You are Ashley Riot, a Riskbreaker agent for the Valendia Knights of Peace. Caught in the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse between good and evil, a battle wages between the Knights of the Crimson Blade and the Mullenkamp Cult, lead by their heartless leader Sydney Losstarot.
Combat is central to the game.The game runs in real time but when entering combat and attacking an enemy, the game is paused. A wireframe sphere showing the range of your currently selected weapon and detailed statistics on the different body parts of the enemies within range.
The game features a range of weapons. Each weapon can be disassembled and reassembled in workshops scattered throughout the game, attaching gems for extra power. Weapons used constantly against the same type of enemy improve in power against them.
Ashley can also make use of Magic, Chain Abilities and Break Arts. Magic is broken into four groups, namely defense, combat, healing and status. Spells use up mana points and are sometimes more costly than useful. Chain Abilities allow you to make consecutive hits against enemies. Break Arts are learnt after repetitive use of a weapon type. Sacrificing some of your health you can perform a high damage attack on an enemy.
Featuring a complex and twisted storyline, Vagrant Story feels more like an interactive comic than a game. The characters have speech bubbles instead of voice overs. This actually work very well and allows the player to progress at their own pace.