Pin It
Favorite

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together 

Tight tactics make up for loose dramatics.

click to enlarge Acting Clingy leads to groupthink.
  • Acting Clingy leads to groupthink.

Begin in the middle. That is what the poet Horace advised storytellers to do. Jump right into the messiest part of the tale. The designers of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together took that advice literally. The game begins in Valeria, a kingdom recently divided between two warring factions. This would be standard, blackvs.-white fare except that there were originally three factions fighting for Valeria. The third, forgotten faction is at the heart of the story of Let Us Cling Together as they attempt to reassert their resistance. Got all that?

The history lesson is a classic part of the Tactics Ogre series. Like Tolstoy in War and Peace, the creators of Let Us Cling Together are aiming to tell a grand, multi-leveled tale. They want to tell the stories of individuals caught up in the sweep of history. Of nations and families. And they do this by interspersing long-winded storytelling with remarkably strategic battles.

The battles are the heart of Let Us Cling Together. They resemble other turn-based tactical games in that the characters face each other across a chessboard-like battleground. Turn by turn, they hop up and around the squared-off landscape as they attack, cast spells and attempt to outmaneuver each other.

What distinguishes Let Us Cling Together is that the various characters on the battlefield must cling together as a unit instead of developing as individuals. On the battlefield, if two high-level soldiers are joined by a new recruit, the new recruit automatically advances in level to meet the experienced soldiers.

This system makes Let Us Cling Together a game about army management—building large, synchronized forces. This is a good way to tell the story of a mounting rebellion, but it loses the personal tales that make those stories interesting. Without individual units to develop in battle, there are no characters to care about deeply. The battles are spectacular and ingenious. But the characters get lost in the middle.

THE GOOD: Every so often, when I’m playing a game and I make a big mistake, I’ll consider switching the power off before the game can record my stupidity into its memory banks. Goof-up forgotten. Error erased. And I admit that I’ve done that occasionally. And I feel guilty — like I’m cheating. So my conscience is relieved by the Chariot Tarot — a command in Let Us Cling Together that lets me reverse a turn in battle. I can undo the mistakes I didn’t mean to make. I can try a different attack and see how the game responds. And it’s all fair and legal — conscience clean.

THE BAD: The Tactics Ogre games have always told their stories by staging scenes on tiny little action-figure play-sets. The characters look as small as they do on the battlefield, but they stand with even less animation. And they talk, talk, talk, occasionally moving to another place and talking, talking, talking. There’s nothing attractive or interesting about watching these teensy dramas while the majority of the PSP’s widescreen sits black and unused.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Tight tactics make up for loose dramatics in Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Games

Latest in Film

  • Swing and a Miss
  • Swing and a Miss

    Hands of Stone can't carve out a distinctive space among boxing biopics
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Texas Heat
  • Texas Heat

    Hell or High Water is the crime drama you've been waiting all summer for
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Gun Show
  • Gun Show

    Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are armed and dangerous in the true story War Dogs
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Still Celebrating

    Boy George and Culture Club paved the way for genre- and gender-bending rock stars
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Behind the Music
  • Behind the Music

    The Grammy Awards are about much more than what you see on TV
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation