13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Moby ID: 150382
Buy on PlayStation 4
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Official Description (Ad Blurb)

Vanillaware, the storytellers behind Odin Sphere and Dragon’s Crown, craft a sci-fi mystery epic spanning thirteen intertwining stories in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.

Uncover the truth and delve into a 2D sidescrolling adventure featuring gorgeous art and environments. Then, battle the kaiju in fast-paced, top-down combat. Customize the Sentinels with an arsenal of mechsuit weaponry, and fight to defend humanity!

Offline single player
Uses DUALSHOCK 4 vibration function
Enhanced game play on PS4 Pro console

Online features require an account and are subject to terms of service and applicable privacy policy (playstationnetwork.com/terms-of-service & playstationnetwork.com/privacy-policy).

Software subject to license (us.playstation.com/softwarelicense).

One-time license fee for play on account’s designated primary PS4™ system and other PS4™ systems when signed in with that account.

Source: PlayStation Store Description

Spellings

  • 13기병방위권 - Korean spelling
  • 十三机兵防卫圈 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 十三機兵防衛圈 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 十三機兵防衛圏 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (PlayStation 4 version)

305 People (292 developers, 13 thanks) · View all

Juro Kurabe
Juro Izumi
Megumi Yakushiji
Iori Fuyusaka
Chihiro Morimura
Chihiro Morimura (Child)
Chihiro Morimura (Adult)
Chihiro Morimura (AD 2188)
Ei Sekigahara
Ei Sekigahara (AD 2188)
Renya Gouto
Ryoko Shinonome
Ryoko Shinonome (AD 2188)
Natsuno Minami
Natsuno Minami (AD 2188)
Tomi Kisaragi
Tomi Kisaragi (AD 2188)
Miyuki Inaba
Yuki Takamiya
Yuki Takamiya (AD 2188)
Shi Amiguchi
Tetsuya Ida
Tetsuya Ida (Youth)
Tetsuya Ida (AD 2188)
Keitaro Miura
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 25 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.4 out of 5 (based on 8 ratings with 1 reviews)

A clever gimmick transforms a mediocre plot into a storytelling masterpiece

The Good
Calling 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim an graphic adventure would be an overstatement. Yes, the player can move the characters around and activate hotspots, but the game is almost completely linear and 95% of the time is spent talking. But it doesn't matter because it is disguised in one of the most gorgeous 2D graphics I have ever seen. The backgrounds are fantastic and the character models are detailed. The budget was obviously not endless (the animations are stiff and some of the backgrounds are reused a bit too much), but overall the game is a joy to look at.

But that wouldn't help without a solid story, and 13 Sentinels delivers on that front as well. It has a very fascinating mystery which is told through the eyes of 13 protagonists. Those stories use a fragmented order which was a great choice because the plot itself is only mildly interesting in itself. Thanks to this gimmick and the adequately written dialogue it works exceptionally well. For a Japanese game, the dialogue is on the point and mostly avoids unnecessary babbling.

Additionally there is a combat component in which the team uses mechs to fend off enemy assaults. The player can freely switch between the adventure and combat mode, but because of their intertwined checkpoints (to continue with battles, the player has to have reached a certain point in the adventure part and vice versa) both have to be finished. Originally I didn't like combat too much because its narrative is set after the adventure part and it is too easy, but I quickly warmed up to it. Unlocking more and more mech abilities is satisfying and it serves as a welcome diversion after spending much time talking.

The Bad
The game has a rough start: because of the fragmented storytelling and the huge amount of characters it took me a long time until I understood the foundation of the story well enough to get excited for it. I don't hold this against the game, but the Japanese names made it even harder to understand who is who - thankfully the player can use the codex at any time to look most names up.

Unfortunately the last fourth of the game holds no surprises. The big reveal happens shortly after the midway mark (the exact time may change depending on the playing order) and then the plot just goes through the motions. Don't get me wrong, the story never becomes boring, but the end isn't very exciting either. I didn't like the school setting and the romances. It may be because I played too many games about teenagers lately, but especially the romances were just too superficial.

However, my biggest issue is easily named: the fast forward for already seen text doesn't work for battle debriefs. This means you have to hammer the skip button when replaying battles for a better score. But the fact that I voluntarily replayed battles often enough that this annoyed me says a lot about how much I enjoyed this part of the game...

The Bottom Line
Without the fragmented storytelling 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim would have a standard narrative among dozens. But because of this clever approach it has become one of the most interesting story games I have ever played. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone who has a place in their heart for adventures or visual novels.

PlayStation 4 · by Patrick Bregger (304107) · 2021

Trivia

Version differences

When compared to the PS4 version, the Switch version gives each of the 13 Sentinels 2 new weapon skills each for a total of 26 new skills not seen in the original PS4 version release. However, the Japanese PS4 version received a free patch on August 4, 2022 that includes this addition plus English voice-overs.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kam1Kaz3NL77.

Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto.

Additional contributors: Alaka.

Game added September 27, 2020. Last modified May 25, 2024.