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Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048 (PC) artwork

Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048 (PC) review


"Certainly, efficiency is a key attribute of an effective soldier. For any member of the A.S.S.P., a unit of specially engineered female biosoldiers, it's an inherent quality. After only a few battles, and even fewer conversations, she won't hesitate to ask her superior officer out on a date. After a little walk to the park or a quick dinner, she'll jump right into bed. And after about two seconds, sheíll be fully dressed and focused on the next mission. Efficient indeed. "



Certainly, efficiency is a key attribute of an effective soldier. For any member of the A.S.S.P., a unit of specially engineered female biosoldiers, it's an inherent quality. After only a few battles, and even fewer conversations, she won't hesitate to ask her superior officer out on a date. After a little walk to the park or a quick dinner, she'll jump right into bed. And after about two seconds, sheíll be fully dressed and focused on the next mission. Efficient indeed.

That sums up the woefully underdeveloped relationship potion of this hentai/strategy hybrid, Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048. The tactical half teaches about the dangers of nuclear fallout. Following the Third World War, mutant creatures called Yoju emerged from radioactive sludge. The tentacled beasts attack what little is left of human civilization, turning men into drones and raping women to procreate more prolifically. In response to the threat, scientists created special weapons who just happen to be beautiful young women. As the new commander of the Anti-Strangebeast Special Police, your job is to guide the eight member squad to victory over the Yoju threat. Sleeping with them is just a bonus.

Combat takes place in different parts of the city: in the confines of a hospital, the vital resource of an airport, and the target-rich environment of a girlsí boarding school. Each of these campaigns is separated into three missions where the sides take turns moving on each other. The battlefield is divided into a grid and viewed from an isometric perspective -- just like many other strategy RPGs. You must exterminate the enemy with cute little versions of your fighters, but only six can be selected for use in each mission.

Pretty Soldier Wars possesses a couple of characteristics that make it especially challenging. The A.S.S.P. squadron is always outnumbered by a ratio of about four to one, and that includes at least two stronger boss-level monsters. The right attack from any enemy can shave off a quarter of someoneís life meter, but there arenít any restorative items, healing spells, and repair mechanisms, either. When a girlís hit points reach zero, sheís out of commission for the rest of the campaign. Standing toe-to-tentacle with a large group of Yoju is completely out of the question.

Instead, itís important to evaluate the surroundings and devise a way to thin their herd, but itís a difficult task regardless of the terrain. Slower units will be quickly surrounding and slaughtered in wide open spaces. On the other hand, closed quarters donít give all your fighters a chance to attack. They canít fire their guns through walls -- or each other -- so there must be a rotation in place to maximize their firepower. Itís always a delicate question of who you can afford to expose to the enemy force.

Thatís when Pretty Soldier Wars becomes particularly frustrating. On both sides, problems crop up when considering an attackís expected damage and its connection rate. The anticipated impact on HP is never displayed, and the amount it takes away can vary wildly, even between identical strikes. The hit percentage is visible, but even if it stands at 95%, a miss somehow seems more likely. These girls are armed with shotguns and submachine guns, but they canít hit the broadside of a towering monster. Not even snipers can reliably mark an unmoving target. Planning an assault involves too much unreliable guesswork.

The conditions never improve. The girls come with all kinds of personal statistics: speed, power, accuracy, movement. They all have a favorite weapon: revolvers, assault rifles, even a microvulcan cannon. And these things never change, so itís impossible to strengthen a unitís weaknesses. The most relatively interesting soldier is Marie, the gameís featured cover girl. She has these philosophical doubts about sacrificing herself for humanity when she is not even considered a normal woman. But sheís such a mediocre unit that she may never even get the chance to fight.

The only stat that does change is 'level,' which increases whenever a biosoldier participates in a mission, and this only determines when sheíll go out on a date. On these excursions, the girlís silky Japanese voice engages the main character in meaningless conversation. But his response never comes, because his dialogue just doesnít exist. Usually, the void would be filled by text choices to determine the outcome of the romantic events, or even the game itself. Here, though, accepting the date is the only decision you have to make. The silence causes some awkward segues between innocent banter and a roll in the sack, and it leaves a wide disconnect between the commander and all the girls.

That distance extends into the bedroom. Each of the biosoldiers appears in only one sexual layout, and the main character is nowhere to be seen. A couple of moans and itís on to the next fight. More attention is paid to the anonymous victims of the Yoju. Whenever a boss is encountered in battle, it holds a woman hostage, and PSW provides two whole pictures of its slimy, disgusting tentacles ripping off her clothes, sliding around her body, and invading her orifices. This focus seems completely backwards.

The game really has two distinct parts. The combat portion is surprisingly challenging, for both good and bad reasons. But in a hentai game, the sexual portion has to be substantially developed. This adventure takes about ten hours to complete, and nine and three-quarters of those are spent fighting. Put together, it doesní t feel like half a game. Thereís not even a real conclusion; the team is actively discussing their next move when the credits start to roll. That's because Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048 is actually part of a trilogy, so thereís an obvious implication: tune in next time to continue. If the story, relationships, and sex arenít better developed, not many people will.

Rating: 4/10

woodhouse's avatar
Community review by woodhouse (September 04, 2007)

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