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Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together


Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together  is a Japanese tactical role-playing game created by Quest. The game was originally released in 1995 on the Super Famicom in Japan and then re-released on the Sega Saturn in 1996 and the PlayStation in 1997. The first game in the series, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, also appeared on these consoles, but featured dramatically different gameplay.
The subtitle of Tactics Ogre, Let Us Cling Together, is a reference to the Queen song "TeoTorriatte (Let Us Cling Together)" from their album A Day at the Races. This is one of many references to Queen songs in the series, including Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, which references "Ogre Battle" and "The March of the Black Queen".


A remake of the game by the original development team was announced in the July 22, 2010 issue of Famitsu for the PSP with the new title Tactics Ogre: Unmei no Wa (タクティクスオウガ運命の輪, lit. "Tactics Ogre: The Wheel of Fortune"). The game was also confirmed for North American and PAL region releases, under its original title Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
The PSP has been a haven for ports and remakes of varying quality over the years, but the remastered Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together sets a new standard for remakes on any system. It may not look like much has changed at first glance, but dig a little deeper, and it quickly becomes clear just how much thought the team at Square Enix has put into this remake of the 1995 tactical RPG for the Super Famicom.



Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Tactics ogre cover.jpg
Japanese PlayStation cover by Akihiko Yoshida.
Developer(s) Quest
Square Enix (PSP)
Publisher(s) Riverhillsoft (Saturn)
Atlus
Square Enix (PSP)
Director(s) Yasumi Matsuno
Hiroshi Minagawa (PSP)
Designer(s) Yasumi Matsuno
Artist(s) Hiroshi Minagawa
Akihiko Yoshida
Masao Tsubasa (PSP)
Writer(s) Yasumi Matsuno
Composer(s) Hitoshi Sakimoto
Masaharu Iwata
Platform(s) Super Famicom
Sega Saturn
PlayStation
Virtual Console
PlayStation Portable
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Tactical RPG
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: E
Media/distribution 1 CD-ROM, SNES cartridg


Setting and plot
The Game Boy Advance game, Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis is set before the events of Chapter 5 - Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and Chapter 6 - Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber. The Wonderswan game, Ogre Battle: Legend of the Zenobia Prince is a sidequel to March of the Black Queen. Chapter 7 - Let Us Cling Together is set after all of the above games. In the PlayStation/Super Famicom version the player must lead the "Liberation Army" to bring freedom to the oppressed nation of Valeria.
The game was innovative in its non-linear branching plotline. Crucial decisions made in the game determine the path of the story, the members of your army and the ending sequence. There are multiple endings with radically different outcomes. The game expanded the non-linear alignment system of its predecessor, with three types of alignments for each unit: Lawful, Neutral, and Chaos, neither of which are portrayed as necessarily good or bad. The game gives players the freedom to choose their own destiny, with difficult moral decisions, such as whether to follow a Lawful path by upholding the oath of loyalty (even if it means slaughtering civilian non-player characters on the leader's command), or follow the chaotic path by following a personal sense of justice (even if it means rebelling), or instead follow a more neutral path. Such factors affect the game's ending, which is also affected by decisions such as whether to obtain the most powerful class, which can only be acquired by making a tragic sacrifice. In the PSP version, "The World" system allows players to revisit key plot points and make different choices to see how the story unfolds differently, similar to Radiant Historia (released during the same month).
While the concept of branching storylines affected by Law/Neutral/Chaos alignments had already been explored before in the MegamiTensei series developed by Atlus, Tactics Ogre presented choices more grounded in reality, revolving around war crimes and political alliances, rather than supernatural elements.The dark, complex, political narrative of Tactics Ogre revolving around the reality of war was inspired by writer YasumiMatsuno's outside perspective on events that unfolded during the Yugoslav Wars in the early 1990s, including the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.




This is actually the second time that Tactics Ogre has been ported to another system, the first being a disappointing PlayStation remake that was localized by Atlus. That version was plagued by slowdown and long loading times, which are both mercifully absent in this PSP update. Given that even Square Enix'sFinal Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions struggled with its share of technical problems, it's refreshing to play a port as tightly coded as this one. It also does much to expand upon the original source material. In the original game for the Super Nintendo, which was never released in North America, enemies scaled with the most powerful characters in the party, making it incredibly difficult to level up the weaker characters. The remake fixes that by having whole classes level up instead; so if a character is struggling to keep up, you can always make them a Knight instead and they'll suddenly jump to Level 14.
The flipside, of course, is that new classes typically begin at Level 1, and the only way to gain experience is to put the character in a corner during a battle while everyone else does the dirty work. The process can be difficult and time-consuming, and not everyone will have the patience to level up the Dragoon or Ninja when they finally become available. Nevertheless, it's a unique approach, and one that alleviates that much of the frustration of the original. The skill system has likewise gotten a substantial overhaul. Now Battle Points are distributed following a battle, which can be spent to acquire skills that augment both offensive and defensive capabilities. There are a multitude of skills to choose from, but the key is that it's extremely difficult to be good at everything. Magic users, for instance, generally have to specialize in one or two types of magic, as each element takes up a precious skill slot. Sure, it's possible to go into battle with a mage capable of wielding every type of magic, but doing so means you won't be able to equip skills that augment your magical powers or stregthen your defense.


Story

For eighty years, Valeria has been in constant strife, and its three leading ethnic groups all claim leadership. The three factions are:
  • Gargastan: While these people make up 70% of Valeria's total population, they suffer constant inner struggle between moderate and radical theorists on how government should best be handled. This weakens what would be a dominant majority.
  • Walstanian: An oppressed minority of Southern Valeria, making up only 10% of the population. Their suffering is the catalyst to the plot in Tactics Ogre.
  • Bacrumese: These are generally the more "elite" of Valerian society, making up a solid 20% of its people.
On the battlefield, the action plays out much like any isometric tactical RPG, which makes sense given that Tactics Ogre helped to define that subgenre in the first place. There are no "Player" or "Enemy" phases; instead, each character moves according to their speed ranking. It remains an interesting approach to tactical RPG design, as it means that time magic (such as haste) factors in much more heavily than usual. Elevation also has a major part to play, as archers and mages with the high ground can pick apart approaching forces with ease. Line of sight comes into play when trying to attack enemies from far away, so it's important to stake out the high ground when you get the chance. Fire a spell with an ally in the way, and they will get pinged in the back for some serious damage. The fixed camera would ordinarily make things especially irritating in that regard, but Tactics Ogre provides an interesting compromise. By holding the square button, it's possible to shift the camera to an overhead view, which makes it much easier to get lined up and hit enemies rather than allies. It is one of the new features that make this update such a stand-out.
This balancing act helps to ensure that no character ever gets to the point that they are invincible, which is all too common in other tactical RPGs. Moreover, Tactics Ogre allows up to 12 characters on the field, meaning that there's a much greater focus on party synergy than in a game like Final Fantasy Tactics, which allows only five characters. You will quickly learn the benefit of having two Mages on the field, each with a different set of skills designed to handle all contingencies.


1 comments:

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