While the terrain is often bland, thankfully, different elevation makes battle situations more than just a direct power struggle. And since the game is not very difficult, leveling-up too much will make the game substantially easier than it needs to be (unless of course, you like that sort of thing).
Overall, the battle structure requires a healthy dose of strategy when deciding how to effectively utilize the AP (Action Points) system. All your combat actions, like moving, attacking, skill casting, team attacks, and even item usage cost AP, so thinking wisely can decide whether you'll end up a formidable force or overpowered.
Zone skills can be a major pain until you develop the skills to neutralize attacks that can hinder your party's offensive and defensive abilities. For example, when an enemy casts “Fear”, any character(s) within a certain range will be unable to attack. As you advance further into the game, some skills, like “Regeneration” (heals all allies within a certain range at the end of each turn) will be essential for your party's survival. However, these skills don't just appear out of nowhere, they need to be learned using SP points earned in battle. By improving the “rank” of your characters (you have to find or create certain items and meet certain stat requirements to rank up), you can increase the number of skills that can be equipped.
Going into this review, I was looking forward to a bit more of the quirky, unique formula as seen in Disagea. Stella Deus opted to take the safe route and create a more accessible, solid game for traditional purists. Whether you choose to rent or go all out with an actual purchase, Stella Deus is a well-built RPG that's certain to entertain those looking to satisfy their adventurous appetite.