A large cast of one-note characters, a simple and dumb storyline, and fanservice dialed all the way up to eleven. If this was any other game, these would be giant negatives. For Eiyu*Senki Gold – A New Conquest, however, it’s a strength.
Blending Japan’s odd tendency of genderbending historical figures into anime waifus with the tactical gameplay of Sengoku Rance, Eiyu*Senki Gold is a hilarious and lighthearted adventure with simple yet charming characters. Featuring surprisingly deep gameplay and capable of easily providing over a hundred hours of gameplay, Gold gets a lot right and very little wrong.
Story – Simple and Not Important
You play as an amnesiac man who’s washed up on the shores of an island nation called Zipang. In your stupor, you’re rescued by a genderbent version of Japanese warlord Date Masamune, who adopts you as her little brother and tells you to go conquer the world.
That’s pretty much it. Let’s get one thing out of the way, the story only serves as a vessel for you to collect more anime waifus. If you’re looking for a deep and engrossing storyline, this isn’t the game. If you’re looking for a light-hearted and comedic adventure with a bunch of colorful characters, Eiyu*Senki Gold is perfect. The game is upfront about it too, with the Steam description even mocking the story. There really isn’t much to write home about, but the story does serve as a good backdrop for the main meat of the game: the characters.
Characters – Simple, Yet Endearing
An astonishing cast of over 70 recruitable characters, all with their own voice acting, events, CGs, and interactions. While the characters aren’t particularly deep or complex, Gold doesn’t pretend that they are. With so many characters, each with their own personalities and quirks, you’d be hard-pressed to not find at least a handful of characters you enjoy.
The tsundere Napoleon, the hopelessly lovelorn Aristotle, the ojousama Marie Antoinette; every character is essentially a walking anime trope. Eiyu*Senki Gold knows this and plays it to their advantage, often making for hilarious scenarios and events.
I liked the vast majority of the characters, only finding a few to be boring or not particularly interesting. In such a giant cast, that’s a pretty commendable feat. Among my favorites were Napoleon, Vlad the Impaler, and Date Masamune.
Napoleon serves as your typical tsundere, cold-hearted and distant at first but warms up as you interact with her. She warms up to the protagonist fairly quickly and isn’t afraid to confess her love bluntly later on. Beyond that, she cares deeply about her country and her friends and has a very intense sense of pride.
Vlad the Impaler is an adorable vampire who carries a morbidly stitched and impaled stuffed teddy bear around at all times. She often comes off as cold and standoffish, but she simply has a hard time expressing affection to her compatriots. Her event chain is one of the most heartwarming in the game and makes it hard not to root for her.
Masamune serves as the your advisor of sorts and your big sister. She’s a spunky, determined girl who follows her whims rather than her brains. Full of laughter, Masamune serves as the gag for many of the game’s jokes, with the main one being Masamune being determined to get you married off to every single girl you recruit. Eiyu*Senki Gold being self-aware is one of its strongest traits, often poking fun at itself, the genre, or making fun of history itself.
Talking about the entire cast would take up pages upon pages, so I’ll leave it at that. Overall, the giant cast is simple but effective, charming, and endearing.
Gameplay – Came for the “plot”, stayed for the gameplay
The game can be split up into two parts, half visual novel and half tactical RPG. You will be doing a lot of reading here, and I mean a lot. Nearly every character has an event chain of five events, all fully voice acted and containing their own mini-stories. These events are how you level up your affection with the character, which then unlocks powerful abilities, items, and skills. Although the game appears to have a grand strategy portion, it just serves as a glorified menu.
The combat is where Eiyu*Senki Gold begins to shine. Combat takes place on a 3×6 grid, with you only being able to field six units at a time. Units fall in different classes, including but not limited to: mages, artillery, swordsman, and gunners. These classes are part of an affinity system of units being stronger against others. For example, gunners deal bonus damage to all infantry but also take bonus damage from all infantry.
Outside of affinity, there’s also a brave gauge, a meter that builds up that allows you to use skills and abilities outside of basic attacks. Attacking an affinity-neutral unit builds up your own brave meter, while attacking a unit you have an affinity over builds up the enemy’s brave meter.
That means when your gunner hits an infantry unit, the gunner does bonus damage but also builds up the enemy’s affinity. When the enemy infantry hits your gunner, your gunner takes bonus damage but it also builds up your brave meter.
If your gunner attacks a neutral unit such as artillery, you build up brave meter. If the enemy artillery fires at your gunner, they build up brave meter. This leads to choosing between dealing bonus damage with affinity or attacking affinity-neutral enemies to build up your own brave meter. In later fights, simply attacking what you’re strong against may lead to the enemy building up a sizable brave meter, which they can use to execute a devastating attack.
All of this leads to positioning, team composition, and manipulating turn orders in order to win harder fights. The combat has a lot of nuance and is overall a ton of fun, and is easily the highlight of the game. With each character in the gigantic cast having their own abilities, passives, and ultimate hero skills, you’re seldom to become bored of combat due to the sheer amount of options you have.
Not everything is perfect though. Although combat is very enjoyable for the most part, there are some difficulty spikes and extremely annoying gimmick fights here and there. In some scenarios, you may even find yourself soft-locked in a bad position and forced to reload an earlier save, so make sure you make a lot of saves.
Although there is a giant cast of characters filled with unique and often niche abilities, it’s very clear who the best units in the game are. Units such as Achilles, Ishikawa Goemon, Sun Tzu, and Beethoven break the difficulty and are basically required for Very Hard or Nightmare.
As for hours, the game is capable of offering over a hundred hours of content easily. A first time playthrough is around 60 hours, and offers incentive for New Game+ on higher difficulties.
Graphics and Audio – Worldwide and addicting
For fans of the anime artstyle, this game is pure eye-candy. Varied and colorful designs combined with beautiful portraits and CGs primarily drawn by the acclaimed Ashito Oyari, Eiyu*Senki Gold is never a bore to look at.
Eiyu*Senki Gold features a staggering 253 CGs in the JAST USA / Director’s Cut edition and has 47 songs in the soundtrack.
One criticism about the art is the pacing. Despite the amount of CGs in the game, they’re very spread out. You can go dozens of hours without seeing a single CG, which is far too long.
Gold’s soundtrack does a lot to elevate the title; the different areas of the world all have their distinct themes. Fighting some bandits in Zipang plays the track “Sakura Typhoon”, an upbeat and cheerful battle theme with traditional Japanese instruments. On the other side of the ocean, fighting in the United States plays “Duel In The Wilderness”, a track heavily inspired by the ol’ Wild West era of the United States. Fighting in Russia plays “Snezhnaya Tundra”, an upbeat Russian waltz, etc., etc.
The soundtrack is overall extremely strong and I’ve found myself listening to many of the tracks outside of the game.
(Soundtrack uploaded by OST Lover)
Eiyu*Senki Gold – A New Conquest was reviewed on PC.