I am a massive fan of JRPG’s but a lesser known fact is that I am also a huge fan of Strategy games, so when I was asked to review
Final Fantasy Tactics Switch Triangle Strategy, I already had the game downloading to my Switch before even confirming receipt of the code.
As a preface to this review, I should mention that I am yet to beat the game. I have so far put around 15 hours into it, but feel I have seen enough to write a good review, however if the ending totally ruins the title for me I am not above crapping all over my own review, though hopefully it won’t come to this!
I have reviewed a few games of this franchise in the past and coming off the back of loving Bravely Default and Octopath Traveller I was really excited to dive into another entry in the ‘Underline Franchise’ (as the internet seems insistent on naming it). My favourite thing from these franchises being the adorable PS1 era graphics that hit me right in the nostalgia. A feeling which is brought to the forefront once again as I played through Triangle Strategy, constantly making me feel as though I was playing a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics, albeit without the classic FF enemies and characters.
This feeling sticks around through every bit I have played, and as I say: This feels like a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics. The overall plot and battle systems are very reminiscent of those titles and if this game is to whet our appetite for another of those then CONSIDER US WHETTED. Unfortunately, Triangle Strategy is missing that Final Fantasy charm which made me feel the game could only have been made better with the addition of a few Tonberries or Cactuars to really shake it up!
The problem I have with Triangle Strategy is that the ‘game’ part of this game plays second fiddle to the cutscenes, and whilst I know that JRPG’s are quite notorious for cutscene length, this game felt like I was going around 45 mins of cutscene before each battle – this again was especially noticeable in the first 8 hours of the game and became less of an issue later on… Your enjoyment of the game will depend on whether you have the patience for a very slow start before the action starts to kick off.
The story is progressed by clicking on ‘events’ in the overworld screen. This is also where you can choose side missions – these are optional but I felt levelled out of main events if I didn’t do them and they disappear as the story progresses… however this could be due to the fact I suck at strategy games but coupled with the ‘optional’ missions giving story beats you would otherwise miss, it made it feel as though these events were not really optional after all.
The game is split into phases, notably these phases are the Story phase (cutscenes), Battle phase (battles obvs) and Exploration phase (where you can freely move about the city). What this winds up doing is making the game feel like a game of 3 parts that takes me out of the moment as I switch between phases as the game does not flow perfectly well, an issue I had with the 8 stories of Octopath Traveller as well (although this is a lot more well done than that). You can however just skip the exploration phase if you choose but the threat of missing key information or items is forever looming.
Throughout Triangle Strategy there is also a morality style system running in the background based on choices you make, these take the form of Utility, Morality and Liberty and will shape Serenoa’s (MC) character as you play the game.
So far I am only doing my first playthrough so can’t really comment on how drastically this changes the story.
The voice acting is really quite dry. It’s not offensive to the ears but it’s also very clearly not using the top end voice actors that lend their voices to video games in recent years. This isn’t a make or break situation for Triangle Strategy but couple this with the fact the early hours of the story also feels really dry, focusing on politics and political dinner parties over anything else, just makes the whole experience a bit less pleasurable and misses a lot of fun.
In the gameplay phases of the game I had two very different experiences. In the exploration phase, I did find that I didn’t bother to explore a great deal – instead opting to ONLY talk to NPC’s who had a green exclamation mark above their heads and mostly just rushing through these areas to further the story and enter more battles. However, in the Battle Phase was where I had the most fun. Triangle Strategy is quite standard Turn-Based Strategy RPG fare wherein you move your characters around a board to execute attacks and be attacked in return. But I had an absolute blast with this, there is always something about strategically placing units in these games to get the most from every attack that just appeals to me.
All in all, I am having a good time with Triangle Strategy. It isn’t being prioritized above other games that have been released in recent months but it’s a good enough game to play for the odd hour here and there where I’m in the bath or on the bus. It’s just a pity that it doesn’t prioritise the play aspect of the game as much as the cutscenes. Therefore I give it
6 / 10
What did you think of Triangle Strategy? Is my opinion right off the mark here? Let me know in the comments below.