Growing up, there was one game that really changed my love for a particular genre. Final Fantasy Tactics was a game that I would end up renting for a total of 14 weekends before my dad bought it for me. The gameplay was difficult, and I died countless times, but my understanding of the job classes and story beats kept me invested. I would go on to play the re-release on PSP, and my love for the tactical RPGs would just end up growing. So, I’m sure you could gauge my level of excitement when Square Enix announced Project Triangle Strategy, an HD-2D game from the team behind Octopath Traveler. After playing its lengthy demo, I was able to get an understanding of its tactical battle system and systems. All I can say is that I’m wildly impressed developers can still find creative ways to elevate this genre to incredible new heights.
The demo available for Project Triangle Strategy starts you off in Chapters VI and VII of the story. I honestly have no idea what’s going on, but the political beats are a significant focus. Players will have a choice in terms of where their allegiance lies and how they wish to lead their group. One choice in the demo had you decide whether or not to give up a Prince to stop a potential war. If you don’t, the flip side is that you’ll have to fight an invading army, which could spell the end of the village.
The characters and the raging feud between nations are constantly on display as you witness the opposing sides make moves. There plenty of potential for backstabbing and twists, but since I don’t really know who any of the characters are at this point, I can only assume who I should trust. Players can navigate an overview map to either view side-stories of events happening in other towns or progress the narrative. These extra scenes hold the potential to unlock new choices and characters, so it might be worth visiting every point of interest.
The battle systems are where I found my attention landing, given that I didn’t really feel like dissecting the bits and pieces of the narrative without all the context. Like Final Fantasy Tactics, players can place units of various job classes. I couldn’t change job classes as far as I could tell or purchase new equipment, which was a bit of a bummer. Turns are decided by a character’s speed, and you move through the battlefield in standard SRPG fair.
Elements ultimately set this game apart as magic users can take advantage of enemy weaknesses and combine magic for various effects. I’m interested to see how large of a role magic plays in the later parts of the game because it was pretty overpowered in the demo, but at the expense of low defense for the characters. Other characters had a few stand-out attacks, but I noticed that I used many buffs and debuffs to survive the encounters, which I didn’t always do in FF Tactics. There are also ways to interact with the environment, and I’m hoping that this because a staple of the genre because it was incredibly satisfying.
The war themes of Project Triangle Strategy provide a similar feeling to what I experienced playing Final Fantasy Tactics. Each character of the party is a significant piece of the puzzle, causing you to become attached to them and their cause. The biggest difference here is that you now have some say in the matter through a voting process that branches the narrative. I can’t begin to tell you how curious I am about the system. Still, I hope they make convincing people over to your side a bit tougher because I typically only selected the responses that I unlocked, and it worked.
For now, I believe this to be a true successor of the Final Fantasy Tactics series, and I hope that it introduces more players to the genre as well as raises the bar for what we’ll see in the genre for years to come. I feel some elements need some refinement, like the waves of colors that telegraph your actions along with some strange enemy AI actions, but this is a great foundation for something that I feel like I’ve been waiting a while for.
Project Triangle Strategy is in development for Nintendo Switch for a 2022 release.
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