Video Game Review: 13 Sentinels


Credit: Elizabeth Zhong

Join WSPN’s Izzy Poole-Evans as she reviews various video games she plays in her spare time.

“13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim” made it’s debut in stores in the west back in Sep. 2020. I saw the trailer for this game on Twitter that morning and something just clicked with me; I needed this game. I bought this game the day it was released, which is something I haven’t done since 2012 when Persona 4 Golden came to the Playstation Vita. I had no idea what this game was going to be, as I’ve never played a Vanillaware game before. However, this game has absolutely beautiful aspects and completely blew me away.

You play as 13 different characters, hence the name, and get to experience an invasion in Japan through 13 different people. The stories all intertwine in one way or another, this can happen by simply running into another character at high school or fighting in giant mechas to save the city in some weird and twisted dreamscape. The story “officially” begins in 1985 when students Juro Kurabe, Iori Fuyusaka and Shu Amiguchi get together to talk about a shared dream they had. In this dream, they see themselves fighting inside robots and using technology they can’t even comprehend to combat even more robots called the Kaiju. From there we meet more and more characters from different timelines and different years. They do all have one thing in common though: they were chosen to pilot the Sentinels to fight back against the Kaiju invasion that threatens Japan as a whole. After unlocking three or four characters, the story gets super complicated and intense, and the only way to truly understand it is to play through it.

13 Sentinels combines RTS (real time strategy) battles with visual novel type storytelling. In most reviews of 13 Sentinels, the RTS system is disregarded and sort of pushed to the side. It’s accurate to say that the main reasons for buying the game are for the visuals and intricate storytelling, but the RTS battles were a nice break from murderous talking cats and stupid teenagers.

The character sprites as well as all of the backgrounds are all so beautifully drawn, and I found myself getting distracted every time there was a new cutscene or new character introduced. Earlier this year, I showed one of my friends the doomsday trailer, and, despite not liking JRPG’s, he bought it and invested hours and hours into it.

“These types of games really aren’t my thing because I find most JRPG’s super annoying and repetitive,” Poole-Evans’s friend said. “But this game was genuinely breathtaking. The graphics, the story and everything was perfect.”

I don’t have much to say about the soundtrack, if you hate the games’ very specific style of music, then odds are you’ll hate the entire soundtrack. Personal opinions don’t make an OST bad, nor should they sway you into disliking it without listening to it. That being said, none of the people I know have played the game and liked the music. My two cents are: the music fits. Each song fits like a glove in their corresponding cutscenes and makes the experience more enjoyable overall. Not to mention, the combat music always goes hard. Always.

I’m giving 13 Sentinels an 8/10. There are parts of the game I wish were altered, mostly in the story exploration department. As I stated above, this game is gorgeous and fantastically written. If you like RTS games, JRPG’s, crazy robot invasions or insane storytelling, then I am wholeheartedly telling you to invest in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.