PS5 Unicorn Overlord

Published on March 29th, 2024 | by Abdul Saad

Unicorn Overlord PS5 Review

Unicorn Overlord PS5 Review Abdul Saad

Summary: Though not without its flaws, Unicorn Overlord is a fantastic tactical RPG that has a highly rewarding and satisfying gameplay loop. 


A Royal Experience

Unicorn Overlord is Atlus and Vanillaware’s latest tactical JRPG, which had a lot of excitement behind it for a while. The title boasts a big fantasy world players can explore and over sixty characters they’ll get acquainted with. After playing through the game and experiencing all that it has to offer, I can confidently say that it is one of the best tactical RPGs around, despite some of its lackluster elements.

Unicorn Overlord begins with the fall of the Kingdom of Cornia by former General Valmore, who successfully performs a coup under the nose of Queen Ilenia by turning her troops against her. After the queen’s defeat, Valmore usurped Cornia and its neighboring nations under the Zenorian empire. However, in the midst of the chaos before the usurpation, Ilenia is able to send her loyal knight Josef to secure her son Alain to a nearby town alongside the symbol of Cornian royalty, the Ring of the Unicorn. Years pass, and players take control of Alain as he begins his role as the leader of the Liberation Army, whose goal is to liberate all kingdoms from the evil clutches of the Zenorian Empire.

Throughout the game, players move from town to town, liberating them in the process and meeting characters who will help Alain in his quest along the way. While the setting, dialogue, and characters are well-written and match the medieval theme quite well, the narrative is notably a bit too surface-level. Players control Alain as he meets characters and defeats enemies, which usually leads to him executing them or recruiting them into his ranks. Every plot point and narrative progression only contributes to him liberating the kingdom, including many of the side quests. The villains are also one-note and only serve as tools to progress the plot and as antagonists to defeat to end the story.

While many side quests focus on characters going through their family matters and figuring out their role in life, these are few and far between and executed in a rather shallow and barebones way, or just too rushed to leave any impact on the player. Though I will say that this isn’t much of a surprise due to the game’s size and scope.

However, while the story could’ve used more fleshing out, the overall narrative was executed exceptionally, thanks to its impeccable Japanese and English voice acting and impressive dialogue writing.

In terms of gameplay, Unicorn Overlord features excellent features and mechanics that provide a great tactical gameplay experience. As opposed to regular turn-based JRPGs, players build units of several characters and deploy them on the battlefield to face enemy units and capture enemy territory. These units can have up to five characters, all of which can have different classes. Hoplites are big, bulky guys with giant shields that defend other characters but lack attacking power. Archers and mages are placed in the back to deal damage to enemies from afar with ranged attacks. Knights are the standard class placed up front and have a good balance of attack and defeat. On the other hand, thieves are also placed right up front but focus primarily on attacks. These are just some of the many classes in Unicorn Overlord, and acquiring, managing, and learning how to properly deploy, position, and utilize them is often the difference between victory and failure in combat.

Tactical gameplay also feels highly satisfying, thanks to the game’s many features and elements. Properly positioning units and anticipating enemy movements, learning when to garrison units to heal them and secure bases, when to withdraw units to strategically reposition them, using limited items, defending forts and attacking them all feel incredibly satisfying. Additionally, failing in battle never feels like the game’s fault, but properly strategizing with what you have is the key to success in battle.

While players cannot control their units in combat, the game respects their time enough to give them tools for optimal strategizing which speeds things up tremendously . The ability to save and load at any point during battles, fast-forward battles, skip to the end of battles, and tweak settings on the fly are great tools that allow players to properly focus on strategies and tactics.

Outside combat, players will strengthen their troops and newly liberated towns by recruiting new characters through side quests. These side quests are well crafted to make each character feel more than just pawns on a board, as they all have their own back stories and personalities.

Players will also gather items and deliver them to stores to unlock more facilities like additional stores and taverns. This is done by moving around the Overworld and interacting with items and talking to NPCs. While moving around the Overworld is primarily painless, pulling up the map every time during traversal to fully understand where you’re going was a bit annoying, as the minimap is too small to be of any use.

Other than that, Unicorn Overlord is also presented excellently. The game features fantastic character designs, crisp animations, beautiful backgrounds, and an overall excellent art direction. The excellent combination of all these features makes the game one of the best-looking titles from Vanillaware thus far. Lastly, the game runs really well on PlayStation 5. I didnt run into any frame rate dips, lags, or crashes.

Final Thoughts?

Overall, though not without its flaws, Unicorn Overlord is a fantastic tactical RPG that has a highly rewarding and satisfying gameplay loop. 

About the Author'

Abdul Saad is a seasoned entertainment journalist and critic, and has been writing for five years on multiple gaming sites. When he isn't writing or playing the latest JRPG, he can be found coding games of his own or tinkering with something electrical.

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