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Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PlayStation)

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Where the hell is the F- ?


I have had a random, festering rage for about 5 years because of this game. A very intense hatred that flares up whenever anyone merely mentions the title. My psychiatrist says that reviewing the game and exposing my feelings for the world to see may be therapeutic. I've been sitting down for the past 2 or 3 weeks now, attempting to write a review for the game. I've got about six rough drafts sitting around, incomplete, just waiting to be finished.

You know what I realized?

There are at least 23 different ways to say "Tactics Ogre really sucks."

I don't think I've been this disappointed since the last time I looked at my penis. Maybe it's because I'm sitting here with fantastic strategy RPG's such as Disgaea and Phantom Brave; maybe it's because the game was the first to come out after the amazing Final Fantasy Tactics; or maybe it's because I have a thing called taste; but quite simply, Tactics Ogre fudging sucks!

If you think I am being a little harsh, let me give you a flashback to about 6-7 years ago. I was an average gamer: I had quite a few games in my collection, but I didn't really read any gaming magazines or websites. So imagine my surprise when I roll into Best Buy and see a new release called Final Fantasy Tactics. I decide to purchase the game, and the rest is history. The game is absolutely amazing. It takes up a majority of my free time the next month. A lot of people will say that FFT is not only the best strategy RPG ever, but the best game released on playstation 1, and it's hard to argue against that.

FFT also had the added effect of making more aware of new games. I didn't want to miss any other fantastic games, so I made sure to check out magazines and websites and whatnot. I found out rumblings about a game called Tactics Ogre. This game was for the "hardcore" strategy RPG players. "If you liked FFT, you'll LOVE Tactics Ogre!" So, of course, wanting to be a hardcore strategy player cool person, I immediately bought the game...

The first mistake I made was not full realizing how "hardcore" fans work. These are sad, lonely, desperate people that need admiration of their peers in the worst way. They will go to any lengths to find the most random, lame ass game and make it sound like it's the best. Everyone get jealous, think they are missing out on the greatest game ever because they can't find a copy themselves. Then when they do find one, they realize that it sucks. But instead of admitting it sucks, they perpetuate the lie so they fit in with the cool group of people who are still pretending the game rocks. For a perfect example, see Ikaruga.

One last thing before we get to the review proper. Normally, I type in this normal color text that you are seeing now, but for the purposes of this review I will be typing in THIS. I figure if I gotta punish myself by playing the game, I may as well kick me when I'm down! I will spare you from this punishment, for now >smile. On with the show!

Graphics: These are terrible, terrible graphics. You can sometimes tell the difference between the characters. And that's about the best thing you can say. There seems to be zero effort in character design, battlefields, character portraits, anything. Any fighting or magic techniques are bland and very boring. There are no redeeming qualities at all about the graphics of this game.

Some people will rush to the defense, saying "Well, this game was ported from the Famicom". My response is: THAT'S NOT MY FUDGING PROBLEM! I'm not the one that decided to do an exact port! They still had the cajones to charge $50 bucks for the ported piece of crap! Maybe if they charged what the game was actually worth it would get some leeway. I could pay $0.86 for this crapfest, and 49.99 for final fantasy 34, which will cost 8 billion dollars to develop. Needless to say, FF Tactics smokes it in graphics.

Sound: See above. There are glimpses that this could be a great soundtrack. The problem being that it's SNES music. And still not very good. It's not terrible. The sound effects are worthless. This game really could have used a touch up job on ps1. Even something like the Final Fantasy Anthology/Chronicles treatment. Anything at all. When the MIDIs of the game music are better than the actual soundtrack, that tells you everything you need to know. Once again, FF Tactics beats its ass in sound.

Story: Here's the cliff notes: You are a guy named Denim. Your town was attacked by the Dark Knight Lans. You find out Lans is coming back to your town and set up an ambush. But it's an OMG SWERVE PLZ, as this is the GOOD KNIGHT Lans, not the bad one. rolls eyes x 50. Anyways, you free a guy called Duke Ronway and become part of the liberation army.

Why it sucks #1 - The story is plodding. 2 out of every 3 battles are against generic commanders that have no back story or any motivation to fight you. They yell something at the beginning of battle like "You owe me 50 cents!" or "Boxers or briefs? Boxers?? You must die!!" Okay maybe not that, but still there is no storyline reason to be fighting in 2/3rds of the battles.

Why it sucks #2 - Your party sucks. You have a best friend named Vice that is a psycho who wants to kill everyone. You have a sister named Kachua that is a whiny dog. They don't develop through the entire story. All of the people that join you have little character development. They will usually say something "Hey let's join up" and then never say anything else for the rest of the game.

And Denim is a loser as well. He keeps complaining the entire game that "War is bad. The people in charge are bad, we need change". And that's it. There's no meaningful development or revelations in the game, no interesting side quests or back story. They just pound that theme into the ground. And I don't even know why Denim and crew would be any better than the status quo. The game doesn't explain it. In fact, multiple times in the game a character will tell Denim "You are no better than us!" And Denim's witty retort is "Yes I am." Christ.

Why it sucks #3 - The enemies suck. They aren't developed any better than your characters. There are a few evil guys that actually stand out from the random enemies, but nothing to actually make you care about them or the game. Most of them aren't even in the game long enough to have a personality. This game just feels like it's 100% filler - you keep waiting for something interesting or important to happen and it never happens.

I do give it some credit for having two separate storylines - you make a choice that radically changes the plot path. But since most people would go insane before they finished the game a first time, most people will not be able to enjoy the second storyline. And needless to say, FF Tactics kicks its ass.

Gameplay: I could go ON AND ON AND ON about how it's the worst gameplay ever. And out of all the exaggerations I may or may not have taken with this review, this is the honest truth. WORST GAMEPLAY EVER. I narrowed it down to 3 reasons why:

WORST EVER #1 - Classes. Totally irrelevant. I have no idea why they even bothered with different classes. Since the graphics suck so bad they aren't even that cosmetically different. Any unique class skills really serve to distinguishing function. Rarely will one class have a distinct advantage over another. And of course, there's not limit on equipment - ANY CLASS CAN USE ANY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT.

WORST EVER #2 - Balance. This game is the most hideous of example of forcing you to power level I have ever seen. Now really, with all the lame skills and techniques, the only real strategy is to surround someone and beat the hell out of them. But none of that matters according to level.

The only way this game is fair is if every enemy and ally is exactly the same level. Then you have one boring ass fight, but it's winnable. If there is a difference of 1 level (yes, just 1 level), the higher level character will 99% of the time beat the hell out of the lower one no matter what. If the level difference is 2, the higher level character might kill the lower in 1 hit, or 2, but it doesn't matter because the lower character can't inflict damage. A difference of 3, and the higher character can slaughter as many of the lowers as he wants. Seriously, what the fudge?

Like in a good game like FF Tactics, a level 20 character can oppress a level 15. But if it's a level 20 on 5 level 15 guys, the level 20 can expect a beatdown. In Tactics Ogre, a level 20 can kill 25 lvl 15 characters, usually without taking any damage. Oy vey.

WORST EVER #3 - Training. This is tied up to the above. Since the game makes it to where you cannot expect to win if you are at any lower level than your enemy, you of course have to level up. And everyone that plays strategy RPG's knows that during the course of the game one or two party members invariably fall behind the experience curve. Tactics Ogre tries to remedy this by including a training function.

dead face x 1,000,000

Training means you can deploy your characters on a castle map. The object is to make your lower level characters attack the higher level characters, thus gaining experience. BUT WAIT! Unfortunately, EVERYONE COUNTERATTACKS, so those high level characters will kill the low ones before they can level. Ye gods. Luckily for you, your characters can throw rocks from a few spaces away as to avoid the counter. Good idea, right? BUT WAIT! Since the high level characters are so superior, they will usually dodge a thrown rock, thus making the level up process take months, even years. So what is the solution to all of this? The solution is to throw the rocks at the backs of the high level characters so they don't dodge. In fact, you could easily spend 50% of the total gameplay time throwing rocks at the back of your own characters.

In fact, you could easily spend 50% of the total gameplay time throwing rocks at the back of your own characters.

In fact, you could easily spend 50% of the total gameplay time throwing rocks at the back of your own characters.

Summary: No need for a summary. This game has no value whatsoever. It boggles my mind just how useless this game is. Final Fantasy Tactics mopped the floor with this game, and I have no idea why people once hyped this game in the same breath with FFT. There is no excuse for mentioning the piece of crap that is Tactics Ogre in the same sentence as FF Tactics. Actually I take that back. An acceptable use would be "After playing Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre is as fun as sitting on a porcupine and then giving yourself a tabasco sauce enema". Strongest recommendation to avoid, although my therapist was right, I DO feel better smile

BUT WAIT! Some people are saying I am being totally unfair. They say I am unjustly comparing it to FF Tactics, and that I shouldn't, because FF Tactics is one of the best games ever and no game would ever get a good review in comparison. Why don't you go fudge yourselves...okay, that's a fair argument. So how about I compare it to waxing some of my leg hair off?

Nope, Tactics Ogre is still more painful!

Dave Olson

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