Vandal Hearts II uses a three-map layout of an overworld map, town map and a battle map. The overworld features a basic map of the country with dots to mark the location of points of interest. Players travel over the overworld map by clicking on the points of interest and moving towards the location they have chosen.
The dots on the overworld map have been divided into two sections, battle maps and town maps with all but a select few maps being re-visitable. Some locations open up only to advance the story.
Town maps are a screenshot of the town with locations of interest selected from the menu on the right of the screen, featuring the local tavern, shops and little else except where the story deterermines otherwise.
Vandal Hearts II boasts over 120 different weapon and armour combinations and the game features non-set classes unlike many other RPGs. Warriors can be changed to Healers without any penalties. This is achieved through the armour and weapon systems, skills must be learned through equipping weapons and earning enough points to master them, while armour determines the characters hit points and magic points as well as movement rates and defence.
Combat in Vandal Hearts II is done using a new Dual-Turn System, stated as being an Active Time Battle system for tactical RPGs. The dual-turn system permits both the player and the computer to move one unit on the battlemap simultaneously.
Vandal Hearts II' takes place in the country of Natra and follows the story of Joshua from childhood until adulthood, focusing his progress through the civil war that tears his home country apart. The early stages of the game introduce the hero and his childhood companions and acts as a prologue to future events in the hero's adult life.
The adult stages of the game shows the country of Natra immersed in a civil war with both warring factions having foreign backers. Joshua's renegade band of outlaws gets drawn into a plot to create a third faction to end the war and restore peace.
- The protagonist of the game, he is only 13 years of age when the story begins, a farmer's son in the village of Polata. An orphan at young age, his parents died in a squabble with nobles and thus he is raised by his Uncle Kordif. Due to the mayor's progressive education system he was allowed to socialise with Adele, a member of the aristocracy. They became extremely good friends bordering on romance.
- Joshua ends up being manipulated into killing the mayor, resulting in his forming the Red Wolves bandit group. However he eventually falls into the company of Baron Pratau and the two men begin to shape and influence the country during the civil war. He would then help Pratau reform the White Dragons unit, and whilst Pratau is occasionally known as "the leader", he was more of a tactician while major decisions usually would lie in Joshua's hands, making Joshua the "actual leader".
- Adele was the chatelaine of the House of Byron, laird of the Polata village. Although she spent a lot of her childhood with Joshua, circumstances resulted in their parting. In her adult life she was manipulated by a religious cult to become their head public figure.
King Nicola Atkin Nantra
Captain Agress the Swift
Vlad- from Vernantz Colony
Hammet from Lowitz Village
Vandal Hearts II is considered by one source to be vastly superior to its predecessor.
General criticism of Vandal Hearts II has mostly to do with the storyline. IGN considered the story lackluster enough to not even "remember it", CNET also agrees considering the storyline to be one that most people "won't care to follow". GIA on the other hand believes that the game lacks the variety of its predecessor, with standard "kill everything" missions.
The controls and battle system were also criticized for being stiff and laborious and the story as long and as twisting as it was linear.
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