ultimately the mystery is more interesting than its resolution, and once the full picture comes into focus, the latter third of the game started to drag on a little. The other half of 13 Sentinels is a sort of real-time strategy tower defense game. While it's adequate in giving this game a "gameplay" component as opposed to just listening to dialog for 30 hours, I'm not sure it would stand as a particularly compelling game on its own merits, but the designers seem to realize this and dialed in the amount of combat to a degree where it doesn't detract from the narrative parts. The art style and presentation are strong points here. Ultimately, the narrative didn't stick the landing for me, but I still enjoyed my time in 13 Sentinels' odd little universe.
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blargh4 2024-01-29T19:19:31Z
2024-01-29T19:19:31Z
4.0
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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is not really what I expected. Granted I was very hyped up because it's Atlus published and the high ratings, I was expecting something in the line of Persona and SMT complexity even if it's more in the strategy realm. To my surprise it's more of an adventure game, and the strategy battles or more of an addition on top of it and aren't really the core of the game although essential to complete.

The story is actually very complex and it's told through flashbacks of 13 different main characters, and you get to have the option to choose which one you are progressing in just about any order (with some minor unlock restriction). After the long prologue you also have the option to switch between the Adventure (story) parts and the battles. The battles happen in the present, but you don't really know why they are fighting in these huge robots until you progress more of the story, so it's up to you to balance it out properly. The story of the game is actually very good and I would say the main draw here, it's hard to explain without spoiling anything but there's many occasions where certain reveals happens and they make you re-assess everything you have learned so far and make you view the game world in a completely different way.

The adventure parts aren't very challenging to progress as the more you talk with people you gain some thoughts that you can initiate conversations with on certain key NPCs, and that's how things progress. The story segments vary in length from a few minutes to some very longer ones, but keep in mind that there's a ton of them and the game does take 30+ hours to complete (I clocked in at 39 hours myself). The disappointing aspect of the game is the battles themselves, it's sort of a defend the core strategy of which you control 6 mechs (sentinels) where you need to defeat the invading enemies. Its shortcomings and limitations show very quickly, after a few battles you kind of know what to expect next and it's mostly just repetition of the same strategies. The game does offer a lot of customization in which abilities you want to equip and upgrade on your sentinels, but it's mostly just about buffing them as high as possible with all the credits you are making from battles and story progression.

Overall 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a pretty unique game, and unlike any other I've played before. I do not consider it a masterpiece as there's some pretty apparent flaws in it, but I did enjoy my time with it and it's pretty good story to unveil until the end. Not essential Atlus and not a reason to get a PS4 (or Switch), but if you already have access to one of those it's certainly not a bad pick and worth getting. My only advice would be to go in expecting a story heavy adventure game and not your typical Atlus RPG complexity.
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diction 2023-10-15T21:01:27Z
2023-10-15T21:01:27Z
3.5
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It's a very fun experience, but it sacrifices emotional impact for mystery. It leaves a lot to be filled in by the player, which is a double-edged sword. It's really cool to figure out what's going on, but there are so many interesting ideas in this game that are just not fleshed out - multiple scenes I could have seen myself crying at, in a different game. And, without getting into spoilers, the mystery doesn't resolve cleanly, tied in a nice bow. And what is the point of the story? Is there any message here beyond it's - admittedly cool - mystery?

The game is also long, and drags at times. I managed to finish it because I was sick - had I been working a 9-5, this game would never have been finished, because playing a short session will sometimes reward you with no new information, only things you had already figured out. And that can only happen a few times before you get worn out.

I played the Defense portion at Intense difficulty, and it was quite fun. This part of the game isn't going to be what anyone picks the game up for, I imagine, but despite that it doesn't feel like an afterthought.

I'm comparing this game, in my mind, mostly to visual novels, or other games where the story is the main focus. I've played games that make me question the world around me, that make me cry, that pose tough questions that I think about for weeks. This game was a fun time, but next week I will be thinking about something else.
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yeomanvidya 2022-07-16T13:35:54Z
2022-07-16T13:35:54Z
3.5
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Excellent visual novel/strategy rpg hybrid. Some of the character stories are a little underwhelming compared to the others, and in honesty the combat sections are serviceable at best, but when you see the forest for the trees you get rewarded with a fantastic experience that'll make you wish you could mindwipe and play it for the first time again.
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By far, the most successful "lots of individual stories with partial perspectives, piece together the truth yourself" visual novel. 13 Sentinels proves that good writing isn't just prose, it's the ability to juggle a wide swarth of characters and plot twists without losing readers. The tower defense is actually fun and easy, while not compromising the story focus as much as I expected.
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Catalog

Tarafaeryn 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-06-12T15:15:12Z
2024-06-12T15:15:12Z
5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Jcoley19 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-06-07T20:16:14Z
2024-06-07T20:16:14Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tinkol 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-06-05T04:32:37Z
2024-06-05T04:32:37Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Miralles19 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-06-04T00:20:46Z
2024-06-04T00:20:46Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ggng 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-06-01T22:02:59Z
2024-06-01T22:02:59Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ranzac 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim 2024-06-01T21:12:36Z
PS4 • XNA
2024-06-01T21:12:36Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
0827oconnor 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-06-01T16:34:20Z
2024-06-01T16:34:20Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rippeul 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-05-31T21:07:27Z
2024-05-31T21:07:27Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Threntall 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-05-31T12:12:36Z
2024-05-31T12:12:36Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
CloudStrife1984 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim 2024-05-25T04:47:53Z
PS4
2024-05-25T04:47:53Z
90
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
digital roman Strategy
blossomburst 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-05-24T22:38:03Z
2024-05-24T22:38:03Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Maliptail 十三機兵防衛圏 2024-05-23T11:10:46Z
2024-05-23T11:10:46Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: C
Player modes
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  • Previous comments (42) Loading...
  • IceKiller159 2024-01-10 08:58:13.862736+00
    The trash gameplay you gotta slog through to get to the actual interesting part brings this game down so much it's unreal
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  • A_BirbLookedAtMe 2024-01-23 09:33:19.443472+00
    I just 100% the game after 40 hours on my first playthrough
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  • A_BirbLookedAtMe 2024-01-23 09:33:34.848663+00
    As a newbie to rts the tower defense sections were real hard, even in Normal mode
    reply
    • Jaxijin 2024-03-06 16:26:20.845319+00
      I don't play many RTS games either so was coasting pretty well until the big difficulty spike in the third area. But grinding for metachips to max out your character attacks and upping your generator stats made a world of a difference for me. Also I realized really late in the game that leg spike attacks from the 3rd/4th gen sentinels do insanely high damage to high-armoured kaiju and I used them to more quickly wipe out the stronger enemies in those final levels (particularly useful since they can fly across the map more efficiently).
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  • A_BirbLookedAtMe 2024-01-23 09:33:54.792654+00
    as someone who doesn't watch a lot of anime a lot of the common tropes made me really uncomfortable
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  • A_BirbLookedAtMe 2024-01-23 09:34:57.967174+00
    The ending made me emotional but overall I wish the game had focused less on its endless mysteries. It's undoubtedly satisfying to put two and two together, but I think the cast could have used a bit more emotional weight to make their endings individually pay off
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  • A_BirbLookedAtMe 2024-01-23 09:35:09.218957+00
    Super Large Missile go brrr
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  • Jaxijin 2024-02-12 19:32:35.120835+00
    Practically every review of this game dunks on the RTS segments and I'm actually finding them super addictive and fun? Like to the point where I am bummed I have beaten every available mission and have to go back to the adventure mode. Wasn't expecting this at all ha
    reply
    • TimeVault 2024-03-04 23:00:19.63443+00
      was the same for me haha
    • Jaxijin 2024-03-06 16:22:06.025432+00
      The mission where Seaside Vacation kicks in was possibly my favourite moment of this whole game. Loved this damn game.
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  • suddenlywolf 2024-06-05 03:56:47.168366+00
    huge spoilers: shout out to this being a time travel game with basically no time travel at all
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