Delay Tactics (Ogre)

See what I did there? Ha! I’m so clever. It’s no wonder I have so few friends – my incredible wit drives them away. Or it could be that I’m a jackass – that too.

So the late breaking rumor of the day was that the LONG anticipated Final Fantasy XV has been delayed yet again. NeoGAF’s source now indicates that the game is expected to drop on Nov. 29, 2016 rather than the previously announced release date of Sep. 30.  This hasn’t been officially confirmed by SE as of this moment, but NeoGAF’s source is stated to be “credible” and has provided accurate release and delay information in the past.

ffxv_gamescom_2

Above: You know Noctis points at every girl that passes and yells “Call me, maybe!” You know it.

If true, while obviously a disappointment considering the game has already had a ten-year development cycle (you remember FF Versus XIII, right? Sure you do!), I can’t say it’s that big a deal because THE GAME HAS ALREADY HAD A TEN-YEAR DEVELOPMENT CYCLE.  At this point, what the hell are two more months? Bottom line, there is no way on god’s green earth that FF XV sells enough copies to be profitable, or even break even, for SE after this much time and effort.  And frankly, I don’t mind if they need some more time to polish up the game. I played through the Platinum Demo, and frankly found it…underwhelming. It wasn’t that it was bad – it just wasn’t anything, really. It was pretty. But I just didn’t experience anything that made me go “Holy shit, that was awesome, Final Fantasy is BACK, baby!” Maybe I’m in the minority, maybe I’m just a cynical old man – well, no maybe, I am a cynical old man, but that still doesn’t mean I’m wrong. And the demo footage I saw from E3 2016…yikes. That did not look good. But I really want Final Fantasy to be great again (fuck you, Trump), so I hope the extra two months, if true, are used to make that happen.

In terms of things I can play right now, I’m going through my backlog and working through Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together on the PSP. Why am I doing this? Well, it’s a long story that involves my fiance sleeping with her law professor and getting caught by his girlfriend then dumping me…but the tl;dr version is I have a lot more free time and a lot less desire to spend it with people lately. But if you think I sound dark and bitter, I’ve got nothing on the plot of this game.

Screen 1

Above: Um, sir, usually by the time we regret it, it’s because we CAN’T put him down…oh, forget it.

First things first, if you aren’t a fan of SRPGs ala Final Fantasy Tactics, this will do nothing to change your mind. Though you should change your mind; what the fuck is wrong with you? It’s like chess juiced up with whatever shit Brock Lesnar injects into his ass. The plot is so full of political intrigue, plotting, and backstabbing, that you may need to take notes just to keep track of what the hell is going on. But it’s SO GOOD! The localisation and writing have been polished to a goddamn glow. And the lemon twist in the martini is the ability to rewind time.

In most SRPGs, if you make a mistake in combat, things can get out of control quickly, and you’re left with the option to start over a lengthy battle and lose all your progress, or watch units die (sometimes permanently if you can’t revive them in time) and maybe eat a game over. But Tactics Ogre says, “fuck that shit.” Instead, you can access a rewind function that lets you rewind a battle by up to fifty unit turns – which in practice means almost any battle, at any time, can be rewound to at or near its beginning. That flanking squad you sent out end up getting eaten alive? Rewind and try not sending everyone zerging up the middle instead. It’s just a fantastic quality of life addition that makes playing an SRPG on a portable device like the PSP so much nicer.  What’s more, there is another rewind feature, the Chariot, that actually allows you to rewind the plot of the game itself back to branching points. Don’t like the dark path you’ve been treading since you decided to slaughter *Edited to avoid spoilers (I’m not a total asshole)*? Use the Chariot to go back and choose a more noble solution instead. This makes going back and unlocking the various potential endings to the game a hell of a lot simpler than replaying the entire thing from scratch over and over again, because who the fuck has that kind of time? (Weeps silently into whiskey glass while looking at empty spot in bed).

The combat, much like the rest of the game, is not going to set the SRPG world on its ear, but man is it polished and addicting. First of all, characters classes level as a whole – once one Knight is level 10, then anyone who changes classes to Knight is level 10. No need to start over each time you decide to change up a particular character’s game. The catch is that if you change a character to a new class that you haven’t had before, that does start at level 1 – and you’re going to have to park that guy in the back of some random battles and hope to god nothing looks at him until the fights are over and he has gained some levels.  Luckily, this usually doesn’t take too terribly long.

Screen 2

Above: See that winged red-head? Yeah, you’re going to be using him a lot.

Characters not only have class options, but different races provide different benefits as well – such as the Winged, who can ignore elevation restrictions (i.e., fly up to rooftops and snipe the fuck out of people while laughing maniacally at them).  Add to that a ton of weapons, armor, items, and a fairly robust crafting system, and you will have a lot of things to do for a very long time. As an added bonus, the horrible slowdown that plagued SE’s remake of Final Fantasy Tactics – War of the Lions is nowhere to be found here. Spell effects and skills execute with nary a hint of chugging.

Bottom line: this game is very good in general, and if you are a fan of the genre, it is a must play. Just fantastic design and a level of polish that I wish went into every game. Even if you aren’t a lonely, depressed attorney-hermit, find the time to track this down and play it. I guess if I have to give it some kind of rating (goddamn lazy people don’t want to read anymore) I’ll pay tribute to @AdamSessler of X-Play fame and give Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together 4 and 1/2 whiskeys…out of 5.

Until next time, kids, remember – vote early, vote often (joke), unless you’re voting for Trump, in which case, why the fuck are you still here?! (not a joke).

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