Paging Kitsune- Yggdra Union?

Hi, Kistune! This game is coming out tomorrow and I’m pretty excited for it! I was just wondering if you could give me the lowdown on it- strengths, weaknesses, etc. Did you like?

Sorry, Mark L, I haven’t played it. It came out at the exact same time as games like Mother 3 and Final Fantasy XII, and then came Dragon Quest Yangus and Valkyrie Profile Silmeria and then Persona 3 and then Final Fantasy III, so I’ve not yet had time to pick it up.

If it’s any consolation, the game got huge, huge praise by hardcore gamers and press alike when it released. Word from them is that it is a breath of fresh air in tactical gaming and very high quality. So take that as you will.

-Kitsune

Thanks, Kitsune! I think I’m gonna give it a shot. Strategy plus cards is a siren call I cannot ignore!

Wait what is this? Card Strategy game, coming out in the US? What platform? When is it coming out? Fill us in!

EDIT: Found it-

Looks really good. Not coming out til the 21st in the US though.

Wow, that looks awesome. Definitely on my radar now. Any early reviews of the U.S. version?

Dammit, I just picked up Fire Emblem and FFT:Advance, and now I’m gonna have to get this, too. Looks like a tactical RPG holiday winter for me.

OK, so has anyone picked this game up yet? It looks pretty good, and I’m very tempted.

Also, is Mazes of Fate any good? It seems like the GBA has a little life left in it, at least where RPGs are concerned.

I posted this over at Gaming Trend:

I have no friends and family to visit on Thanksgiving, and my enemies have taken the day off, so I thought I’d give some quick impressions of Yggdra Union.

The best way I can describe the title is a cross between Fire Emblem and a card game. Like Fire Emblem, the story is political and revolves around a princess who was forced to flee her homeland and must now find a way to save her conquered kingdom. The storyline is relayed through intermissions between battlegrounds and through character conversations during combat sequences.

The graphics in Yggdra Union are some of the best I have seen on the GBA. Although the strategic map is quite bland, the character portraits and combat scenes are wonderfully detailed and animated. The game even looks better than many DS titles. The music and sound effects are also well done, and are very similar to what gamers have experienced in Final Fantasy or Fire Emblem on the GBA.

Battle in Yggdra Union is based upon a series of cards and units that are chosen before combat begins. There are numerous cards, each allowing different skills or attacks, such as steal, resurrection, landslide, sanctuary, etc. Also, each card dictates movement. There is a number on each card, and it signifies the total movement allowed for ALL allied units in that turn. For example, a card with the number 8 allows you to move 1 units 8 spaces, or 2 units 3 and 5 spaces, etc. Cards also have an “Ace” factor which is a special move that can be performed when certain requirements are met. There also is a power level attached to each card, and a symbol which designates who must lead the attack for the “Ace” to be available during battle.

STRATEGIC PORTION OF BATTLE:

The opening aspect of battle involves choosing which cards will be played during combat, and which units will enter the battlefield. Then there is the union aspect of the game, which is entertaining and adds complexity to the battle. On the strategic map, units can be placed in formations (X format, + format) and thus supporting or adjacent units can work together during one attack. This allows for larger battles, often with many units fighting on each side. This can obviously create some precarious situations. Enemies have the same ability to create unions, and unless you watch carefully you can leave portions of your army open to multiple attacks in one turn.

TACTICAL PORTION OF BATTLE:

Once you decide who and how to attack, a new screen opens up that looks very similar to that seen in Fire Emblem or Advance Wars. Ally units are on the left side of the screen, and enemies on the right. Attacks follow a rock, paper, scissors approach,but one must also take into consideration support units, rage meters, terrain conditions, and card skills that can be activated. So, you may go into battle against a superior enemy, but by using the “convert” card skill, coupled with timely use of the rage meter, you can win a battle against stronger opposition. Also, while the fighting animations are taking place you have the ability to change your armies disposition (aggressive and passive) by pushing the D pad left or right. Passive mode lowers the unit’s attack strength but charges an energy bar, which allows the use of special attacks. Aggressive mode increases attack strength while draining the energy bar. In effect, this makes the game much deeper than anything witnessed in Fire Emblem. Once a battle is completed, various cards level up, items can be acquired, and units gain increasing abilities.

I’m still very early in the game, but this title seems like an easy sell to anyone who enjoys Fire Emblem. Atlus also did another wonderful job with the translation, so expect to see some rather entertaining commentary as the story progress. For those of you who like to see a score, I’d currently rate the game an 8.5.

Now please excuse me while I spend my Thanksgiving—alone. <sniff>

Thanks, Dante! Sounds like a game I would enjoy. I mainly wanted to make sure the different elements came together. That’s something you just can’t get from a list of features.

sounds pretty neat, so are your units cards, or are the cards used by your army? Also do your units upgrade like in Fire Emblem or Ogre Battle?

Your units are just just units. You pick x number of cards to take into each map (so far, usually around 9 out of maybe 40 unique cards, not all of which are available until you unlock them.) Every turn, you pick one card that governs the action. Every card gives you a certain number of movement points that you can spread between as many of your units as you want. Only one unit can initiate combat each turn, though the combat may involve multiple fights if friendly units from either side are within 2 spaces the attacker or the defender. The 2 space zone is either an ‘x’ or ‘+’ pattern depending, believe it or not, on the gender of the attacker/defender. The card has an attack value, though I’m not sure how exactly that affects damage dealt. Every card also has a special effect that you can fire off during a battle once your aggression gauge fills up. Some card effects are only available to specific character classes. Once you use a card, it’s gone for the rest of the map. If you run out of cards, you lose.

Your characters do gain exp/levels and can loot new equipment from the maps. Hit points (called “Morale”) don’t replenish automatically. If you want to cure yourself between maps, you have to sacrifice unequiped items, each of which has a morale value.

YU’s not really a card game in any sense. That said, it’s got a unique battle system that requires a lot of interesting decisions both during and between maps. I’m about three hours into it, and I’m having a good time even though I’m still not sure what everything means. For what it’s worth, it looks really good, too.

The card has an attack value, though I’m not sure how exactly that affects damage dealt.

Erik, I haven’t been able to touch the game since Thanksgiving, but I believe that the attack value is used for two things:

  1. Acts as an extra variable to assist in determining possibility of success in combat (according to their grading level: full circle>empty circle>full triangle>empty triangle>etc)

  2. Acts as a modifier to decrease morale after combat.

There are four modifiers that affect morale: units remaining, power rating, terrain, and misc bonuses. Here are examples of misc bonuses (Credit to Gray Fox)

Head Alive: If the leader of the squad is alive at the end of battle (yes,
the leader can be killed with criticals and some cards). +40%.

Equipment: If you have an item equipped with a POW UP. Varies.

Critical: If you landed a critical. +10%.

Status Damage: When you inflict a status effect. +10%.

Genocide: Only Gulcasa can do this, and applies when he beats you after
using his Genocide card. +50%.

Item Steal: If you steal the opponent’s item. +30%.

Item Break: If you break the opponent’s item. +20%

Jihad: When you use Jihad, duh. +50%

Dragon Slay: If you win using the Dragon Killer’s card effect. +80%

Dumb question but how exactily do you pronunce Yggdra? So that I can confuse the Eb employee when I ask for it.

There are four modifiers that affect morale:

Ah. I thought those numbers only modified the card’s permanent attack bonus. It makes sense that they contribute to damage as well, though. Especially, now that I think about it, since they get calculated before damage is applied. I still wish the damage calculation was a little more transparent.

Game’s really fun, but I’m getting annoyed that you can’t button through the ten-second card effect fireworks and the extraneous scrolling story crap that prefaces every map.

Dumb question but how exactily do you pronunce Yggdra? So that I can confuse the Eb employee when I ask for it.

Yeah, I almost swallowed my tongue at EB trying to get this one out. It is actually pronounced “yahg-drah” :)

In my head it’s pronounced yih-dra.

A few things I thought I would add about how damage is calculated.

After you win a battle, you get a list of bonuses. As has been noted, you get 40% for your leader remaining alive, and on top of that, you get a bonus for each unit still standing. A small unit (undines, sword maidens, etc.) contributes a 10% bonus and a large unit (knights) contributes 20%. The leader counts towards this, too. It’s thus often in your interest to finish fights quickly.

Anyway, you add up all these bonuses at the end, and the resulting percentage of the card’s attack power is the amount of morale damage done to the enemy.

For instance, if Yggdra wins a battle with no casualties and no terrain/skill advantage, she will do 40%+60%=100% of her card’s attack power in damage to the enemy.

If the enemy is an undine on a water tile, they’ll get a 50% defense bonus. The resulting morale damage would be 40%+60%-50%=50% of the card’s attack damage.

If Yggdra’s attack skill is 2 while the undine’s generalship skill is 3, that would confer a further -10% to morale damage, though I’m not positive. I think it’s just 10% per point of difference.

There’s another point that eluded me but turns out to be extremely useful. If you have a move-4 card and a move-8 card, it seems like the difference in moves would make the move-8 card much more preferable, the cards’ actual skills notwithstanding. But there’s an interesting advantage to low-move cards.

When you’re in battle, the skill gauge is hashed into sections equal to the amount of move your card has. Steal, with move-12, has 12 sections, for instance. Your unit’s technical skill (TEC) determines how many of these sections are full when the fight starts. So, if Milanor gets a 4 in TEC and attacks using the move-4 card Mirage, his gauge starts the battle at 100%, which is a huge advantage. With Steal, he’d start with only 25% of the gauge full. So there’s actually a reason to use low-move cards beyond just how good their skills are.

One last thing-- by holding R, you can scroll much faster through any text that occurs. It’s not as good as being able to skip it outright, but it helps. Unfortunately, I’ve not found a way to skip battle animations.

When you’re in battle, the skill gauge is hashed into sections equal to the amount of move your card has. Steal, with move-12, has 12 sections, for instance. Your unit’s technical skill (TEC) determines how many of these sections are full when the fight starts. So, if Milanor gets a 4 in TEC and attacks using the move-4 card Mirage, his gauge starts the battle at 100%, which is a huge advantage. With Steal, he’d start with only 25% of the gauge full. So there’s actually a reason to use low-move cards beyond just how good their skills are.

That is an excellent observation I hadn’t noticed when I got a chance to test run the game over Thanksgiving. It definitely adds another layer to determining which card is best for the situation at hand.

so, this game is coming out for psp.

it’s hard for me to tell whether i will like the gameplay from reviews and descriptions. i liked jeanne d’arc much better than disgaea (i don’t think i plan on finishing that one). can anyone tell me if it feels more like the latter or former or if it’s completely different?

From the time spent with it, I would say it’s different from both titles. Reading about Jeanne d’arc makes it more like FF tactics right? Yggdra is hard to classify, it’s sorta like a lite CCG version of either Ogre Battle or Advance Wars. The cards you pick before the battle determine your max # of moves for that battle. Playing the GBA version, there were some things that made the game harder (that rule, characters don’t heal after battles). I haven’t followed the PSP version since I don’t have it so I don’t know what they did to it.