Note: Screenshots were taken while playing in Japanese. Screenshots will be described or translated. Settings can be changed by adjusting the language option to English as well.
This is the fifth installment of the
Mercenaries series by Rideon Japan. The first one was exclusive to smartphones. The second and third were released to smartphones as well as ported to the Nintendo 3DS. There is a compilation of the first three titled Mercenaries Saga Chronicles that is available for the Nintendo Switch. The fourth one entitled Mercenaries Wings was released for the Nintendo Switch as well as Playstation 4. Mercenaries Blaze is the first installment available to PC, PS4, as well as Nintendo Switch.
It might be obvious, but this game (as well as the rest of the Mercenaries games) is about a group of mercenaries (in this case led by the young Lester) fighting to make money. Eventually they get caught up into something big story-wise and have to make a choice of which route to choose. This choice affects the rest of the game. Luckily there is a new game + with special equipment and SP spillover in which you can choose the other route or change difficulty.
[Lester; Class: Esquire] He is the leader of the mercenary group the player commands and the main character of the story. Here is the options menu where you can equip, learn skills, check your items, change AI settings, and see your character stats. GAMEPLAY:
It is a typical
SRPG with similar layouts that if you have played a SRPG before will be accustomed to. It is simplified to an extent and yet has its own nuances.
A rotating view of the battlefield before the start of each battle. If you are not a fan of the grid outline, it can be turned off via options in the main menu.
The sortie menu where you add characters before each battle. The number on top is how many you add to each battle. After adding, you can change direction in which they face. After a few chapters, you gain what is called a Leader Skill. This is a special skill for the first person sortied and is a bonus added that affects all characters. Different classes offer different Leader Skills for each character.
[Winning conditions: Defeat all enemies / Losing conditions: All allies defeated] Most battles will have defeat all enemies as the winning condition. Sometimes there is defeat of a certain character for a winning condition but not as often. The flow of battle goes ‘Player Turn’ then ‘Enemy Turn’. Anyone can attack in any order so there is no individual speed. This is akin to the Fire Emblem series.
A screen detailing data of an attack. Naturally, back attacks do more damage, side attacks do less, and front attacks do the least. Equipping a shield has a chance to reduce damage taken. The attack here will do 23 hit points damage, with 100 percent accuracy, and a 13 percent chance for a critical hit. If a character has a weapon in range for a counterattack, it will. This goes for when attacking and when being attacked. Here it will be 5 hit points with 100 percent accuracy. Skills are susceptible to counterattacks as well if they are in range. However, magic is not. The number to the left of EXP or experience is something called ‘Hate’. The higher the hate, the more enemies will focus on a certain character. It can increase in battle by killing other enemies or healing allies, etc.
Here is the menu screen mid-battle. You can check sortied allies, quick save, load, go to options, check back dialogue, change AI settings, and end everyone’s turn early. The ‘Leader Skill’ is listed below losing conditions. Here it is a bonus HP +10 to all. The number of treasure chests and hidden treasures the map offers is listed below that.
Upon completion of a battle, you get SP which is what you use to learn or strengthen new skills and unlock new classes. [Stage Clear: 640; Enemy defeat bonus: 0; Early-stage bonus: 0; All treasure obtained bonus: 150, Bonus total: 163] There is no permadeath but a countdown starts (how long depends on which difficulty) when a character is defeated. When it reaches 0, they leave the battle and do not gain SP.
The main menu is where you can go to formation, shop, go to battle (story battles and extra battles), save, load, and system options. The chapter is listed on the bottom right. You can not actually move to other places like in Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre.
The red-crossed swords symbol is a story battle and must be fought to advance the story. The non-red ones are extra battles that aren’t required but do give experience, SP, money, and special rewards for clearing. There is something called EX battles which you have to beat the game once (are able to start all over with special equipment carryover and SP carryover), start a new game plus, then make it to the final battle for them to unlock.
Skills, skill level, and how much SP is required to use them. Each skill level that is increased costs more MP to use than the previous level. However, it is more powerful and can have its range extended. You can adjust the level you want to use in battle as well should you only need a certain amount to heal or damage or possibly if you do not have enough MP to use a higher level.
Changing classes is first available at level 10. Two options are available which cost 300 SP to unlock. The screenshot informs the player asking if they want to change class with or without changing equipment. Classes can be changed back and forth without any loss of SP or penalty as SP for each character is applied to all classes. At level 20, you can unlock four more classes in which two require puzzle pieces to exchange for a certain item.
After a few battles, you can acquire puzzle pieces. These are exchanged for special equipment and special class-changing items. They are gotten by picking up treasure and from extra battles. You can sell the special equipment at a reduced price to get more if you need it. All gold, rainbow, and blue-tinted forged items are carried over on each subsequent playthrough.
A regular-based item needs a blue-tinted or magic-infused item to forge. These blue-tinted items can be dropped, gotten from treasure, and bought at the shop. The ability added is on the far-right which would add 5+ for evasion. and would cost 256 G However, weapons can not have evasion added so it indicates it with an X. It is luck of the draw when it comes to what equipment appears at the shop. Sometimes great items can be gotten early, other times, nothing. The better the ability, usually the more it costs.
[Allow me to turn down your request / I humbly accept] This is the big decision of the game and can’t be changed until a new game plus. Either join and become the ‘Knights route’ or refuse and become the ‘Mercenaries route’. I personally like the mercenaries route (well it is called Mercenaries Blaze) but it is your decision. Caution, some characters leave if you choose the knight route while some never join if you choose the mercenaries route. I believe the knight route is somewhat harder because characters leave and the player is left with fewer characters at first until others join later.
The music is decent enough although nothing too memorable comes to mind for my favorite track. Not that is a bad thing because nothing is really horrible either.