Empire Of Angels IV (PS4 Review): (Ethereal) Girl Power

Join Niya and her pals as they rid Asgard of the dreaded Namtar Fever in Empire Of Angels IV for PS4. A turn-based game with an all-female cast, and stuff.
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Careless eyes assumed Empire Of Angels IV was a city builder, but the opening sequence says otherwise. An all-female cast, the story is loosely (very) based on Asgard. There aren’t any Nordic vibes other than a few names here and there. In reality, this is a bona fide original IP. Well, it’s Empire Of Angels IV, so maybe there were some games before this one? Maths.

Niya is the leader and her BFF Leona (the tank), is her trusted right-hand man – err, woman. After a few sequences, they enrol pointdexter Kristian, then more and more characters join the ranks that you’re so spoilt for choice, you’d think it’s your birthday.

Classes are melee and ranged, mixed up with a spot of magic too. Tanks, rogues (ish) and mages make up the ranks, and while there are enough characters to make a wall of knuckleheads or padawans from the Unseen University, having a versatile group is wise.

Empire Of Angels IV (PS4 Review)

There aren’t any consumables in this turn-based title, so make sure you have enough healers to keep things going. As easy as combat can be, lesser enemies still hit hard and should you lose a specific member, you may as well restart. Do note that if your party members die during a skirmish, it’s not game over, but that depends on the rewards – more in a minute.

Empire Of Angels IV PS4 Review - Tiling professionals
Tiling professionals. Source: Eastasiasoft

On the first attempt, my party of six (no 90s drama references here) got through the first gate, their cell, but by the time we defeated the half dozen or so guards, they couldn’t unlock the next gate

In the second chapter, there are five, one of your crew learns the open lock ability, but only one of them. Up until this mission, all battles take place outside, but now in the confines of a dungeon, you need her, Astrid, to manually unlock each door.

Why? Astrid was dead. With a health bar of 99+billion (perhaps not that much), it was impossible to break through the gate, and a retreat screen unfairly popped up as I had, in essence, effed it up.

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On the next run, Astrid opened the doors like a surplus office worker, retiring to the back in fear of losing her. Alas, the guards would cast a spell that would either one-hit-kill a party member or the second guard would finish them off. Without a resurrection spell or a difficulty setting, this surprisingly good RPG (ish) morphed into a sweaty pair of pants, but not all the time, just when it got hairy. Hairy, sweaty pants.

Challenge Accepted (The Easy One)

It’s a dodgy mechanic to have just one character capable of completing the objective and sucked the fun out of an otherwise decent title. However, each stage has several challenges and pending you read them before each fight, it can be a big help. In the dungeon scenario, I found my crew would fail after so many attempts. Reading the objective list, pending they reached a specific area before 15 moves were up, there was a chance. On the next shot, I did it.

Empire Of Angels IV PS4 Review - World map
Asgard. Source: Eastasiasoft

Eastasiasoft, like Ratalaika Games, are renowned for quick-fire arcade titles with an often easy platinum. Not the case here, as even after the first few hours, I’d managed to earn a measly 2% of the trophies. But you know what? They’re insignificant. The reason for putting the hours in was for the mostly enjoyable experience.

The strategy elements are borderline arcade at times, and there’s not much room to fiddle the books and set up macros for your team to transcend into the super squad they’re destined to be. Either opt to play each move or automate it so you can experience the story. 

In fear of being a hack writer, I didn’t play the story mode as it defeats the purpose of a turn-based game, in my opinion, though it’s nice to have the choice. Empire Of Angels IV story is alright too. The Namtar Fever has plagued the kingdom, and your job is to crack some skulls until you can find a cure.

Angel, Angel, Angel Oooohhh!

You recruit a somewhat angel-like party member, Kefir, who can shoot fireballs, heal team members and purify them from this curse, though that’s a little bit iffy and doesn’t always work. The narrative plays out through visual novel-like dialogue scenes – all fully voice acted. I don’t speak Chinese, so I can’t tell if they’re good or not, but in a weird way, these additions gave it a positive spin.

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The music was so good that at one point, I changed my energy saving on the PS5 and left the game on the map mode and chilled to the tunes

Speaking/writing of earholes, I expected to see Joe Hisaishi as the composer in Empire Of Angels IV. It was something straight out of a Studio Ghibli film, whilst being completely original.

Back to the adventure, and with each war wound, your character levels up. Eventually, they can unlock alternate classes that offer them a bit more variety to their moveset. Alas, there are no weapons, armour or additional spells or consumables to equip. However, their mana regenerates during a battle, and they have full stats at the start of every fight – regardless if they died in the last.

Cute, But Cover Up Before You Head Out

Visually the characters are very cute. A little too cute. ‘Kill’ an enemy, and their clothes are removed, and they become a little embarrassed trying to save their dignity. Read into how you will, but it wasn’t pervy, fairly innocent stuff. If you get off on that, you’re an oddball as it’s not that kind of game.

Empire Of Angels IV PS4 Review - S Class
S Class. Source: Eastasiasoft

The artwork in the dialogue scenes are less cute and a typical anime-style, the girls scantily clad, bulging out of their costumes. Nicely illustrated, though. Like that sort of thing without needing a credit card? Kandagawa Jet Girls has a similar aesthetic and fun too. You’re welcome.

Empire Of Angels IV is an entertaining game but quite tough without any difficulty modes. There isn’t the option to grind, so you’re always a little underpowered and outnumbered. While you can skip a round, you can’t restart a stage even when it’s going terribly wrong. It’s particularly annoying when you lose a key member and don’t get a game over. 

Empire Of Angels IV Review Summary

In short, it’s like a JRPG-lite – not in a derogative way, but there’s enough investment to squander your valuable hours into it, enjoy the strategic element as well as the storyline. Aside from some of the tough challenges, this is an engaging game.

Pros

  • Enjoyable turn-based action.
  • Tons of characters.
  • Well presented througout.
  • Fantastic soundtrack.
  • A pretty big game!

Cons

  • Lacks the conventional equipment/consumables.
  • Some challenges/levels are a little too ruthless.
  • No difficulty setting.
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