Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault Review

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Title: Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault
Developer: Acquire, Aksys Games (Publisher)
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 751 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail
EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: 
Yes

 

The Tower Defense genre I wouldn’t say is my favorite genre, but it’s got a lot of fun.  I certainly had a ton of fun with the Crystal Defenders PSP demo back last generation.  I just don’t play the genre too often, as is known for how late this review is being posted (Much apologies to Aksys Games for taking so long on this).

There is one tower defense game that I’ve known about for the PS Vita for quite some time, and that is a title known as Metropolis Defenders.  It received a free demo in Japan, which I’d actually added to my PlayStation TV Compatibility List a long while back.  Unbeknownst to me, the title was coming West, and I knew it was coming West.  I just didn’t realize it right away.

The realization hit me when I got this press copy of a title called Aegis of Earth from Aksys Games.  Upon loading it, it looked strikingly similar to Metropolis Defenders.  Not long went by before I realized it was the same game, but with a different name.  So, here is my official review of Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault!

Story

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The story of Aegis of Earth goes around a post-apocalyptic world in constant worry and danger of attack from giant monsters of various kind.  You come in as a new commander in the ranks of the military, in charge of not only protecting cities from monster invasion, but also helping the cities to grow.

To assist you in this, almost all of the technological advances of what’s left of mankind are spent on defense and assault technology to constantly keep monsters at bay from tearing down what little remains of the human race.

That’s about as far as the story goes.  It’s not a bad setup, but given how much dialogue is thrown into the game, there’s a definite lack of really developing on the plotline.

Gameplay

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Aegis of Earth is, at its heart, a tower defense game, and that’s really what it is.  There are some other elements thrown in, like the normal strategy elements of tower defense, but also some RPG elements with your crew characters and whatnot.  So, I’d call it tower defense with RPG elements thrown into the mix.

Progression in the game basically takes you through various cities/towns.  You spend time with one city for a good while, doing missions to defend and develop it and whatnot, and eventually you’ll move onto another.  This progression goes throughout pretty much the entire game, so once you get through one city, you know how the game will keep proceeding.

Actual missions will proceed in two different phases.  You will have a planning phase and a combat phase.  The planning phase allows you to use earned resources on weaponry for defense as well as being able to develop parts of your city in the means of trying to make it hospitable and attractive for people to come and live there.  You do have limited resources, so you really have to decide what you do and don’t want to do.  Experimenting around with this is key to figuring out the right balance, not only of weapons and living areas, but also between what weapons are good against what hordes of enemies that come to tear down the city.  This is actually pretty interesting and I’ve not seen that put into tower defense before, with developing a city at the same time as defending it.

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The combat phase is what makes the game so unique.  When in the combat phase, enemies come towards the city from various directions.  The placement of your guns is auto-firing when enemies are in range, but each city is circular.  Not only circular, but there are a few different circle layers that you could have placed weapons on.

To combat enemies, you must rotate each of these circles to point your weapon placements towards where the enemies are coming from.  Obviously, the best idea is to have tons of weapons in all directions, but the limited budget doesn’t allow this.  So this gives you a bit of strategy, not only with your placement of weapons in the planning phase, but also timing with these rotations, especially when enemies are coming from several directions at once.

Once this is over, you will reap the rewards of your success, as well as your troop helpers from your base gaining experience to be able to assist you further in ongoing missions.  As you go through the game, this will continue, while you’ll be able to unlock new weapons to use and place as well as unlocking more powerful enemies to face in battle.

I wouldn’t say that Aegis of Earth is overly difficult.  I’ve definitely played harder tower defense games, but I think the amount of strategy involved with development and the rotations really helps to balance this out.  What the game lacks in raw difficult compared to other defense games it has in the amount of strategy and timing it requires.

As far as time is concerned, you’ll be busy for quite some time.  There are over 20 different chapters to go through, so there’s a lot of game here to keep you busy.

Controls

First of all is the fact that Aegis of Earth is fully playable on the PlayStation TV, just like its Japanese version is.  There aren’t a lot of special controls for the PSTV, but since the game doesn’t require the use of the touch screen, there’s no need for that.

Typical menu navigation is normal with the D-Pad/Left Analog and the face buttons for functions, like selecting and cancelling.  When you’re in Planning, you can use the Left Analog stick to move and select areas of the city to select and do stuff with.  In Combat, the Left Analog as well as the triggers are used for rotating whatever the selected circle of the city currently is.  The Right Stick moves the camera.  Finally, you can use the D-Pad to swap between which circle you’re currently rotating.

It’s a pretty simple process and the game does a nice job of explaining this to you.

Presentation

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Visually, the game doesn’t look bad, but it could certainly use some work.  My main complaint with the visuals is that they often look blurred when you’re in the middle of a mission, especially in a cinematic with going into the mission.  The way the lighting is done, a lot of the models just look blurred around the edges.  This doesn’t really affect gameplay, but it’s something to be noted on.

The other complaint I have about the presentation is the lag/struggle the game has with running itself.  You’ll notice right away that there are some skips and lag in loading sequences and even the title screen.  Most of these drops aren’t very heavy, but you’ll notice them a good bit, not only in menus but otherwise as well.

Summary

Aegis of Earth is an interesting take on the defense genre.  Granted, it’s not perfect with frame drops, blurred visuals, and a story not quite as developed as it should have been.  At it’s heart, though, it is a fun and strategic defense game that any fan of the genre can certainly get into. 

7/10

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