Developed by Sting Entertainment and published by Atlus, a Strategy RPG-ish game for the Playstation Portable. It was announced at the end of February 2011, and then released in Japan that May, almost a full year after Blaze Union. It is Episode IX of Dept. Heaven. Gungnir was released in the summer of 2012 in North America, making it the first DHE game to escape No Export for You since the PSP remake of Knights in the Nightmare.
The game's full title is Gungnir: Inferno of the Demon Lance and the War of Heroes, and the story dawns in the year 983, on an empire torn by conflicts between its two races, the noble Daltania and the "accursed" Leonica, who are badly oppressed by the nobility. The Leonica and a few sympathetic Daltania have formed a resistance known as Esperanza, but they're struggling to hold their own against the Imperial Army's greater force and skill.
One day, fifteen-year-old Giulio Raguel—a low-ranking captain in Esperanza—and his men come upon a slave trader and "liberate" his captive, a beautiful girl named Alissa who (unbeknown to them) happens to be Daltanian. Giulio invites Alissa to join his cause with open arms, and although she has her worries, she accepts.
Not long after this, in a battle so desperate that it looks like Giulio will be killed, he discovers the eponymous demonic lance Gungnir and takes it up, managing to turn the situation around. The resistance rejoices, but this marks the creaking of Destiny's cogwheels into motion. And remember: This is a Sting game. Destiny is a total douche.
The game handles similarly to your garden-variety isometric SRPG such as Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics, but is entirely linear in grand Sting tradition and includes a system that allows the player to completely ignore the established turn order for strategic purposes. This makes for a system where Weak, but Skilled units stay just as useful as powerful ones in the hands of a wily enough tactician.
For more about the game's development, see this interview with the creators (SPOILERS!).
Finally, as with many other games in the series, Atlus USA changed a number of characters' names in their localization. Since both sets of names are used throughout the wiki, you may want to consult the character sheet to see what everyone is called in both versions.
Gungnir utilizes the following tropes:
- Alliterative Name: Ragnus Raguel and Ricardo Raguel.
- Alternate Character Reading: "Inferno" is spelled with the kanji for "war god", causing a number of title mistranslations until the Inferno were introduced on the official site. The game is rife with these; a few more examples are the Grim (the Spinner) and the Legia (demon mark).
- Artificial Stupidity: Some enemies will (rarely) attack someone even if they have immunity to an attack. Even if the AI has a different move that will cause damage.
- Awesome, but Impractical:
- The War Gods would amazingly helpful if they had better aim.
- Gungnir itself is arguably this in the early stages, due to being so heavy. Whether or not it is depends on how useful the player sees it.
- Back from the Dead: Isabelli does this often, being able to revive herself. Though Elise seals her after coming back three times, outright removing her from the world.
- Becoming the Mask: Natalia is, at first, willing to use the Leonicans to get Alissa on the throne, under the pretense that it will be for the good of the Leonicans. By the end of the game, she's fighting for equal rights for all Leonicans.
- Best Served Cold: Ragnus lost his father to Imperial troops as a little kid. He's been itching for revenge since.
- Continuity Nod:
- All the mercenary generics you can hire are named after knights from Knights in the Nightmare.
- Along with various other items common to the series, Gulcasa's armor and Milanor's cape and weapon can be purchased at shops.
- Escort Mission: Before Alissa joins the active roster, there are two battles (one optional, one mandatory) where you must defend her from enemies while simultaneously trying to accomplish your objective. She's not a One-Hit-Point Wonder, but she's pretty close.
- The Fair Folk: Sprites of various types inhabit the world.
- Famous Ancestor: Giulio and Fiona's ancestors were knights who protected the Leonican people. Ragnus, as the adopted son, has a bit of an inferiority complex over not being a "real" Raguel.
- Fantastic Nuke: Gungnir has been referred to as one by Word of God and in the story.
- Going Native: Ragnus' family in the backstory and Alissa in the present day.
- Gratuitous English:"Be Drowned!""AIMU A BATTO!"
- Guide Dang It!:
- Want the A+ ending? Hope you know the specific conditions! note
- The War Gods can be purely beneficial, but they require you to meet certain conditions to do so, usually your team being at a disadvantage.
- Healing Factor: In battle, Gungnir heals the user by absorbing the life force of foes it damages.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Though ours will switch to Gungnir itself when need be.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Both Giulio and Ragnus have inferiority complexes over each other. They become closer after realizing this.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Valerie states she would rather die than submit to Alissa in Ending A.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Against Pierre, which would actually be winnable if the CPU didn't make him automatically recover from zero HP.
- Robertus, the first time you fight him.
- Hot-Blooded: Ragnus. He tries to leave his personal feelings out of his decisions as leader, but this doesn't work too well whenever the subject of his father's killer comes up. This is one of the many reasons he thinks Giulio would be a better leader than him.
- Humans Are Bastards: Discussed by two fae.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Elise pulls out quite an interesting weapon during the endgame.
- In the Hood: Alissa in the OP.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: The weight system.
- Joke Weapon: A few weapons that appear in Nightmare (a broken sword, a rope) appear to be this and deal next to no damage.
- Karma Meter: Which of the Multiple Endings you get mostly depends on whether you decide to be nice or a douche.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Averted. Katanas can only be used by a single class, and even then only to counter. This makes it worse than it sounds, due to the complicated countering mechanics.
- Kick the Dog: The people of Espada, including those who joined Esperanza, have discriminated against Ragnus ever since he came to Espada as a little boy, and even now like to talk about how unfit he is to lead them compared to Giulio when they know he's in earshot. This is part of what leads to that character's behavior in scene 10, although Giulio (and hence the audience) doesn't learn about it until it's too late.
- Kid Hero: Giulio at the outset of the story.
- Lethal Joke Weapon: Some weapons in Nightmare (such as a broken sword and a rope) look useless (and indeed deal pathetic damage), but are very useful in dealing with the challenges given by Nightmare, due to having a secondary effect (usually triggered by Beat) that more than makes up for it.
- Mauve Shirt: Noah, Claude, and Teresa. All three die.
- Mark of the Beast: Giulio is purported to have one somewhere on his body.
- Mercy Mode: Though you're able to refuse it by choosing Restart over Retry.
- Morality Pet: Alissa is yours, and because most of the choice points have to do with her, your ending will depend a lot on how you treat her.
- Multiple Endings: Two general ending patterns with a number of smaller variations, starting at the end of the very first battle.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: In effect everywhere and lampshaded in Ragnus' case.
- Never Found the Body: Fiona's body isn't shown in the second Espada Massacre, telling she's alive. Though you won't see her unless you have the A ending.
- Nintendo Hard: The Advance and Nightmare settings. Especially Nightmare.
- No One Could Survive That!: Giulio survives fatal wounds thanks to Gungnir. Though he would've died if Paulo were even a day later at arriving back at Espada.
- Noble Bigot: Noah, Robertus.
- Offing the Offspring: Wolfgang did this in order to escape a prophecy that his successor would kill him. Of course, he missed a couple.
- Orcus on His Throne: Justified with Wolfgang's illness, the political spats between Zaird and Robertus, and the difficulty Zaird would likely have on a battlefield with uneven ground in his war wheelchair/personal chariot.
- Princesses Prefer Pink: Well, a redish colour.
- Post-Victory Collapse: Giulio manages to hold out despite his ordinarily fatal wounds long enough to get Gungnir and kick Pierre out, then faints and is in bed for about a week.
- Real Is Brown: Gungnir has the most subdued palette of any Dept. Heaven game released thus far—even Knights in the Nightmare had brightly colored characters and bullets.
- Scarf of Asskicking: Ragnus.
- Sequel Hook: We never find out what happens to Ragnus or Valerie, Robertus is still a problem, and then there's all that stuff Hierameir and Isabeli were saying about The End of the World as We Know It.
- Sibling Rivalry: Giulio has an inferiority complex over how accomplished Ragnus is and wants to catch up to him.
- Spoiler Opening: The initial appearance of Gungnir is depicted, as is the final battle versus Isaveli and Ragnus, although it's not readily apparent that the latter is a spoiler.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Giulio and Alissa, even in the best endings. Thanks for that, Robertus.
- Status Effects: Such as Undead and Batrifynote , as well as element-ism note , for starters.
- Tears of Blood: Giulio in the opening. They are also Black Blood.
- Tell Me About My Father: Giulio was very young when his father died, so this is the natural end result.
- Theme Naming: There's a lot of Hispanic influence in the names thus far; "Esperanza" specifically means "hope".
- Through His Stomach: Esperanza owes more than half of its recruits to Fiona's cooking.
- Try Not to Die: Fiona says this to Ragnus and Giulio after they leave to the Gate of Lament. You can either promise to return alive or promise victory.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Noah, Claude, and Teresa are so unlucky that they die as soon as the third stage!
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Played through on Basic first and found Nightmare to not be too big an increase in difficulty? The Gate of Lament fixes that for you.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Noah, Claude, Teresa.
- Wutai Theft: Ragnus pulls it when the army retreats from Robertus and stays behind to help everyone else escape. Valerie pulls it later, but she comes back after strengthening Esperanza, subverting it.
- You Shall Not Pass!: Ragnus pulls this to an entire army. While he ultimately fails, he accomplished his goal.
- Youngest Child Wins: It's Giulio rather than his older siblings Ragnus and Fiona who gets to be the hero of the story. Granted, this may not be such a good thing.