Less like a strong knight and more like a self-destructing golem.
Being the commander of a troop of medieval soldiers is always a fascinating concept for a game. Strategy RPGs are an effective way of letting you play out this fantasy. While Exorder tries to do this, many frustrations hold it back. The concept might be strong, but the execution is not as fascinating as the dream it tries to fulfill.
One of the best parts of an RPG for me is the ability to play the way that I want to. Whether this is picking my character’s jobs and abilities or choosing how I tackle a level. This is the first area that falls short. Each level felt like it was pushing me to one strategy and I would fail if I didn’t use it. In one level I tried to play a more defensive and controlling style but failed due to a computer-controlled character messing up. In the next level, I went with the aggressive style that won me the previous level to simply die with no hope. While levels will be different and lean towards different styles, Exorder almost requires you to go with one specific playstyle in each level.
When it comes to ways to play, controls are another important aspect. Strangely in a grid-based strategy RPG, you cannot use the D-pad. You have to use the sticks, with the left stick used for “snap” movement and the right used for “free” movement. The free movement felt sluggish and imprecise, while the snap was faster, but so sensitive that I often flew past the space or character I actually wanted to select. This led to putting units on the wrong space or wasted time, as I then had to cycle through many units and buildings before finally getting back to the unit I was intending to select in the first place.
The overall visual style is nice looking clean and bright. It works well for some of the silly units on display and the bright colors pop to make it fun to look at. While the story is predictable it doesn’t get in the way of the gameplay and sets up the different missions well.
At a base level, what is present in Exorder is good. However, some frustrations take away from what could be an otherwise pretty good or even great game. SRPGs should be about planning out your next move and not figuring out how to fix your unit going to the wrong place because of the twitchy “snap” movement as you pressed A. If you are a fan of SRPGs and you have some patience to work around these shortcomings, then this might be a good pick-up for you, otherwise you may want to find one of the better titles on the eShop.