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Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (SNES) artwork

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (SNES) review


"Clinging on to victory"


The way it plays and looks, you would say that Tactics Ogre is a close clone to Square's Final Fantasy Tactics, but in truth, the game's release predates the latter by a couple years at most, being released on the Super Famicom in the mid 90s only in Japan. The game is a sequel to Ogre Battle and it changes its gameplay mechanics to that of a tactical RPG genre to play through.

Like Ogre Battle, Tactics Ogre begins by asking how your main character will be named and what attributes he will be adorned with by answering questions and choosing a deity that serves a different element plus the attributes that you had grafted with your answers.

As the title suggests, it is imperative that you keep a close eye on your army and that no one is ever on their own against enemies. The AI here is quite relentless, not having any mercy about killing off your characters and taking advantage of those whose elemental attributes are weaker than theirs. Indeed, if you carelessly send off your main hero of the story on his own you will guarantee a game over in just a few turns.

This is where the training options come into place. You can form two teams to spare against the other in neutral ground, forming tactics and strengthen their attributes, levels, and skills. When you know you are strong enough you can go back to the world map and continue fighting off enemies on each encounter with more confidence. Of course it takes a lot of patience to make sure you are strong enough to continue on. One fun aspect about the training option is that you can invite another friend to play against you, or assign both teams to the CPU and watch how they go at it on their own. My own tactic is setting up both to the same player so I make sure what character would need to level up and be ready to fare better in actual battle.

As with most tactic games you can either have NPCs join your cause by trying to talk to the enemy in battle, or recruit them in towns. Tactics Ogre offers quite a variety of classes besides the normal soldier and amazons (male and female respectively,) such as monsters like dragons and others like winged men who can cover quite a lot of ground thanks to their flying ability. After gaining enough attributes and experience, recruits can change classes to that of wizards, ninjas, clerics, and the like, each with their own powers and skills to aid in battles more effectively. The latter helps a lot when you want to change classes on a character should you collect enough skill points this way.

Losing in Tactics Ogre is quite the norm, so is losing characters. Whenever one dies in battle their last words either curse you or lament their fate before disappearing, something that leaves the player with a sting of guilt for not being able to lead their army more efficiently. Although you may not be able to bring back fallen allies, their equipment stays with you regardless, so you may equip others with weapons and armor without having to spend funds when recruiting more characters. When an enemy is defeated they may leave a sack filled with either money or items, or a card that you may pick up and have status changes on your profile.

The music contains a few noteworthy tracks, setting the mood in battle scenarios or cutscenes as the story progresses. There is not much in the way of other sound effects on this game but everything looks and sounds quite adequate nonetheless. An interesting aspect of the game is the choices you are able to make whenever you have them within the story, altering the course of the game and deciding what is to become of your character in the long run. This would add a bit of replay ability just to see what would happen if you choose one option over the other.

One of the downsides to Tactics Ogre is how easy it is to lose in this game, especially if you have not taken care on leveling up and equipped your troops to ensure victory. You may just become irritated enough to stop playing for a while before going back and train some more in order to better yourself and continue the game's story. However it is not as bad to the point that you will simply turn it off and never play it again either, so practice makes perfect and in time, quite enjoyable to bring a sense of completion when you win battles more than you had before.

Tactics Ogre was released for the PlayStation in the US on 1998, which would had been the only way you ever knew this title existed beforehand. Even when I played it that time I knew this game would not had been a PSX title all its own, being that unlike the Final Fantasy remakes on the same system, it did not bring anything much other than its core gameplay without any other bells and whistles that said remakes would be accommodated with. However I will attest to the fact that this game as difficult as it is, its also quite fun to play and a bit addictive when you get to understand it better as you play along. Tactics Ogre is a well enough title to add into your tactics RPG collection one way or another.

4/5

CptRetroBlue's avatar
Community review by CptRetroBlue (November 18, 2020)

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dagoss posted November 25, 2020:

There was also a PSP remake, which I hear is the best way to play this game. My understanding is they added a feature where you can go back and play other branches in the story without an entire replay.

The director of Tactics Ogre went on to direct Final Fantasy Tactics, so they actually share a direct lineage.

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