I should preface what I thought of Tears to Tiara here by saying it is an attempt at epic that doesn't quite get there.
The author has since then considerably improved and made the decision to throw out the one thing that held back the original, its harem set up.
The result is a fantastic, captivating story, themes and depth for the audience to chew through. But it is a turn-based strategy game, so it should be reviewed as that.
So here's Tears to Tiara 2: Heir of the Overlord in its components.
Story: Definitely this work's strong point, being part visual-novel. It combines Roman History and Punic Mythology with the world view established in the first game, creating a wide world as armies, beasts, and divine beings clash with strong, likable characters and, tragic, touching conflicts. It's two themes of sacrifice and the role of religion gives a lot to think about afterwards. That said, it has flaws. The comedic parts are not as well done, though better than the first game. The second half of the game suffers from Broken Aesop
with regards to sacrifices. The first half of the story is flawless. While that should be a good thing, it makes the only "good" second half seem less so. Perhaps the second half would've been better as a separate game.
Sound: Flawless, even with the return of the Gratuitous English
song.. Both the BGM and the voice acting bring the scenes to life. Special mention to the two leads and Izebel's voice actors.
Graphics: The portraits and C Gs
are better than the original. However the game uses chibi sprites, which takes away from the seriousness of the story in some scenes. Not sure why the decision was made to use chibi instead of the original's more standard designs.
Gameplay: The battles and system are fun. The game is Nintendo Hard
and Trial-and-Error Gameplay
. A common complaint in the Japanese release is that Easy Mode is not. While I liked the challenge of fighting through Hard Mode, a word of advice for people only want to read the story is to forget about trophies and bonus and just play on Very Easy.
Overall I would give this 8.5 out of 10, bumped up to a 9 for people (like me) interested in history and mythology.