Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together Review

Tactics Ogre

Everyone talks about Final Fantasy Tactics being the best turn-based strategy RPG from the PS1 era. While it was certainly a great game with a great premise, I believe calling it the best is a bit short-sighted.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
made a strong case back then, and it makes a strong case now on the PSP.

The PS1 Tactics Ogre boasted a strong and deep battle system, multiple classes, each with their own abilities, and a tremendous storyline. All of that is back and then some, as the game has received a visual and audio overhaul, bringing a classic game into the new generation.

The battle system is classic turn-based strategy: you control an army of varying classes, from basic Warriors to magic-wielding Wizards to healing Clerics. Each unit can move a certain amount of spaces, and when one gets close enough, each unit can attack an enemy. Most attacks will be melee attacks with swords, daggers, etc, but ranged attacks abound as well: Archers will shoot arrows, Summoners can conjure creatures to attack, and even normal Warriors can throw a rock (it doesn’t do much damage, but hey, it’s an attack!). One of my favorite features is the Recruit system, where certain classes can literally convince enemy soldiers and beasts to change sides in the middle of battle. This option can literally turn the tide in battle, as instead of simply lessening the enemy’s forces, you’ll strengthen yours.

Being on a more powerful console, the game has received a nice upgrade to its aesthetic features. Each environment is exceptionally detailed, from the fields to the large castles where battles take place. The dialogue is not spoken, but the words are large and easily read from some distance away. The music was already one of my favorite soundtracks on PS1, but those classic melodies are back in a big way on the PSP. I still get as pumped for a battle as I had before.

Tactics Ogre Gameplay

The only thing that didn’t need to change, the story, is thankfully the same. You play as Denam, an 18-year-old Wallister boy who fights in his people’s resistance movement. From here, the narrative expertly intertwines themes of betrayal, political corruption, and revolution. There’s even a morality system (hard to come by in the PS1 days) that will have an impact on how your game plays out. Multiple endings can result from the various choices, though some effects will be experienced immediately. With one battle in particular, if you choose one option, an ally turns on your army, attacking from behind as you try to defeat the invading horde in front of you. This makes for a different experience every time you play, a little ahead of its time considering when the game originally came out, but perfectly normal now and still awesome.

What’s especially cool about these choices is after you finish one playthrough, a PSP-exclusive feature called "World" allows you to revisit moments in the story where you had to make a choice, letting you to make the opposite choice to see how the game would unfold. Normally in a game with a morality system, like inFAMOUS or Mass Effect, the player would have to go through the entire game again to see these different paths, but Tactics Ogre gives you the ability as a reward for completion. Not a common occurrence by any means, but man is it cool.

The one problem I see with Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is accessibility. Those unfamiliar with turn-based strategy games may have trouble getting acclimated with the game’s systems. Players will be able to eventually get into the game, but aside from the first battles walking the player through the different actions, most of the required knowledge will come from reading the in-game Warren Report. All tutorials, information, and helpful tips will be in this report, but it has a tendency to be long-winded. Luckily, the game is a great candidate for the trial-and-error approach, so some players can choose not to read at all and to just head right into battle.

Despite being a bit strenuous to access, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is an excellent turn-based strategy RPG, definitely up there with the likes of Disgaea and Valkyria Chronicles. Veterans of the genre will be right at home with the gameplay, and newcomers will be hooked by the engaging story and excellent morality system. Unfortunately, those newcomers are going to have a heck of a time actually immersing themselves into the environment, but once they do, they’ll be hooked. Cling your PSP together with this game; you won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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