The PlayStation Vita will have no less than 25 titles available on launch day, and there’s a nice variety, too. One of the more intriguing titles comes from developer Entersphere, Inc. and publisher Square Enix; it’s Army Corps of Hell, a strategy title that puts you in charge of hundreds of demons and minions. It’s all about conquering the world in a dynamic RTS format, and it’ll take advantage of the Vita’s diverse capabilities.
If you’re wondering, Entersphere is the studio that created Pikmin. However, their new Vita project is anything but bouncy and colorful; as you can see by the media, the environment in Army Corps of Hell is…well, appropriately hellish in all respects. The landscape is dark and forbidding and the freakish monsters waging war on the battlefield are the exact opposite of cutesy. Just remember that strategy – and not action – lies at the core of the gameplay experience.
You will take control of the skeleton overlord by using the left analog stick, and the face buttons will dictate commands to your troops. For instance, if you want to go with a magical attack, you hold the circle button down and your magicians will start prepping some heavy fireball spells. If you want a long-range attack, hold down triangle so your minions know to throw spears and pressing the square button will send in the infantry equipped with swords. Pressing certain buttons when prompted will let your troops deliver a devastating knockout punch.
The front and rear touchpads are used for healing; you simply touch the bottom of the screen to utilize your potions, and then use the rear touchpad in accordance with the directions. If you’d rather save your potions, some of your soldiers can regenerate health by eating the dead corpses of their fallen opponents (nasty). The key will be to combine the combat and healing to achieve success; the strategy elements will definitely take center-stage in more harrowing situations. Advance or fall back and recover…?
There is one role-playing element that has snuck its way in: boss fights. These could prove to be immensely challenging, as they often toss a wrench into the works. See, we hear many of the bosses can’t be defeated simply by issuing normal commands and letting your minions go to town. You have to find weaknesses and alternatives to straight-up force, because the bosses have the capability to annihilate large portions of your army. …and that’s no good. You could lose fast.
Army Corps of Hell could be great for strategy fans who want a fast-paced title that requires both thought and ingenuity. It’s also a nice change of pace, as it offers more depth and perhaps a longer overall experience than other Vita launch titles. Therefore, if RTS is your bag, this one might have to be one of your first purchases for Sony’s slick new portable.
1/3/2012 Ben Dutka