Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

First Impressions – Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

I’m a huge Final Fantasy Tactics fan, so when I heard that Squeenix had made another tactical RPG that looked essentially like the same damn game my interest was piqued. I picked up the PSP version with high hopes of playing another strategic masterpiece, and although I may have set my expectations a bit high I’m still pretty impressed. Below are my first impressions of the game.

Things Can Get Really Complicated


So all classes share the same experience but not the same SP? And you can only change classes via dropped items? Good to know! Tactics Ogre is a really, really, REALLY deep game; one that requires a little homework to truly understand. I found myself sifting through wikis and guides constantly to figure out how the background machinations of the game worked, and how to build characters that didn’t crumple like paper cups in combat.

The Game’s AI Has No Pity For The Weak

nopityThere is never a moment in Tactics Ogre where you feel like the enemy is going easy on you. The computer AI is ruthless, picking of your flimsiest units with cold, calculated efficiency. This is especially prominent when you bring low-level units into the fray. Chances are they’ll be reduced to a fine, red paste before they get anywhere near the enemy.

The Translators Did An Outstanding Job


One of my only complaints about the aforementioned Final Fantasy Tactics is that the original release had a pretty terrible translation. Tactics Ogre (at least the PSP version) is the polar opposite, boasting some great dialogue presented in a uniformly period-appropriate style. It does get a little over-dramatic at times; but nothing above and beyond what is found in any other JRPG.

All My Classes Are The Same


Perhaps I am spoiled a bit by the diversity of classes found in Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons, and FFT – but come on, do we really need half a dozen Knight variants? I understand that these classes are setting appropriate, but it would be nice to see some different abilities and specializations tossed into the mix. It’s especially annoying how many classes basically mirror the same abilities, such as the ubiquitous Fighter and Archer.

Money Is Hard To Come By


I have never had so much trouble equipping my party as I have had in Tactics Ogre. Between a huge character roster (up to 12 in one battle!) and a constantly advancing equipment list, it is next to impossible to have your warriors decked out properly. It has gotten so bad that I’ve started recruiting enemies, stripping them of their items, then sending them away. Inconsiderate? Absolutely. But war is expensive, so I try not to feel too bad about kicking Lizard Men to the curb.

Those are my thoughts for now! I may do another write-up when I get further into the game, and my opinions mature into something a bit more tangible.

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By Michael
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer