|2011-05-22||PSP||Strategy/RPG||T (Teen)||Square Enix|
Many strategy RPGs appeared during the Super Nintendo era, and several became part of the Playstation games library later on. One of these was Tactics Ogre, which now has an updated version on the PSP.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together takes place in the kingdom of Valeria, at a time where a series of important events will impact the life of our main hero. Denim, his sister Kachua and his friend Vice go through dark times and epic battles, in a tale of friendship, hate and betrayal during a civil war.
The gameplay in Tactics Ogre takes place in two distinct parts. In one of them, you talk to people, watch the story develop and do some shopping, although this never takes place in an exploratory fashion but by reading text and seeing some artwork. The second part is the action, so to speak, in the form of tactical combat, which may not be new and inventive but it's a system that offers plenty of options that will appeal to the strategist in you. The battles are very similar to those in Final Fantasy Tactics, which isn't surprising, considering both games have the same director. However, here you can have up to 12 party members in the battlefield.
During a battle, each opposing faction takes their turn with all characters. Characters have a number of options available, such as move, attack (ranged or close combat), use skills, magic and use items. Actions cost points (MP or TP) which are accumulated throughout the duration of the battle, and everyone has Recovery Time which dictates when their turn is up, and is affected by whatever action they take.
There were two things that I wasn't very fond of. One was that there was no option to fast forward through enemy movement/action phase, which made some battles extremely long. Another was how to tell your party apart from the enemies. For the most part, when the enemies are monsters or soldiers wearing the same uniforms, you can tell who they are. But there are times where I had no clue who was on my side, especially when it comes to having A.I.-controlled allies doing their own thing on the battlefield. A way to make the look of my army more uniform would have been definitely welcome.
And speaking on A.I.-controlled allies, trying to keep them alive is many times frustrating, exactly because of this "doing their own thing". They will go and put themselves in danger, get surrounded and easily killed. And enemies do have a preference for swarming on weaker characters - just as we would do to their healers and mages.
An interesting feature called The Chariot lets you backtrack up to 50 turns, in case you find yourself making mistakes and losing a battle. This unusual game mechanic is definitely a welcome addition since it prevents you from having to start a battle from the beginning, and lets you "undo" whatever mistake, bringing more enjoyment to the game and saving you time in the event of failure.
Outside of battle you can customize your characters by unlocking skills, spells, changing their equipment or switching jobs, which is a rewarding in-depth and time-consuming task. For some, this might be overwhelming (as is looking at the tons of information on certain screens). But for those who have played Final Fantasy Tactics and truly enjoyed it, it's a welcome and somewhat familiar process.
During the adventure you will be given a few choices to make, which will influence events to come and ultimately the ending. The dialogs and story are to praise as they make these moments serious and meaningful, however, the characters lack depth. With the exceptions being our protagonists, you never seem to get to know any other characters well enough nor are they given enough personality. The music and voiced cutscenes are also a treat, and it's a shame that there aren't more of them throughout the game.
Overall, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is a good game that caters to strategy RPG fans. And it may also be the closest you're going to get to a Final Fantasy Tactics sequel, so there is no reason not to play it.