In Nintendo's game published in a black box "Slash Reginleiv", Ragnarok breaks out and the war between the deities and their rivals the Giants begin. The humans in Midgard are caught up in the midst of this battle and are attacked by Giants. Many of the deities wish to help the humans but unfortunately they had to prepare their own defences in Asgard. Instead, two young siblings amongst them Frey and Freia who witnessed the attacks while in the form of eagles decide to help and lead the humans to survival.
The story is played out in chapters and in third person view, allowing you to freely move around a map amongst the AI characters and enemies shown on a radar. You point the Wiimote where you want to look and use the nunchuk to move where you want, giving it a quick jolt to the left or forward to dash.
As the name suggests, this is very much an arcade game where you waggle the Wiimote slashing enemies but with a little more timing than other games that have used the controls in this way.
You can either be Frey or Freia who each can equip different weapons. As you can imagine, the sword means you can waggle the Wiimote about but not aimlessly. A gauge shows when you can swing and you must keep the pointer on the screen if you want to create combos. You can swing fairly much anyway you wish unlike Dragon Quest as long as you keep the cursor on screen but it's mostly down to horizontally, vertically and diagonally.
As far as unique attacks are concerned Freya can use magic which actually isn't much different from an on rail shooter sometimes. Some staves allow you to hold A to fire until the mana gauge is depleted or others let you charge up powerful area attacks. The young brother Frey on the other hand can make use of a Great Sword to slash out at the hordes of enemies coming after you or a slower but much more powerful Axe. Both of the siblings can use arrows where you have to push the Wiimote forward towards the sensor bar similar to Zelda respectively.
Enemies have a weakspot but most of the time I found I can simply spam with magic. It gets pretty repetitively quickly as you're mostly fighting the same monsters although the later bosses can prove to be slightly more challenging when you have to actually dodge. You're also forced to play as either character which limits your weapon choice but in turn, helps keep the action slightly more interesting. Pace is generally good although sometimes you can find yourself wondering, "When is this mission over?" or "Are they going to stop talking already?"
You can collect any Mana shards the enemy drops to build over 300 weapons or strengthen your character's edurance. The problem is they can drop everywhere which makes gathering them a chore. It would have been better if they rewarded you directly after each chapter instead. Also, even though the weapons you can create branches out in a tree but I don't like how it doesn't seem organised at all. Weapon types seem to spread out all over the screen although you might like it if you prefer to be surprised. It also feels very much you're grinding for Mana instead of experience points to gain more powerful weapons.
It's slightly more fun than the on rails Dragon Quest but it's also a bit tiring as you try to keep the pointer on screen. Sometimes you might dash in some odd direction with a slight shake of the nunchuk. The Motion Plus add-on for the Wiimote is also supported and improves the slashing detection but you can still end up dodging the wrong way.
Fortunately you can use the classic controller or Gamecube controller if you have either.
There is a free online mode where you can play through a completely separate campaign and allows you to play with up to three other players. You either setup your own room and pick a mission or, join one that's already set up. You can't type messages like in MH3 but you can use set phrases to communciate such as "Are you alright?" or "I'll take care of the small fries!".
I think the graphics could somehow come close to rivaling Monster Hunter 3. There is full voice acting, eyes move fairly convincingly and lips are synched to voices. Creature and character models are lively animated but not quite as well as MH3 because the jagged polygons are a lot more visible. Also, there's a lot of slowdown when you start fighting in battles where you face entire armies with both Giants and smaller enemies alike.
There's not a great variety of enemies although some of the creatures are much larger looking than MH3. There's plenty of gore in the form blood as you disember mostly Giants with legs, arms and all sorts of nastiness flying around the place. It's also because of this very reason coupled with a large number of spell effects that the game slows down to a very unbearable slide show at times.
Since you're one of the deities taken human form to help the humans, you hear plenty of talk around you from the NPCs - A bit too much in fact. Much like No More Heroes 2, you here the same phrase or even word multiple times which plays down the atmosphere rather than help it. Prepare for a lot of cheezy war cries such as "For the Gods!" or "For Odin!" or lots of screaming for help. The voice actors probably had fun messing around with it.
If you have a 2.1 speaker setup at the very least, you're going to feel plenty of rumbling from all the Giants charging at you and bringing their giant clubs crashing down trying to crush your young deity god. Although the Wii doesn't support true surround sound, you'll still be surrounded by sound effects from the battlefield if you have a 5.1 setup or more thanks to Dolby Pro Logic II support.
Zangeki no Reginleiv can either be a fun arcade game if you can bear the major slowdowns. There's plenty of weapons to collect, all with their own distinct ways of attacking. Either that or, it can be extremely repetitive as you slash away at the same old enemies. In any case, it's definitely one of the better looking and well presented games on the Wii.
Time Completed 25 hours
- Excellent visuals and voice acting.
- Decent atmosphere, scripted events.
- Can skip movies.
- Free 4 player online co-op.
- Online campaign is different to play through.
- Repetitive voice effects.
- Mostly a repetitive slash fest.
- Some chapters drag out too long.
- Constant voiced help during the menu screens.
- Motion controls can easily execute wrong moves.
- Some major slowdown in large scale battles.
- Collecting scattered Mana.