| The Good
A very long game with a deep story that is also very
Much-improved training and spellcasting from the previous
Pooled disposable items.
| The Bad
Too much like it's predecessor.
Boring and sometimes very lengthy dialogue.
Training is still a necessity.
The island of Ovis has been under the rule of the Holy Lodis
Empire for the last 15 years, and it's inhabitants have been
forced to convert to Lodisism. As Alphonse, a member of the
Order of the Sacred Flame of Felis, you must find out who
is betraying who in this mysterious holy war.
Controls: As with most GBA games, controls are simple
enough. The "A" button is the main button, used for confirming
menu selections and scrolling messages. Tactics Ogre
is very menu-driven and there is a lot of dialogue. The "B"
button is used to cancel a command. The "R" button is your
menu button, the "L" button is used only slightly as a shortcut
function in battle, the "Start" button pauses, and the "Select"
button is the help button.
Graphics: The graphics are almost identical to the
Playstation version of Tactics Ogre, released in 1997.
While it's impressive that the same graphics can be achieved
on a GBA (although I don´t think Tactics Ogre was pushing
the Playstation´s processor very hard), it's also a little
disappointing that Atlus would just rest on their laurels.
The character classes have the same exact models as the Playstation
version. There are new animations for spells and special abilities,
however, which are nice.
Gameplay: Tactics Ogre is a strategy RPG (some call
it simulation RPG), so battles are menu-driven. It is the
same type of gameplay as Final Fantasy
Tactics. Your goal is to approach each battle with a plan
that will outsmart the enemy. Alphonse and a team of characters
start in one area of the battlefield, and the enemy starts
in another, usually on the opposite side. Factors like environment,
encumbrance, character class, and movement type limit where
your characters can go on the battlefield. There are a wide
variety of ranged and melee attacks that characters can perform,
and knowing these attacks is a key element on how you fight.
Characters can also change classes as they level up, which
offers a wide variety of choices for the player. Enemy players
and monsters can also be hired or recruited on the battlefield,
so there are many different types of characters available
A typical turn in Tactics Ogre would go something
like this. There is an overhead world map with fixed locations
that Alphonse can travel to. Some locations have shops where
you can purchase weapons, armor, items, and spellbooks. You
can also hire characters or monsters into your party. You
can move to any of the fixed locations on the map. A random
encounter may occur in areas that you have already cleared.
In areas you haven't cleared, a battle or cutscene automatically
comes up. Get through the battle/cutscene, and you're back
to the map to move to the next location.
Audio: The sound in this game is nothing to write
home about. It also uses some of the same tracks from the
Playstation version. Sound is mostly just used for background
noise during battles, and doesn't play a big role in the game.
Elemental sound effects are done well, whether it's casting
a fireball or raining on the battlefield. Overall the sound
is okay, but nothing special.
What's different: If you've played and beaten the
Playstation version, what kind of changes can you expect from
this version? A few, but not enough in my opinion. Emblems
are new, and are gained through combat. There are 32 total
emblems, and their purpose is to unlock character classes
and upgrade abilities. For example, you need the right emblem
to be able to become a knight.
The environmental effects are improved somewhat. If it's
raining in a battle, the overall water level will rise if
the battle lasts long enough. This can be a factor for attack
strength if your character is suddenly standing in water instead
of dry land. The disposable items, like health and magic restorers,
no longer need to be equipped on each character before battle.
They are pooled together and can be used by anyone at anytime.
Saves a lot of prep time for battle, and allows one character
to use multiple items. You have the ability to pre-level your
characters when hiring them. For example, if you're 20 hours
into the game and need to hire a soldier, you can pay extra
to have the soldier start out at any level instead of just
level one. Saves a lot of time in the training field. There
is an option to auto-equip your characters when they change
classes. So if you have a Knight that you want to change into
a Cleric, you can set it so that the character's armor is
replaced with a robe, the sword is replaced with a staff,
etc. There is also an "Optimal" and "Power" auto-equip option
in the organize screen. Spells now upgrade their area of effect
as your characters level up. This is nice because you don't
have to buy different spells for the range you wish to cover.
Training is much improved, if only for one change - if you
set the controls to computer, your characters won't use up
any of your disposable items! So, you can safely set both
sides to computer controlled, leave for an hour, and come
back with leveled-up characters. Quest Mode is earned by finding
or obtaining special books in battle. Once you've found a
book, you can explore an area tied to that book and it's like
a mini-battle. Only 6 characters per team, and you can set
the number of rounds you have to defeat the leader in. The
shorter number of rounds you pick and succeed at, the better
the prize at the end. You do not gain experience points in
Quest Mode, however.
The bad: While I really enjoy the Ogre series and
enjoyed Tactics Ogre on the Playstation very much,
this feels like I'm just playing the Playstation version all
over again. There are differences, but it doesn't feel much
different when playing. The story is also very hard to keep
up with, as there are many different religions, groups, areas,
and names thrown at you in the dialogues. I know this is true
of any RPG, but the conversations tend to drone on and on
and make me want to fall asleep. I'm sure the story is very
compelling, but the way it's told needs some work. Maybe if
there was some graphical representations of what the characters
were talking about, instead of the characters just facing
each other in a large room for 5 minutes, it would hold my
Tactics Ogre is a good game, but it fails to distinguish
itself enough from it's 1997 cousin. Same character models,
same environments, same battle engine, same items, same weapons,
same spells...there's something to be said for consistency,
but I feel Tactics Ogre needed to expand on the idea
a little more, not just carbon-copy it. Definitely check it
out if you've never played the Playstation version, or if
you did play the Playstation version and are looking for more
of the same. This is definitely a niche title, so if you weren't
a fan of Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics,