The last few years in particular have been great for the games industry. We’ve seen a lot of unique and interesting ideas, with some having greater success than others. Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault is unfortunately one those examples where the idea is great and is initially engaging to the player, but it ultimately wears thin and doesn’t hold your interest.
Aegis of Earth is set 50 years after a deadly event known as the “Silent Apocalypse”. This event has caused monsters to appear that are hell-bent on attacking humanity. To protect themselves, humans now live in circular cities which have weapons capable of destroying any threat. Players assume the role of the new Commander of Kimberly, a quiet city that until now hasn’t seen much action. The story is told through conversations between various anime-like characters, who often recommend what’s best for the city and set missions for the player. There are some good moments, particularly when the characters start using innuendo, but otherwise it’s hard to engage with the plot elements. Characters usually whinge about working conditions, make jokes about being obsessed with finding a husband, and in general are difficult to relate to. You will be tempted to skip through most of it.
The game is best described as a city management sim combined with real-time strategy. One element of the game is to manage your city by building weapons and defenses, while also keeping the happiness levels of residents to a high standard. Over time your city will increase its population, which means you must build more housing but will also collect more taxes. It’s not a full-on management game as you don’t need to worry about food or education facilities like other games, but you will have to build community parks and ensure there is enough power to supply the city. Population is increased via a 10 second cutscene which sees an airship dock into Kimberly. This cutscene cannot be skipped, and considering how frequently the population increases, this gets dull very quickly. Other than that, the management side is a lot of fun as you have the freedom to design the city and work out the best spots for weapons and other buildings.
The main action takes place during strikes, which is where the city enters combat mode and defends itself against monsters. What makes Aegis of Earth unique compared to other strategy titles is that players have the ability to spin the city a full 360 degrees. The city itself is broken up into four subsections, which means if you only have one column of weapons, you can spread them across different areas. Monsters will attack in waves, and these will usually approach from different sides of the city at the same time. This encourages you to plan your city’s layout more thoughtfully, and also spread out your available weaponry. Thankfully weapons fire autonomously, so you can focus your attention on their positions. Battles can become quite frantic at times, and when combined with the unique 360 degrees mechanic it’s an experience unlike any other.
There are a number of weapons available, such as cannons which fire directly in front of them but won’t miss any target, and missiles which have a broader range and greater damage, but are also slower and miss faster monsters. Weapons of the same type can also stack on top of each other to increase their rate of fire and overall power. This adds some additional strategy to weapon placement. You can also research and develop new weapons, as well as upgrade existing ones. There is a lot to discover and it’s fun experimenting with different weapon combinations, so things will will keep feeling fresh and interesting.
Unfortunately Aegis of Earth does have a few flaws which prevent it from being a standout experience. Firstly, the monsters in the game are not very imaginative – they look like blobs of varying shapes and colours, and there’s little variety. Repetition sets in quickly, which isn’t helped by some of the game’s mission objectives. One particular objective was to test a new weapon against an enemy boss, but we had to complete six strikes before we got to the boss. At other times we had to destroy a certain monster type (see a pattern here?), but once again the monster didn’t appear until we completed multiple strikes. There just isn’t a lot of balance in the progression system, making it feel like a grind at times. Also of note is the game’s difficulty is quite easy – once you’ve built several weapons in your city, strikes offer little to no challenge.
Aegis of Earth is available on PS3, PS Vita and PS4. Because of this, the game’s graphics have been optimised so that it can be ported easily to all three systems. However, even by the PS3’s standards it’s still a very bland affair. The stylised anime characters are neat and presentable, but the main game doesn’t have a lot of detail. Because your view is zoomed out, you also can’t see the animations of weapons and monsters, with only smoke and sound effects hinting that the weapon is doing its job.
Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault isn’t necessarily a bad game. It’s got a good idea that blends city management with real-time strategy battles, and is genuinely a fun experience. Unfortunately the repetitive gameplay, dull story and overall lackluster presentation strike a sour note and make it less than desirable.
Unique gameplay idea
Fun designing your city