‘Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together’ is a mouthful of a title for a tactics RPG with cutesy characters marching along with rhythm on isometric maps. However, the game went beyond its cutesy visage and explores the darkest sides of morality in the time of war.
Three young people (two siblings and a childhood friend) set off on a small mission of their own to make a statement to the current political turmoil they were living in. What they didn’t know was that this small mission eventually would unfold into something that is beyond their control and all of them would be gravely affected by the consequences of their actions.
‘Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together’ is a very dark game that tests your allegiance and morality. Every single choice you make in the game affects the outcome. By this, I do not mean just the ending, but also what events lead to that ending – including your party members and a number of non-playable story characters in the game. You can choose to stay loyal throughout, which will include blind loyalty to carry out morally questionable missions, or break out as the chaotic element in the world and live a moral life of your own. However, when you make the choice, be prepare to meet the consequence.
The game adopted a standard tactics RPG gameplay – you deploy your troops onto the battlefield, carry out turn-based commands and hope for the best. Random battle enemies level up with so you will always meet new challenges in random battles. However, for story battles, they have designated levels for your progress. This does not mean that it will be an easy stroll through the game though. As the game has a number of battles that will see you escorting neutral characters to safety, and those can be quite difficult battles. More importantly, the outcome of those battles have flow on effects to the story too. Also there are battles that put your troops’ ability to test because of the sheer landscape that also gives the enemies an upper hand against your own party. ‘Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together’ keeps you interested in the game through a good balance of difficulty and accessibility.
As with all tactics RPGs you will go through battles and level up your characters. As you level up, you unlock skills that you can deploy in the future. However, in this game, levelling up is not character based but class based. This means that if you recruit a new Archer but you already have a level 20 Archer, the new Archer will already be on level 20 instead of level 1. This encourages you to experiment with classes and decide on what classes you will be focusing on in the future. However, at the same time, this will mean that new story characters that joined your party will be worse off if you do not already have that class levelled up in your party. For example, if you do not have a levelled up Terror Knight, when the story driven Terror Knight joins you, even if he was originally on level 18, he will drop back to level 1. This will have huge implications on your equipment as equipment have level and class restrictions. So all the cool equipment from the story character will be automatically unequipped and you will not be able to use it unless the character went back to that level. This in a way discourages you to experiment with new classes too as levelling up new classes can be time consuming.
Each class come with their own set of skills that you can learn through levelling up and the application of skill points. However, weapon skills are obtained through usage of weapons associated with your assigned skills. For example if you are using bows but you did not have the bow skill assigned to the character, the bow skills will remain pathetic throughout the whole play through. However, if you apply these skills and equipment in a smart manner from the beginning, you will have very deadly units later in the game.
Equipment can be obtained through shops, from enemy drops (or steal them if you have a rogue) or even craft them. Crafting is a very interesting aspect of the game but it requires a lot of patience to collect all the required materials and it does not guarantee success. But if you do succeed, some special equipment that can help you through your journey greatly will be your just reward.
‘Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together’ is an engaging and addictive game. You do need to settle in for a bit of level grinding to get through certain story points, but once you have managed to do that the result is very rewarding. It is great to see Square Enix do something right from time to time.