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Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

For: PSP

Tactically numb

Product: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Square Enix | Format: PSP | Genre: RPG, Strategy | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together PSP, thumbnail 1

Tactical role-playing game Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together was originally released in 1995 on the SNES and later on the PlayStation, but this updated version marks the first time that it has been released worldwide.

Several members of the original development team have returned to create what they consider to be a definitive version, and in doing so they have created one of the PSP’s best games in what may be its swansong year.

Freedom Fighters

While the story initially focuses on the obligatory group of teenagers, Tactics Ogre tells a much more mature, morally conscious tale than many RPGs. It focuses on a group of freedom fighters determined to liberate the Walister clan from Galgastan tyranny.

Throughout the lengthy Campaign mode, you interact with other factions who each have their own goals and ideas about what freedom entails, whether means justify ends, and so on.

You have to make various choices during the game that affect the path the story takes, which is advanced through cut-scenes and by lengthy dialogue between characters on the battlefield.

Class Mobility

Your hero and order can both be named, and although the game advises you against giving your band of merry men offensive or silly names, seeing characters fight for the freedom of the ‘order of awesome’ never really gets old.

Various characters can be recruited during the game, and each unit belongs to a different class. Class affects what abilities and equipment can be used, as well as attributes and mobility on the battlefield.

As classes level-up, they're able to use better equipment and abilities, while skill points, which are specific to each unit, allow units to learn new skills to use in battle.

Love is a battlefield

Battles take place on an isometric 2D battlefield, although you can select different views with the Square button and you can use the analogue stick to freely move the camera around.

You can only change equipment and abilities in the world map, so it's essential to ensure that you have the right strategy and types of units for each battle. Up to 12 units can be selected for each battle, although the limit is often lower.

Each battlefield is a unique proposition. Elevation alters the effectiveness of certain weapons depending on their reach, while terrain such as swampland makes physical attacks less powerful.

Even the weather can have an impact on the battle as the game's in-game calendar has wet and dry seasons. Rain can transform the battlefield, changing the parameters of the fight.

Battles can be very lengthy affairs and you'll be thankful for the PSP’s 'standby' button and the ability to quick-save if you urgently need to get off the bus during an epic clash.

The battles are complemented by enhanced 2D graphics and visual effects that retain the art direction of the original.

The soundtrack has been completely re-mastered and the score provides the perfect auditory accompaniment to those epic struggles and poignant moments of the story.

Multiplayer support is also included in this version, which allows you to battle against a friend’s order across a number of battlefields.

Help at hand

The game won't suit everybody's tastes. A certain amount of patience and persistence is required, and it can take a long time to get used to the sheer number of customisation options.

Much time will be spent between battles perfecting and optimising your party, especially as enemies become more challenging.

The menu system can prove particularly cumbersome due to the level of information displayed. This can mean you end up scratching your head as you struggle to understand why you haven't bought the equipment you thought you'd bought.

It may require a lot of trial and error, but this update has added a few features to make the process far less painstaking.

The new Chariot Tarot system allows players to replay previous moves with a simple tap of the L button. This is a godsend for newer players who may be daunted by the unforgiving nature of the game, allowing them as it does to reverse ill-advised moves that accidentally set their archers on fire.

The ability to set a unit's behaviour and let the AI take control is another new feature. Although this is a nice option for those who wish to focus on just a few key units, it may be wiser to take complete control - my priests seemed to form a healers' union, only interested in curing each other.

The guest units’ actions are equally unfathomable. At times as their priority seems to be an early death rather than helping the group.

Despite these minor issues, Tactics Ogre is an experience that’s rivalled by few others on the PSP.

The engaging but unforgiving battle system combined with a captivating story means that playing through the various story paths is more likely to be a joy than a chore.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Reviewer photo
Steve McCaskill  | 17 February 2011
This updated version of Tactics Ogre ranks among the best tactical experiences on the PSP with features that make it easier for newer players yet don’t dilute the challenges or rewards for veterans
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