Reviewed: April 27, 2011
Released: February 15, 2011
The PSP, Sonyís flagship portable handheld, has been through some rough times since its release. This comes due to the low levels of releases to sustain its place in the handheld market, especially here in the US. But this year alone has again proven that the PSP still has a place in the world and my collection. One such PSP title to make this statement true comes with the release of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. Originally released in Japan in 1995 on the Super Famicom (SNES) and again on the PlayStation in í97, this strategy role-playing game is one of the deepest and intricate titles on the market. |
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together features a far more hardcore gameplay experience compared to the modern fare of todayís SRPGs. Though thanks to two new gameplay features, the Chariot and World Tarot, that hardcore granite gameplay has been softened and improved allowing for a solid and varying experience depending on your choices. But before we get to the inner workings, a little back story is in order.
You play as Denam Pavel, the storyís main protagonist, who after his father is taken by dark knights, seeks revenge with the aid of his sister Catiua and childhood friend Vyce. After a brief fight with presumed enemies, you head off with new allies to free the Duke of their people, the Walisters, and the rest of the story goes from there. The first several battles are the tutorial before you really start off on your own to save your people.
Battles are fought on multi-terrain isometric maps, where even the elevations make a difference on your attacks. Unlike todayís fare in this genre, Let Us Cling Together doesnít really take it easy on its players. The level of difficulty isnít excruciating but if you donít plan your moves and use a bit of strategy then you will find the journey a rougher one. One feature that would have been nice is a camera control to use to see the terrain a little better, but the maps are still pretty viewable.
Tactics Ogre features a deep character leveling mechanic that will allow you to level up, learn and assign skills and abilities and even manage your troops. Let Us Cling Together also features the ability to change your fighting class if you have a classmark for the desired class. Each class also levels independently of each other so strategy is important here to. If youíre not careful youíll find yourself in a tight spot.
One of the coolest things about Tactics Ogre is that your every decision will effect how youíre overall adventure plays out. There are several endings that you can arrive at including some that end rather tragically. Other than a pure sense of nostalgia and classic gameplay, my favorite things that I like are the added Chariot and World Tarot. Both feature the same basic idea though the World Tarot is the more valuable, especially when it comes to the multiple endings and choices. By utilizing the World Tarot you can travel back to those key anchor points and choose the other choices that you didnít make without having to start the game over from the very beginning which is nice. The Chariot Tarot allows you to go back 50 turns and retry if youíre not happy with the way a fights going. Whatís better is that both options allow you to take your current party with you.
Graphically, Tactics Ogre looks pretty sharp for the most part. The opening video, which covers the back-story, is interesting and sets the overall art style for the rest of the title. The menus and still character dialogue art look really sharp on the PSPís screen. The characters and environments look pretty good to thanks to new 3D maps and improved battle engine that helps portray more realistic battles and allows you to see the true height of elevated surfaces.
Tactics Ogre features a newly re-arranged soundtrack, thankfully created by the original composers which contain several new compositions. The original had an amazingly powerful score and the rework retains much of that same magic here. Iím usually a fan of the original works most of the time, but I really like the new modernized score.
Players will have no shortage of things to do and see in Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. Whether it be meeting new characters to utilizing new skills or spending hours customizing your characters and fight long battles. For those that want to capture their progress you can even take screenshots of some of your favorite moments in the game. For those seeking a bit more of a challenge you can create single player battle challenges and battle the computer. Players can also exchange challenges over Ad-Hoc mode.
Playing Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together again brought back a lot of good memories and more than a few hours of not wanting to put my PSP down. I really liked the ability to go back and try things differently with the Tarot system and discover all the endings available. This is the kind of game that makes me want to own a PSP or any PlayStation system for that matter. Itís a lot of fun and a must by for any Square or SRPG fans.