As veterans of two Disgaeas, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and FF: War of the Lions we were delighted to finally get the official opportunity to sample their granddaddy, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
However, we were foolish to assume that its old age (it was first released in Japan in 1995) and our past experiences would enable us to breeze through it.
If anything, newer titles have softened the genre and, considering most isometric, turn-based RPGs are dense enough to scare away gamers at the best of times, that's saying something.
Without the combo system of Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, the character stacking or weapon-levelling from Disgaea or the streamlined interface of more recent Tactics titles, Tactics Ogre is no mercy tough and canyon deep.
Learn the rules, pay attention to how skills are assigned and how characters are improved. And most of all, never assume that early battles will go easy on you. It's stat-juggling, number-crunching, strategic thinking purity.
That said, Tactics Ogre has relented slightly; the new Tarot system allows for the occasional 'time rewind' (so you can sample multiple story branches should you regret a plot decision or re-attempt failed boss fights) and there are a few name changes and plot tweaks.
We would have liked the ability to rotate maps, as well as larger, clearer character sprites and an interface less demanding than our tax returns, but it still stands as a timeless and challenging RPG that will soak up countless hours.
If you like any of the other games we've mentioned in this review, you owe it to yourself to play Tactics Ogre - it's an education.
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Time hasn't dulled the challenge. Fans of the genre need this in their lives
- Classic tactical RPG action
- Maintains purity of classic mechanics
- New Tarot system is a great addition
- Still hard as a rock
- Success relies on a lot of number crunching