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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together Impression

An update to a classic that’s one of the finest PSP titles available

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together on PSP is everything a series update, revival should be. It’s all the warm fuzzies remembered from the original in a new package where each aspect of the game from flow to story and graphics was examined and built almost from the ground up. The PSP is ripe with strategy role-playing games the likes of Disgaea, Jeanne D’Arc and Final Fantasy Tactics so why should gamers, fans of the genre get excited about Tactics Ogre? Simple put its dang near S-RPG perfection.

Gameplay – An epic tale of a land divided, war, alliances and betrayal that is normal watered down s-rpg fare but rather a more mature adventure with tough choices and it all unfolds on grid based maps where units take turns battling. Gamers assume the role of young (18) Denam, his sister Catiua (19) and childhood friend Vyce (18) as the three get wrapped up in a war bigger than any black and white ideals. Choices must be made, and sometimes revisited, which challenge loyalties and friendships. The core gameplay requires gamers to spend mucho time equipping and setting their parties before taking to the grid based levels. Battles unfold in a variety of manners and allies can be killed but that’s a core mechanic in the addictive and deep gameplay. Be prepared to spend hours meticulously setting up battle parties then taking turns towards victory as an epic story unfolds and there are tough choices to make.

Graphics – Sprite based and very sharp in-game. Spell and attack effects are well executed without the flare of the other titles mentioned. The grid based levels are very detailed and easy to read while the menus and navigation along with the character models are all very muted in earth tone-ish colors that carry a more realistic feel.

Sound – The score is on par with Final Fantasy in its mood setting goodness and epic feel. While have fully voiced characters would have been great it does take gamers back to a time when reading was a given with any RPG of any genre. A beautiful score to be sure.

Design – Delicious for gamers looking to spend hours customizing. The amount of abilities, weapons and classes to spend time testing, assigning and tweaking is awe inspiring and truly for the hardcore s-rpg’er. This is not just an update to a classic title but a full makeover in the best sense. It’s a game that flows and forces the gamer to make tough choices of loyalty and friendship, not all decisions are black and white, Tactics Ogre is full of gray. The leveling up of not characters but rather classes makes losing using easier to swallow and changes a bit of thinking

Miscellaneous – The World Tarot; this feature, evolved later in gameplay from the Wheel of Fortune (ability to view details of past battles) allows gamers to go back and replay key events in the games timeline. Huge and excellent addition that other RPG’s with major story changes should follow. In the past a gamer would need to have multiple save files to attempt this but now it’s decided where history can be changed and gamers benefit with hours and days of saved gameplay time.

Overall Let Us Cling Together takes a classic game and reinvents it without losing any of the original appeal. The game is enhanced in every manner and is a must have for any fan of the genre. Not must more direct way to state it than this.

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