Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together • Page 2

Hanging on in there. 

Thankfully, XP and Skill Points earned after battle will level up whole character classes rather than individual units. So, should you want to swap your level 28 Cleric for an Astromancer, you won't have to worry about bringing in a weakling.

Given the encyclopaedic amount of battle stats to take in, it's not surprising that it can take a while to clear a single map. But this isn't exactly new. "There is one map that's really difficult in the original version," Minagawa recalls.

"It took some people five hours to complete. A lot of people were saying, 'This is unbelievable, I can't do it, I've wasted five hours...' We got a lot of complaints. But even though they complained about it, they loved it.

"However a lot of people were saying it should be made easier, which is why we introduced the Chariot System – it's sort of like a save file you can jump back to."

And what a godsend this system turns out to be. The Chariot card keeps a record of the last 50 moves made so if you make a fatal mistake, you can dive back to any given point and try again. When you make the jump, it'll be saved in a separate file so you can compare your decisions post-victory.

Battles will be waged in castle, forests, deserts, swamps – wherever there's a 3D isometric grid, war will be fought.

It's a neat additional feature which Minagawa encourages newcomers to use frequently. "By looking at your path, your decisions, you can learn what you've done wrong and what you'd done right," he explains. "So you can learn how to play better. But if you're an advanced player, don't use the Chariot System at all. Just play through it."

Powering players through such epic battles is Tactic Ogre's wonderfully dramatic and charmingly medieval storyline. It features a morality system, meaning that decisions you make during conversations will change story events and the game's conclusion. This was something FFXIII was criticised for missing, with many gamers preferring the openness of Fallout 3 and Mass Effect's decision-based stories.

Weighing in on this issue Minagawa observes, "Both [original director] Matsano-san and myself have played a lot of Western games, and when we created the original Tactics Ogre and Ogre Battle we were inspired a lot by Amiga games.

"So when we came up with the multiple storyline idea, we were inspired by overseas-developed games. It's kind of funny because this feature seems to go around in circles."

Speaking of funny, Tactics Ogre's rather unusual sub-title is actually borrowed from a old Queen song, Teo Torriatte: Let Us Cling Together. "Matsano-san is a huge Queen fan," explains Minagawa. "When Freddie Mercury died, he was really devastated. So that's where the title came from.

There are 60 character classes for you to create your team from. Choose wisely...

"Actually there are a lot of tiny hints to Queen in the game. Even I don't know them all, only Matsuno-san knows them all. UK fans will probably be able to pick them all up."

It's quirky tidbits like this which represent the finishing touches on what is clearly a lovingly developed game. Despite its vintage Tactics Ogre really isn't looking its age. It should fill those many hours before Disgaea 4 and Valkyria Chronicles III are released later this year.

So can we expect Square Enix to embark on similar projects in the future? "If I have a chance, I'd like to remake Vagrant Story and other games," says Minagawa.

"But when I chose to remake Tactics Ogre it was after FFXII, which was a big project. I wanted to do something on a much smaller scale, and a smaller team, which is why I chose to do this. Probably after this, I'll do something bigger, like an original game. After that, I'll probably change my mind and return to something smaller."

Final Fantasy XV next, then? "I'm not saying anything," laughs Minagawa. Oh well.

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Kim Richards

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