Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is an isometric turn based tactical RPG that was originally released on the Super Famicom in 1995, re-released on the Sega Saturn a year later, and re-re-released on the Playstation a year after that. In 2011 it was re-re-re-released on the PSP, and that's the version I got, and loved. However, when I delved deeper, looking for more information on any related games, I realized that the Ogre Battle franchise (of which Tactics Ogre is a part of) has been somewhat neglected of late, in favor of its more widely known spiritual successor, Final Fantasy Tactics, which has also been light on recent releases. I feel that this is a waste of a wonderful setting and so I'm going to list several of the things that I believe make Tactics Ogre great, in the vain hope that someone important will notice this and revive the series. *Sarcasm*(?)
Also, I've only ever played the PSP remake, not March of the Black queen, or Ogre Battle 64, or the Neo Geo or Gameboy games, so I *might* mention those in passing but I'm going to focus on Let Us Cling Together.
I have little hope, but I must make the attempt.
I have put the words on the page, how long till they lie on my heart?
Fighting in Tactics Ogre consists of moving within range of the enemy and smacking them with swords, maces, staves, metal claws, folding fans, metal folding fans, knives, or shooting them with arrows, crossbow bolts, blowgun darts, or bullets. You can also whip people, punch people, throw rocks, javelins, bolos, ninja stars or all sorts of random things. You can even lob things with a slingshot, including healing items for allies. Also, magic, many different types of magic. Needless to say, there is a TREMENDOUS AMOUNT of variety in ways to bring the pain to your enemies. All topped off with special abilities related to class, which you can purchase with points earned in combat, and which remain with your character through class change.
Think your archer might make a better beastmaster? Your warrior a necromancer? Your swordmaster a rogue? If you have the (oftentimes purchasable) mark, that's no problem at all! And what's more, classes in the PSP remake level up together. For example; You have a strong warrior, and want to make your archer into one, so you change his/her class. Instead of starting at level 1, he/she will be at an equal level with your other warrior. This makes for a very good incentive too diversify your party member's classes, made all the easier by hireable units who you can name whatever you want.
Canopus is one bad mofo. He's one of the Winged Folk, one of the first characters you meet in game, and very likely the guy who will be killing all the enemy leaders for you. Since killing enemy leaders is how you typically win a battle, you will very likely rely on him, heavily
. Especially if you go for a low chaos frame, which is pretty much unexplained in-game, but depends on not
killing enemies. (Along with dead enemy loot disappearing if another enemy stands on the space it occupied, and the horrendously slow crafting system, it's one of the few bad things about Let Us Cling Together.) But back to Canopus. Just look at his picture up there. He's a red headed guy with giant wings. Give him a crossbow and let him fly!
Fly my Hawkman! Fly!
Vyce is such a prick.
There are some big things going on in Let Us Cling Together.
A race of people are being oppressed.
A foreign country is dictating politics.
Folk are tired of nobles ruling over them, all snooty and entitled and sending them off to die in bloody wars and whatnot.
Everything simmers until it boils over into war.
It's all stuff with real world analogues. It ain't pretty, and no side is shown as being completely in the right, but it stays focused on those things; there isn't an ultimate evil god emperor who wants to destroy the world. It makes the story more grounded I think, and better.
4. Character profiles
Many characters that you meet will have personal profiles showing their portrait and a bit of their back-story. This is usually seen after you have killed them. So you get to see that the wizard you cut down was a teacher and professional artist, who personally presented the late great King Dorgalua with a painting, and his twin brother (whom you had Canopus riddle with arrows) was a progressive politician. While it could be seen as just a bit of world building, or something of a cheap shot in some cases, I think it really helps hammer home the feeling of, "All the people I've killed in combat had their own lives and histories."
5. Character Art
I think the character art is really nice.
Portrait art too.
Akihiko Yoshida does nice work.
6. Two Lanselots
There are two Lanselots in this game:
and Lanselot Hamilton.
The Arthurian mythos only has Lancelot Du Lac.
Just look at him. So smug.
2 > 1
Therefore Tactics Ogre is better than the Arthurian Mythos.
Queen is one of the, if not, The,
Greatest Rock Band Ever
and have no doubt inspired many since they first performed.
They also inspired a great deal of Tactics Ogre.
The overall title of the series? Ogre Battle?
Subtitle of the first game? March of the Black Queen?
Let Us Cling Together?
OK, it was actually called Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)
with Let Us Cling Together all in the parenthesis, but still!
Also dick(s). It's Freddie after all.
The class name "Vartan" is probably derived from Vultan, BRIAN BLESSED'S character from the 1980 movie Flash Gordon.
The character Xapan looks like Vultan too, but maybe it's just the beard.
Flash Gordon featured a track by...
you guessed it, QUEEN
Hawkmen are basically Winged Folk anyway.
(Yeah I said it.)
I also like how they use Ogre in describing a dread person, not a literal monster.
I can maybe make a few more points about interesting characters in a drama filled storyline that twists and turns in unexpected ways based on your choices. But I won't. To do so would spoil the story, in any of it's several incarnations. I will finish by saying Tactics Ogre : Let Us Cling Together is a brilliant game. It's not perfect, and lacks some of the convenience of it's spiritual successor Final Fantasy Tactics, but it has a rich, fascinating world filled with political intrigue, warring factions, and social upheaval. I believe that now is as good a time as any to return to the Valerian Isles, Xenobia, Lodis, or any other part of the Ogre Battle world.