TGS 2009: Hands-on: Sands of Destruction

Sands of Destruction has been a long time coming. After being released in Japan in September, it was announced for North America in December 2008, and then given a distant release date of January 2010. I was honestly a little surprised that the English version of Image Epoch's RPG was actually in attendance in Sega's meeting room at TGS, as that suggests it's a real game that Sega actually intends to publish.
Sands of Destruction's battle system (that was the entirety of my experience) is heavily combo focused, typically letting your characters choose multiple attacks or actions per turn. Different attacks can have status effects or cause the enemy to be knocked back or knocked upward into the second screen -- which opens up more options for attack. For example, when Taupy, a heroic teddy bear, renders an enemy airborne, he can follow up with an attack called Victory Dance. All attacks have their own timer, which must fill before the attack can be used again, adding a somewhat Active Time-like element to the turn-based action. There are also "blood attacks" that consume MP in addition to requiring a charge.

The other unique aspect of Sands of Destruction's combat is its "Quip" system. You can equip certain "quips" to certain events, and they will trigger randomly upon satisfaction of the requirements and offer some kind of bonus. For example, you can set Taupy's quip "I'm a professional" to the end of a battle, and he will then occasionally utter that very boast following a battle, at which point the team is awarded double experience. Even more hilariously, Kyrie, the main character, nasally intoned "It's probably my fault" after taking damage.

This quip system, along with the inclusion of a deep-voiced stuffed animal who is clearly the strongest fighter on the team, give Sands of Destruction a somewhat humorous air, which sounds like it could be inappropriate for a game in which the goal is to end the world, but somehow it works.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.