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Yggdra Unison is a spinoff to Yggdra Union. It was originally developed and released for the cellphone in 2007, then remade for the Nintendo DS in 2009. It uses all the same visual assets as Yggdra Union, with extra promotional art by character designer Kiyudzuki Satoko. The DS version features two hidden characters, twice the amount of music, and an extra story route.
The year is 1490.
On the mortal world of Ancardia, there was a continent home to a number of countries. The most powerful among them was a kingdom called Fantasinia, which had been ruled for ages by wise and just sovereigns. Fantasinia enjoyed a golden age under its 31st monarch, King Ordene, but it was not to last. Three years ago, the country of Bronquia—an empire to the northwest—had undergone a coup d’état, and its youthful new emperor Gulcasa had since reformed his decaying country into a strong military state.
One day, Gulcasa led his army in a blitzkrieg attack against Fantasinia, claiming the kingdom’s territory of Fort Karona and killing the king. The continental world was shocked by this development—Fantasinia had always been the dominant world power, and if it had been shaken, what was the age coming to?
And so, all the major world powers gathered their forces, and began attacking each other with reckless abandon in hopes of coming out on top of the heap. It was the beginning of a chaotic new Warring States Period in Ancardia.
Some fight in order to end the war; some see the battle as a chance to prove themselves, or to establish their ways as correct. Some wade into the war in order to reclaim things that they have lost, and some have desires to fulfill that only they understand. The only thing that’s certain is that there’s only room for one nation to come out on top, and no one has any intentions of backing down.
Yggdra Unison is a lighthearted what-if story that reimagines Yggdra Union from the very beginning, allowing any one of twelve characters to step into the role of protagonist. Very rarely for a Sting title, almost all of its endings are positive ones—and the overall comedic air of the story gives the cast of characters some breathing room to show their sillier sides.
The cast of Yggdra Union returns for this game; all battle-capable cast members except for Marietta, #367, and Hector’s Servants reappear.
The twelve player characters are Gulcasa, Yggdra, Milanor, Emelone, Pamela, Roswell, Rosary, Ortega, Dort, Gordon, Juvelon, and Nessiah. All of them appear as they did in Yggdra Union without any significant alteration of their personalities, but because the circumstances of the war are a bit different in this game, exact allegiances and reasons for fighting may differ slightly for some.
Yggdra Unison takes its parent title’s character classes and throws out essentially everything else about the system. Cards and the weapons triangle do reappear, but in an altered form.
The game is played by selecting one of the twelve world leaders and using their army to conquer the rest of the world area by area. Battles are fought in real-time, and in order to win them you must capture the enemy’s base by defeating the general sitting on it and then putting a unit there. You lose if all your characters are defeated or if the enemy captures your base instead.
For each battle, you choose a card out of the full available deck. Cards are face-down, and you cannot ascertain which is which without trying them out; you can also only use each once per playthrough. Cards will activate automatically in battle if the right conditions are met. They all have different effects from the original game—Gulcasa’s special move Genocide, for instance, used to KO the rest of his unit in order to power him up; in this game, it powers Gulcasa down slightly to boost the attack power of the rest of the party.
Formations of a sort are important in this game as with Yggdra Union, but in a different way—being able to effectively deal damage depends on executing combo attacks. When your first character hits the enemy, all your allies will be assigned numbers and the enemy will be sent flying, and a circular radius will open up around them. To continue attacking, you have to input the number of an ally that’s inside the radius, and then the enemy will be sent flying again, and you have to input another number from memory if someone else is in range. It’s a very frenetic combination of memorization games and pinball.
You are allowed to have five characters in your army—your protagonist plus four others. Each army starts out with a different number of characters, depending on who the hero’s allies are: Emelone, for instance, begins the game with Ishiene and Nietzsche in her roster, in addition to two nameless soldiers to fill up the extra slots. Named characters are immensely more powerful than generics. As you conquer each territory, you have the option of trying to recruit the enemy generals you defeat; if you already have four party members, you must dismiss one of them for good to fit a new general in.
There are two notable exceptions: When playing as Gulcasa, you’re randomly assigned four of his generals, as he has the most territory and the most allies. Nessiah is a special case when it comes to the power level of generics—because he has extra difficulty recruiting, his nameless soldiers are super-strong to make up for the handicap.
Whether or not characters will join your party when you ask depends on a hidden stat called Pride. If your conquered territory is equal to or greater than the character’s Pride they will join you, and if not, they will refuse. If their home country is allied to yours, Pride is waived, but if their home country is your enemy, Pride is doubled.
While you’re running around attacking different areas, the AI-controlled other countries are also all attacking each other. As you progress through the game, you’ll get reports about what’s going on all around the world—who just attacked who, and what kinds of natural disasters are occurring.
At the beginning of the game, only Yggdra and Milanor can be selected as player characters—all the others must be unlocked by fulfilling two to four conditions that can be viewed from the select screen. When you’ve fulfilled conditions, they’ll show up in red on the lists. These conditions can be anything from having your highest damage score reach above a certain number, to winning the game with a certain character on your team, to deploying people to search for items a certain number of times within one playthrough.
The two hidden characters in the DS version work a little bit differently. Mistel’s area must be manually added to the map in each playthrough by discovering a hidden item while Fantasinia is still in play. Nessiah is added to the map in a similar fashion, but once you unlock him as a playable character he will be an active participant in the war forever.
A lot of the fun of the game comes from the different elements that are designed to show off unexpected aspects of characters’ personalities that couldn’t be revealed in Yggdra Union. Sometimes named characters will have conversations when attacking each other; whether or not your party will equip items that you give to them generally depends on meeting very quirky conditions (maps can only be used by people with a sense of direction, for instance).
Too, when you successfully conquer the world, all characters in your party will be assigned titles and you’ll get a description of how people came to think of them or what they did after the war. For characters that didn’t do very much, these titles will often take personality traits and exaggerate them humorously to explain their refusal to contribute or ineffectiveness.
The DS version includes a sound test, item manual, and card library that unlock after you’ve completed the game once.
Yggdra Unison Drama CD – Features three episodes, one each for Fantasinia, Milanor’s thieves, and Bronquia. Has the same cast as Yggdra Union.