PSP Review: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

Is this strategy RPG still a classic?

I must confess, this is the first time I’ve played Tactics Ogre. I was expecting a clone of Final Fantasy Tactics since it came from the same team, but it is very different in its design. It’s regarded as the best strategy RPG of all time, but 15 years on…can it still claim to hold that title?

Like I said, I didn’t play the original or any past game in the series…so I’ve got nothing to compare it to, but I have to admit…there is something quite special about Tactics Ogre. Incidentally, did anyone else know that the subtitle “Let Us Cling Together” is named after a Queen song? As a huge Queen fan myself, I was surprised to hear this. The story is pretty good, albeit a bit clichéd as factions fight over the land of Valeria. There are some dramatic moments and some great dialogue, although I did come across some grammar problems in the text boxes, probably due to localisation from the Japanese version.

As with any other tactical RPG, Tactics Ogre lets you fully customise your fighters and their skills, but you will need to do some grinding for the later classes to get them upto par with the rest. You can choose to move every warrior yourself or control just one and let the AI do the work for you…but the results are mixed if you do this. Luckily if you are think you are defeated, you can use the Chariot system which resets your last 50 moves, so you can change what lead you to the point of no return. It does make the game a bit easier as a result, but it’s a nice addition for those unfamiliar to the series, like yours truly.

It might have been nice for Square-Enix to give Tactics Ogre a new lick of paint, instead of keeping to the traditional look of the Super Famicom version. The game is 15 years old, so surely it could have done with some visual makeover? The visual style doesn’t quite match the chaos and anarchy of the storyline, which is quite dark…while the game and characters look bright and anime-like. The soundtrack is superbly re-mastered on the PSP, but the other sound effects have begun to show their age.

The Verdict

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is a superb remake of a classic tactical RPG. But it isn’t for everyone; there is a lot to get your head around in terms of customisation, characters, skills and classes that will leave some gamers scratching their heads. Of course, I’m referring to anyone who hasn’t played a tactical RPG before and even though it’s a great game, Tactics Ogre can be overwhelming to newcomers of the genre. That aside, it still stands as one of the best there is…even after 15 years at the top.