Triangle Strategy is not the religious successor to Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre that it seems to be. Though the HD-2D sport actually appears to be like like these honored strategy-RPGs, it shortly turns into clear from enjoying that this can be a sport that wishes to forge its personal id with a combination of latest concepts and streamlined methods. While a few of these enhancements make for a greater, extra modernized tackle the grid-based technique style, others take away a stage of participant company and tactical character growth that have been very important to creating that basic really feel so particular. Its standout high quality, nonetheless, is its compelling story of political intrigue and kingdom-shaking selections, which begins gradual however in the end feels extraordinarily rewarding for on a regular basis invested in lengthy dialogue scenes.The story of Triangle Strategy takes place on the continent of Norzelia, which is break up into three nations: the monarchical Glenbrook and Aesfrost, and the theocratic Hyzante. Each controls its personal explicit pure useful resource that is essential to the survival of all three kingdoms, and this has led to battle previously. We decide up 30 years after the “Saltiron War”–a battle over Hyzante’s salt and Aesfrost’s iron–with a brand new era able to put these previous prejudices behind them. The story follows Serenoa Wolffort of Glenbrook, the brand new chief of a noble household identified for its heroism and efforts to guard the Glenbrook crown. Serenoa is on the verge of marrying Princess Frederica from the neighboring Aesfrost, as a gesture of peace between the nations. Their plans are interrupted, nonetheless, by an assault that deposes the king and places Serenoa on the run together with his childhood greatest pal, the prince Roland.
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It’s a narrative of conflict over sources, previous grudges coming again to hang-out a era that had nothing to do with them, and dangerous state actors invading a neighboring nation underneath false pretenses. It’s acquainted in the way in which that conflict is common and cyclical, however it’s arduous to not really feel a pang from the eerie similarities to present world occasions. At one level, the villainous invaders stage a false assault to function a pretext for his or her conflict with the acknowledged purpose of putting in a puppet regime. Later on, we see the characters discussing sanctions. It’s additionally extremely dense, and the flowery prose drops references to lords of excessive homes and their very own particular person political machinations with the unapologetic velocity of a Game of Thrones episode. You could wish to familiarize your self with the phrase “demesne” as a result of you are going to be listening to it lots.All of this makes the sport extremely chatty. You’ll typically go lengthy stretches of time with none gameplay in any respect. At instances, it looks like an pointless diploma of dialogue, because the squat pixelated characters undergo all of the pleasantries earlier than getting all the way down to enterprise. And this talkative high quality means it does not actually put its greatest foot ahead, as the primary a number of hours include a number of very gradual setup and background story particulars earlier than the betrayals and political machinations actually start. There are additionally a handful of free-roaming segments the place you may speak to villagers–and it behooves you to talk to everybody you may, for causes I’ll clarify later–but I discovered my curiosity in speaking to everyone sapped by having a lot dialogue on the whole. Once you do enter a battle, the technique interface might be instantly acquainted to followers of the Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre video games. Your characters are positioned on a grid with varied terrain and peak benefits, and it’s a must to defeat the entire given enemies, or attain or maintain a sure space to finish the mission. Spellcasters can goal a number of enemies at a time, hanging from behind an enemy does additional harm, and so forth. This is the sport at its most acquainted, but additionally at its most streamlined, because it takes a scalpel to a few of the methods that longtime FFT followers could take without any consideration.For instance, choosing a therapeutic spell will robotically goal whichever member of your occasion is in vary and desires therapeutic essentially the most. You can at all times manually choose another person to heal, however for the sake of comfort, this can be a nice quality-of-life function. There isn’t any permadeath, so you may deal with your models extra like items on a chessboard–sometimes sacrifices are obligatory, and so long as you stroll away with a single unit, you win and can have all of these models again subsequent time. And by default, lots of the offensive spells will miss your individual characters, even when they’re within the space of impact. That change is not essentially better–needing to be cautious about slinging spells truly made technique extra compellingly advanced in FFT–but it’s one much less factor to consider in a sport that additionally provides different wrinkles. Besides, the positioning of your models brings different nuances here–if you may have an enemy surrounded on either side, for instance, hanging with one among your characters will normally set off a follow-up assault from the opposite, they usually can encompass you in the identical method.Triangle Strategy is turn-based on a person stage, so you may have to plan your strikes understanding that enemies might be appearing between them as effectively. A timeline on the backside of the display screen is meant to make it straightforward to see when particular person characters will make their strikes, however I discovered it largely illegible and never all that necessary for many encounters anyway. Another wrinkle comes from a wholly separate forex, Kudos, awarded for finishing particular standards in battles like focusing on a number of enemies without delay or exploiting an enemy’s elemental weak point. Those can then be traded for Quietus talents, that are particularly highly effective strikes you should utilize just one time per mission. Since another technique mechanics have been streamlined in comparison with its predecessors, these extra choices assist spherical out the mechanics to supply sufficient complexity for technique followers to sink their tooth into.Triangle Strategy is class-based, however every character is their very own distinctive class, and their development is linear. Serenoa is at all times a generic knight, his pal Roland is at all times a mounted lancer, his betrothed Frederica is at all times a pyromancer, and so forth. You have little alternative in how they stage up, which feels stifling when it comes time to go into battle. Rather than creatively engineering an answer to cope with a selected story mission, you at all times know you may have to carry your shieldbearer to attract aggro, your hawkbow to fireplace ranged pictures, and so forth. It strips missions of their individuality while you’re basically at all times bringing the identical staff into each battle, and you haven’t any actual capability to match your plans or staff composition to the second. You can promote characters to an upgraded class, utilizing gadgets purchased with Kudos, however that simply makes them a stronger, cooler-looking model of the category they already have been.There are additionally varied elective character unlocks that change into accessible with a combination of story branches and the Conviction system. Those do assist spherical out the solid, letting you carry two archers if a mission requires it, for instance, however the solid does ultimately really feel slightly too sprawling to make this a sensible purpose. My roster nonetheless features a core solid of high-leveled characters, a handful of barely lower-level substitutes, and lots of extra nonetheless at their starter ranges that simply fell by the wayside.This is particularly a disgrace as a result of the characters truly do have distinctive, fascinating class identities, and even throughout the similar class id the sport makes some extent to distinguish their talents in refined methods. As examples, Serenoa’s longtime confidant Benedict is a tactician who focuses on passive buffs and debuffs, together with the power to spice up one other character’s activate the timeline in order that they will normally act twice in a row. Anna is a spy, giving her the distinctive capability to strike twice or flip invisible. And one elective character, an artisan, can construct traps to ensnare enemies or ladders to succeed in new areas of the battlefield. These are all nice instruments, however having them simply reinforces the will for extra freedom and adaptability to experiment and construct extra sturdy staff compositions, inventive combos, and tactical plans round them.Equally rigid is the gear system. You do not truly purchase a lot gear in any respect, other than equipment that grant passive buffs. Just as a personality’s class is ready, so is their weapon. It will be upgraded at a blacksmith with discovered supplies, which provides you some incremental buffs to statistical data like Attack or Magic Defense, however you will not really feel the fun of discovering or buying a strong new weapon and heading into battle to attempt it out. The development is completely linear.The inflexible class and gear system means you are extra dependent in your occasion’s energy stage than on broad strategic planning, however the primary quest battles typically do not present sufficient expertise factors to maintain up with their very own leveling suggestions. Your greatest wager to grind your ranges as much as snuff is to participate in mock battles in your Encampment, however there are solely so many of those. That implies that to essentially elevate your ranges, you may typically want to participate in the identical mock battle time and again. (Alternatively, you may fail out of a narrative mission and preserve the entire XP you gained within the course of, however I discovered this methodology of level-raising to be much more tedious.)Which story missions happen are partly decided by a branching story path, wherein you may be given selections on tips on how to interact with different kingdoms and nobles. This is a part of the Conviction system, which is incessantly referenced however by no means made clear. The system itself is opaque, a black field wherein you are assured your selections matter however with out ever explaining how they affect the story. You’ll generally be offered with dialogue selections that prioritize attributes like justice versus kindness, however no matter what you select, you may merely be instructed that your convictions have been strengthened, with none actual indication of what meaning. The system turns into rather more clear in a subsequent New Game Plus mode, which pulls again the curtain to offer you numerical rankings to your varied choice factors, however I might have most popular extra transparency within the first go-round as effectively.Gallery The uncommon instances your Convictions do clearly matter is while you and your closest advisers are contemplating a giant choice, like which kingdom to go to subsequent or whether or not to ally with a selected noble. Each main character can have their very own opinions on the matter, they usually’ll specific them in an effort to influence you. But you too can persuade them, generally by accumulating info from speaking to villagers or investigating factors of curiosity in the course of the free-roaming segments, after which matching your dialogue responses to handle their considerations. It’s in the end a really video game-y system, as you make your individual choice about the way you need the vote to go after which foyer for that end result amongst everybody who disagrees or is undecided. But it approximates the concept of holding a royal courtroom in a method that is partaking and sometimes presents advanced nuances of those kingdom-shaking selections. And, regardless of your greatest efforts, generally the vote amongst your advisers does not go the way in which you supposed, which accents the characters’ identities as people with their very own strongly-held beliefs.For all of the emphasis on stark ethical selections in dialogue sequences, although, essentially the most impactful got here within the context of Triangle Strategy’s battle mechanics. With a vastly superior hostile military bearing down on my comparatively small demesne, my advisers and I formulated a plan to make use of our secret weapon: hidden spigots of oil strategically positioned all through city that may very well be activated at key moments to set the enemy ablaze. The wildfire would rout the invaders, however it might additionally burn down the homes of my very own folks within the course of. Plenty of dialogue was dedicated to this within the story sequences main up-to-the-minute, however it wasn’t till I used to be within the mission itself that I felt the complete weight of utilizing the weapon. This wasn’t a mere dialogue alternative; I must bodily activate the spigots in the course of the battle itself. Some interstitial dialogue made it clear that it’s attainable (albeit a lot, rather more troublesome) to win on the power of my forces and my ways. But my military wasn’t sturdy sufficient, or I wasn’t sensible sufficient. When I finally stood victorious, it was within the smoldering wreckage of my village. It felt terrible.That second was the one greatest instance of Triangle Strategy expressing its story via the technique mechanics themselves, however different purely story-driven moments almost matched its emotional affect. One choice close to the tip of the sport has a significant impact on the ultimate few missions and the way the story resolves, and it feels appropriately earth-shattering as you weigh the choices given to you by the closest members of your internal circle. Going into this story level, I used to be sure who I might in the end aspect with out of sheer loyalty–but then, after listening to the varied arguments and views, I used to be swayed elsewhere. It appeared inevitable that in a narrative about political machinations and splintering alliances, I might ultimately should fracture my relationships for the sake of my ideas, however understanding that did not make the end result really feel any more easy.These branching story moments happen so incessantly that the New Game Plus mode is critical to return and see extra. But even then, it is extra restricted than I’d like. Some of the branches break up into three, and whereas NG+ function provides you extra transparency, it’s nonetheless a single linear path via the sport. You cannot rewind to key choice factors to discover these choices throughout the similar save, so to see all of the plot factors and prospects you would wish to play a number of instances, or preserve a cascading sequence of save recordsdata. Neither one feels optimum for a sport that is all about exploring the myriad prospects and unintended penalties of those grand selections. Similarly, a few of the elective characters solely open up with standards that battle with the necessities for others, so to unlock completely everybody would possible require two playthroughs and presumably extra. But it is a testomony to the writing and characters that I even care sufficient to wish to see the whole lot the sport has to supply.When I started Triangle Strategy, the plodding tempo of the story was a low level I needed to get via to play the tactical battles. As time went on, that calculation flipped. The technique segments are streamlined and pleasant, even when the category system is lacking the quantity of flexibility and nuance that I’d like. But as an alternative of getting via the story segments to play extra fight, I discovered myself getting via the fight to see extra story. It’s overindulgent at instances, however I turned invested in my band of trusted advisors as they rigorously navigated a fraught combination of conflict and politics. And greater than many video games, I felt the burden of the selections I reached, the relationships they shattered, and the lives they impacted, as belonging to me alone.