The Royal Army, prominently featuring the two leads, Yggdra and Milanor.
Even with the Holy Sword, I can’t make anything go right… The Holy Sword… may be a sacred relic, but the fact remains that it is a weapon. For we who are entrusted with it, it becomes our mission to see the justice of the Holy Sword to its end… and we are capable of slaughtering those who do not obey that justice… but the Holy Sword is a weapon. In the end, it is only capable of harming people.Yggdra Union
— Princess Yggdra
is a Turn-Based Strategy
game which is part of Sting Entertainment's Dept Heaven
cycle. The Game Boy Advance and PSP Updated Re-release
were both handled in North America by Atlus
Chronologically the first of the Dept Heaven
games, Yggdra Union
takes place during a war between the Kingdom of Fantasinia and the New Bronquian Empire. Gulcasa, the Emperor, has just defeated most of the Royal Army and slain the king, but Princess Yggdra (the only surviving member of the Royal Family) escapes her captured city with her family's Ancestral Weapon
and goes about gathering allies to take her country back—and get revenge. It doesn't hurt that said Ancestral Weapon
, the Gran Centurio, is a national symbol of justice. Whatever Yggdra and her army do, it's obviously the right thing.
Except that our heroes slowly discover that Emperor Gulcasa
and his villainous minions are a bit more morally ambiguous than they first bargained for, and that everyone they fight seems to be fighting for the justice they
believe in. And that maybe there's more going on across the continent than they could have imagined.Yggdra Union
, in short, is a deconstructionist
game about war, ideals, and the true nature of "justice".
An interview with the game director and artists can be found here
; be warned that there are spoilers
up through the end of the PSP version. See also Yggdra Unison
, the Alternate Universe
A prequel called Blaze Union
concerning the events of the Bronquian revolution was released in May 2010. Gloria Union
is spin-off set in another continuity, sporting a story more light-hearted in tone.
Yggdra Union utilizes these tropes:
Most Japanese games that are based on some kind of mythology usually end up getting it wrong, but this is one of the most hilarious I've ever seen. Nietzsche (in real life) was a German philosopher who introduced the concept of nihilism. Nietzsche (in the game) is a cutesy little girl undine (mermaid) who pokes gently with her spear.
- Sanity Slippage: Poor Nessiah...
- Save the Princess: The plotline of Chapter 4.
- Ship Tease: The game has two pairs of characters who are actually shown to be in love with each other. Two. It gets away with this by liberally dropping mild-to-moderate hints as to who the others may or may not have affections for.
- Shoot the Dog: Battlefield 46.
- Short Tank: Kylier.
- Sinister Scythe: Gulcasa and Mistel, along with the Imperial Knights, use them. The impracticality is justified in Gulcasa's case; he wears padded gauntlets (take a good look at his art) and wields it from dragonback in order to get more force behind the blows. Mistel is a rare case of a farmer actually using a scythe rather than a pitchfork in combat; however, the design of her default scythe is very impractical for doing anything more than bludgeoning people and cutting grass.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Yggdra Union is one of those rare examples that starts out looking idealistic and then takes a turn for the cynical, plausibly.
- Social Darwinist: Gulcasa is a mix of this and blood knight.
- Spanner in the Works: The Royal Army, at the very end of the game. Though they Gilliganed the wrong person's scheme making them Hector's Unwitting Pawns...
- Spoiler Opening: All the characters who join the Royal Army in Chapter 2 are shown, as are Cruz, Elena having shot Aegina's eye out, all the Dragon Generals, the sacking of Bardot, and even Nessiah's clearly angelic anima superimposed over him. It also rather blatantly hints at Nessiah's importance to the plot.
- Subverted, though, in that there is an event portrayed inaccurately (in the OP, Marietta crowns Yggdra; Joachim does this in-game) and that the new characters in the PSP Version do not appear.
- Staying Alive: Nessiah's particular brand of Immortality. Although he would really rather not.
- The Stinger: Only in the PSP version's Battlefield 49. The game can end at Battlefield 48 with the Royal Army certain that Nessiah was the villain and the world is saved, but if the Royal Army progresses, it's shown that Asgard is indeed up to no good, and is exploiting nameless test subjects to boot. Basically, Light Is Not Good.
- Then there are the extra books Sting released on the game after the Updated Re-release, which explain that half the reason Nessiah was thrown out of Asgard in the first place was for being a pacifist, of all things.
- Summon Magic: Of the Western variety.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: A rather complex one. There's the Fire Emblem-standard sword-axe-lance triangle, and those weapons beat bows, which beat magic, which beat the sword-axe-lance triangle again.
- Then there're scythes, which are strong against the sword-axe-lance triangle, and have no weakness. Guess what is Gulcasa's Weapon of Choice?
- And even worse, you have to get the PSP version to get a scythe-user on your side.
- Not entirely. If you pick up the Stray Dragon item (which WAS in the GBA version), you can equip it to Durant, which changes him to Scythe user. Only lasts 3 maps, though. Too bad.
- Gulcasa wearing you down? Rosary is essentially a huge cockblock - Gulcasa can't do much against her. Of course, she can't do much back.
- Thematic Theme Tune: "Hahen" and "patria", which are technically the game's themes though they're only actually used for the radio show. Both are commonly considered to be Nessiah's Image Songs due to their content, and "Hahen" was also used to advertise Baroque.
- Third-Person Person: Nietzsche.
- Tsundere: Kylier, especially when Yggdra's around. Eventually deconstructed.
- Twin Switch: Subverted with Luciana and Aegina, as everyone but the Royal Army always knows which is which. And that they're even twins in the first place.
- Unholy Holy Sword: The Trope Namer.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kylier initially appears to be this (perhaps because Milanor is the Idiot Hero and doesn't seem to know the first thing about women). Ironically—and tragically—Milanor realizes that he has feelings for her after she dies to save him. She'd have been the Victorious Childhood Friend if she'd only lived...
- Unstoppable Rage: Yggdra displays this while chasing after and trying to kill the (already-injured!) Gulcasa in Battlefield 18. Of course, the Imperial Army uses the fact that she's not thinking to trap her and subdue her by force, so it can be considered subverted...
- Unusual Ears: Gulcasa has jigokumimi, revealed in Battlefield 44 when he loses his helmet. Not surprisingly, we learn shortly after that he's the last living descendant of the dragon Brongaa. Made infinitely creepier because Brongaa is possessing him at the time.
- Unwitting Pawn: The Royal Army. And Nessiah was one too, back in the day. He did not take it well.
- Useless Useful Spell: Medusa's Eye. You get no bonus's or experience and the units just get in your way.
- Waif-Fu: As compared to stronger-looking magicians with accurately low attack value, tiny, apparently frail Nessiah has a disproportionately high set of statistics and a overpowered weapon type and Skill, making him a rare male example. Of course, his excuse is that he's a fallen Grim Angel...
- War Is Hell
- Weapon of Choice
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Transmigragem is never brought up again except in Nietzsche's battle dialogue unless you find it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The heroes call themselves out on this when during the counter-invasion of Bronquia, the Royal Army massacres an untrained civilian militia, wiping out most of a town's population.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Nessiah. Even if he dies, he is painfully resurrected shortly after, depending on the power level of the Gran Centurio at the time—he actually introduces himself to the Royal Army by running himself through to remove himself from the war, only to show up eight battlefields later to tell them to get a move on. The Chains of Conviction do not allow him to die permanently, and we all know how much he wants them off.
- As quoted in his special Skill, Reincarnation: Unable to live, unable to die... thy punishment is to repeat life eternally. Ouch.
- Why Won't You Die?: The Royal Army's reaction to the way Gulcasa simply refuses to fall even after taking two to three severe beatings in rapid succession. Milanor in particular frustratedly demands to know how he's even still standing after so much blood loss and so many mortal wounds. The answer? Sheer willpower, though Gulcasa's abusing his demon blood can't have hurt.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: #367 and her camera-shy fellow test subjects. At least according to the High Servant.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Nessiah. SO MUCH. His entire twisted story just goes to show what the Messianic Archetype is capable of if you break him hard enough.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Nessiah gets one in Battlefield 47. Yggdra, who's in no mood to listen to him, actually counters with a simpler one of her own.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Nessiah is crazy good at it.
- Yangire: #367, so very very much.
- The scary part? The High Servant mentions that this is the sanest any test subject has ever been after having their synchronization rate forced above 100%.
- You Are Number Six: #367, naturally.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Nessiah seems fond of this. When he's introduced in Battlefield 18, right before he kills himself to end his own Catch-22, he thanks his division for their service up until then, tells them apologetically that he doesn't need their help anymore, says "goodbye", and proceeds to wipe them from existence. He also says the exact quote in battle against several characters, among their ranks the mages of Verlaine and Yggdra.