hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

2:20 PM on 03.24.2011 // Darren Nakamura
  @Dexter345

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is considered by many strategy RPG enthusiasts to be one of the best examples of the genre. Originally released on the Super Nintendo, then remade on the PlayStation and Saturn, it now finds itself on the PlayStation Portable. The story in this re-remake has been largely unchanged, but several new systems have been added to alter the manner in which it unfolds.

Do the changes implemented justify this game's existence? Or would this title have been better off left alone? Let us read on together!

World Map

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PlayStation Portable)
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: February 15, 2011
MSRP: $39.99

Fans of strategy RPGs probably know what to expect from Tactics Ogre, as far as gameplay goes. The world map is made up of several nodes to visit and paths to travel. Nodes will trigger cutscenes or battles, which is where the majority of time is spent. Battles occur on one of dozens of different square grid based maps, so care must be taken not only in choosing which units to bring to battle, but also in keeping track of relative positions.

One of the biggest factors that sets one strategy RPG apart from another is its story. Let Us Cling Together suffers here, largely because it had become a sort of prototype for strategy RPG stories to come. While it may have felt wholly original in 1995, in 2011 the major occurrences during the first half of the story feel a bit too predictable. Paradoxically, while the major events aren't difficult to see coming, the minor events and characters can be infuriatingly convoluted. With what felt like hundreds of made up words describing the various countries, clans, characters, battlefields, spells, and other items, the minutiae can be extremely difficult to sift through at first. While there is an in-game encyclopedia for all of the events that have transpired and all of the characters met, I still found myself questioning why exactly I was fighting the battles I was.

Cutscene

While the story may not actually get any less convoluted as the game progresses, it becomes clearer who the bad guys are. The hook of the story is that it features several different paths to take, each resulting in a significantly different series of events. In previous versions, the downfall of the branching storyline stemmed from the fact that a single playthrough lasted anywhere between forty and eighty hours, so most players would only ever experience one story, if that.

To help encourage players to find out how the story would change given a different decision, Square Enix implemented an in-game tree to view precisely the path the player has taken. The Wheel of Fortune, as it's called (Let Us Cling Together features a heavy emphasis on tarot cards, not game shows), even lets the player go back to various decision points and play on from there down a different path. Unfortunately, this ability isn't unlocked until the game is completed, and in the grand scheme, it doesn't appear to save the player's time that much more than simply starting a new game would. It would have been nice to have the option to skip the battles (which can last up to half an hour each) and view only the cutscenes down each path.

Character classes

While the addition of the Wheel of Fortune is welcome, the actual battle mechanics are somewhat baffling. Instead of leveling up individual characters, the character classes gain experience and level up. While the intention may have been to ease the pain of losing a character, the result is that the game punishes variety and experimentation. For example, when most of my classes were at about level eight, I was introduced to the ninja class. Naturally, I changed my protagonist to a ninja immediately, but since he was back down to level one, he was useless for about five battles before I grinded him up. While it is merely a nuisance in the early stages, the problem is exacerbated in the late game.

Each character has a huge list of skills to choose from, but most of them are too specialized to be of any practical use. For instance, there is a skill that provides a marginal damage bonus to reptilian enemies. Considering that each character has a limited number of available skill slots, and reptiles only show up in a small fraction of battles, it seems silly to waste skill points on something like that.

Battle

One surprising element is the difficulty in this remake. The Tactics Ogre franchise is notorious for being extremely tough, with permanent character death and sometimes sadistic enemy AI. The difficulty has been toned down quite a bit this time around. Rather than one life, each character now has three before he is permanently killed. Even then, Square Enix added a mechanic called the Chariot Tarot that allows the player to rewind any battle up to fifty turns back in order to amend any mistake made earlier on.

With the concessions in difficulty, I didn't once lose any of the units under my command, but I can't say the same about friendly AI units. Considering that the fate of friendly AI units has an impact on the direction of the story, it's frustrating that they have no apparent desire for self preservation. On multiple occasions, the player is tasked with saving an AI unit in peril, but rather than retreating toward a friendly healer, the AI will usually charge headlong into enemy territory.

Graphically, Tactics Ogre received very little upgrade. The spell effects might be a bit flashier and more colorful than before, but some of the characters sprites are almost entirely unchanged from the SNES version. It looks nice on the PSP screen, but so much more could have been done to update the visuals. Audiophiles will find something to love here, as the soundtrack unlocks throughout the game, allowing the player to not only listen to songs on command, but also to read notes from the composer for each track.

Battle 2

Overall, this most recent version of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together seems like a bit of a misstep. While the basic formula for a strategy RPG is always appealing for those who don't mind some methodical gaming, a lot of the new additions are puzzling decisions at best and infuriating at worst. The Wheel of Fortune is a great idea to let players really explore the fiction, but it still doesn't cut playing time down enough to get to the meaty story bits. Gamers interested in how choices affect a story, who don't mind grinding, can handle a slow pace, aren't bothered by the imposed lack of variety, have a knack for remembering minute details, and have a lot of time on their hands can probably find a real gem in Let Us Cling Together. But given how many qualifiers that last sentenced needed, most would be better off looking elsewhere.

Score: 5.0 -- Mediocre (5s are an exercise in apathy, neither Solid nor Liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.)

Rent it!



Darren Nakamura, Associate Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Dexter345 Tips
Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strateg... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
Clicks Clacks avatarClicks Clacks
Picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $5 in the Humble Store, figure I'd advertise that for anyone that doesn't have it yet. Sale ends in less than 42 hours after this post yo. https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/valkyriachronicles_storefront
gajknight avatargajknight
My copy of National Geographic came today. Best subscription I've paid for, worth it for the lovely pictures alone. This one has a story about elephant poachers and ivory tusks with spy chips in 'em. James Bond shit man.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7bzKWOeSVn4[/youtube]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
@Barry Kelly It looks like it will get pretty difficult later on. It even has instafail stealth sections according to @Chris Carter #neededanexcuse to #tryouttheatfeature
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I hope MGS V manages to have some sort of challenge to it. I just replayed MGS 4 for the first time since release and wow that game just practically plays itself. And that's outside of the long sections it is playing itself!
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Splatfest Decipticons, Let us crush the Autobot menace [img]http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/attachments/transformers-fan-art/27462687d1408744118-3d-tarn-model-tarn-propaganda-copy-01.jpg[/img]
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -