Triangle Strategy is an intelligent SRPG that updates the formula of its predecessors and looks at the future of the genre.
One of Square Enix's most successful bets in recent years has been HD-2D, the denomination given by the company to the particular visual style that combines three-dimensional environments with pixel art. After putting all the looks at Octopath Traveler, the company is betting on recovering some of its classics with this aesthetics, such as Dragon Quest III, Live-A-Live and even some scenes from the Pixel Remaster of Final Fantasy VI. Both in their applications for new IP and in these classics, it serves a very specific purpose: evoke sensations from the past through a technology that updates the titles and at the same time opens a new potential to discover. Triangle Strategy, the last title to embrace HD-2D, not only presents this approach on the visual plane: it also knows how to look at past, present and future when it comes to designing its mechanics.
- Developer: Square Enix
- Editor: Nintendo
- Platforms: switch
- Proven version: switch
- Availability: 04/03/2022
Triangle Strategy is ambient in Norselia, a continent that tries to recover from the Great Ferrosaline War in which the three great forces that fight for supremacy clasped. To the north is the Fraguahelada Archiduade, a nation that has dominated iron, information and technology management. This is located the Sacra Headquarters of Dunalgide, a town that is committed by faith, medicine and exploitation of valuable salt. Between both is the Kingdom of Glaucoburg, where agricultural and fishing resources abound. All of them have their own internal quas: Fraguahelad's personal freedom has brought an enormous economic inequality, the abundance of dunalgide rises on the slavery of the Rosé minority and the confidence in the crown of Glaucoburg does not go through its best, with more of a vulture waiting for your opportunity to alter the established order.
Our protagonist is Serinoa, heir of the Wolffort house, one of the three main vassals of Glaucoburg. When his journey begins, it seems to approach a period of peace: the three great nations are willing to park their differences to exploit the Norselia mines. Serinoa himself will be married to Frederica, daughter of the previous archduke of Foreguahelada, to unite both nations. An unexpected discovery in the mines, however, gives a turn to the geopolitical board and places Serinoa in an uncomfortable position of leadership in which each of the decisions of him will change the future of his friends, the house of him and even of Norselia itself.
Serinoa's travel companions form a diverse group with their own ideals that we will meet as new situations and problems are deployed. Benedict, our father's right hand and now personal counselor, candle for the Wolffort house with the help of the cold Anna spy, which contrasts with the warmth and constant crying of the Veteran Herker. It also accompanies us our best friend Roland, second heir of the King of Glaucoburg, often escapes him from him together with Hughette, his personal bodyguard, who has to put in his place to the Prince continuously. Frederica, Future Wife of Serinoa and aware of the magic of fire, is accompanied by Yela, a healer who exercises the role of maiden and protector. They are not the only characters we will know, and depending on our decisions, other voices will be added to our ranks that, however, will not participate so actively in the plot.
As you can imagine for the introduction, the role of serinoa is not the one of mere witness; Both he and the confidence group will face, beyond the fighting themselves, to a struggle between ideals and factions in which it will have to be taken continuously. The game tells us how each of our actions inside and out of combat comes to the three values that we can aspire (moral, freedom or pragmatism), but it does well to hide the exact address we are taking not to influence our Future decisions.
The story of Triangle Strategy has both politics and strategy, with the various actors thinking about their movements with several shifts in advance as if Norselia were the boards itself. It is a weft developed in an elegant way that always puts on the table situations full of nuances; After the initial section no decision is easy to take or comes without a clear negative counterpart. If you want to be the "good" of this story, get ready for sacrifices, although for my taste you may miss a dot of emotion or drama to be a rounder title. On certain occasions our colleagues feel more avatars of a stream of thought than characters; This causes history to get more at the head than to the heart, to put it in some way.
Almost all chapters follow very similar structures with each other, divided into prelude / combat / postlude. During the first part there is a conflict that usually derives in the exploration of an environment or in making a decision that will affect the development of the game. The exploration phases, for example, allow us to investigate maps freely (usually as a prelude to a combat in that same scenario, so that we have an idea of its dimensions and particularities) to better understand the inhabitants of a region and get useful information. Although we can finish our investigate in virtually any time, it is always convenient to dedicate a few minutes to talk with everyone and investigate the surroundings. We will always find objects, but the most important thing is the information: it will unlock new options in the conversations, in some cases opening the door to convince one of our travel companions to change the position of it in the decision-making.
The combat is the central point of most chapters, with meetings that can be easily go to more than half an hour as the plot progresses. Much of the text of this analysis is dedicated to this section, so here I will take advantage to comment that the topics of the soundtrack associated with the meetings, which are gaining in intensity as one of the sides runs without effective, they are composed With great success and they always know how to touch the correct keys. The rest of themes are a little more irregular, within a very high average level, but in combat always hits.
In the postcludes, the consequences of the fighting can be contemplated; Depending on our interest, we can go directly to the main plot or dedicate a while to see secondary events that give us the point of view of other nations about what has just happened. Although the game already has a huge text load in itself (between combat and combat can easily be 30 to 60 minutes of conversations), the truth is that I have always enjoyed what they have told me and I have been interested in those conversations Optional that always enrich the universe of the game and the ambitions of each character.
One of the mechanics that give a differential touch to Triangle Strategy is the election system, which as we said usually come in the prelude. When a decision is going to have a dramatic impact on history we will not be able to choose a choice directly, but will be our travel companions who will vote for their preferred option. Before the vote we will have our opportunity to change their ideas in a "persuasion phase" in which each partner will comment on his doubts about him and we can try to convince them to choose the option we consider correctly. The interface lets us see clearly what is the starting point of each character and what are the options that are open to changing, but ultimately we are who we have to know our traveling companions and choose an option that takes you To change posture. The Bonachón Erador always will bet on a speech that appeals to the heart, Benedict will want you to take into account the situation from a practical point of view and Yela will not forgive you that you act naively.
Although the first voting are relatively easy to win, as the plot is developed, certain characters will be grinding in their positions. With increasingly complicated decisions and some allies with a target on the clearest horizon, it will not be rare that "we lose" any of the voting. Like little, sometimes you will find an intermediate point and play politicket so that, although we do not get our favorite option, at least trying to make sure that it does not come out that we want to avoid. Triangle does a great job developing his characters through these phases of persuasion. Far from always being agreed with us, our group has its own objectives and ideals. They will not hesitate to give us a sharp response if we are not able to put us on their skin and understand their concerns, but they will also be found to be convinced if we present a convincing argument that appeals to their moral values.
A menu called Periplo shows us how each great decision takes us on different paths. The first decision leads us to live two chapters in different locations, with characters and information that we can not get on the other road, but then lead to the same end point. Little by little, decisions are deployed that do change the plot in a decisive way and take us completely from seeing other chapters that would offer alternative points of view. Not only do stories change, but also the fighting themselves. The game constantly strives to give a unique loss to each meeting, with very fun scenarios that solve as a puzzle: a high column surrounded by skewers (and many enemies who can push you), an ambush in a valley with almost vertical walls full From archers, a guerrilla resistance operation with devastating traps... Triangle Strategy always knows how to give you a differentiated dot for each meeting, either through environments or with the selection of enemies.
The system itself is heir of the classics of the genre, particularly the Yasumi Matsuno Games (Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics), with its battles per shift on a scenario divided into grids. In the lower part of the screen we can see an extensive line of time with the order of action of all the characters, which have a movement and an action unless its class allows some rule to be skipped. From here we will have to exploit the particularities of each character: Serinoa and Roland are oriented to combat, Frederica and Yela dominate offensive and curative magic, Benedict not a lot of harm but can provide Buffs, Huguette has great mobility to besieged Enemies to arrows... A simple system of elements allows us, for example, freeze a soil to make movement, melting the frost with a fire attack and then auction it with an electric attack that expands throughout the entire corrugated area.
The system of courage points rewards this type of actions that demonstrate our ability by raising the fighting. Attacking in clamp, throwing spells with impacts on a multitude of enemies or explosing weaknesses translates into a coin with which to buy objects in our camp. Although there come some point can be used for improvement materials, during much of the game unlock cunning (special skills such as cure a character out of their turn) and they even let us buy passages from the story of Norselia with which to fill the holes of The history of the continent, which are intuited in history but do not completely develop.
Combining simple systems only in appearance, it manages to put together a fun and challenging combat. It is one of its most prominent points of the game, and the truth is that I would appreciate it if they were even more numerous because each meeting knows, as it said above, always being unique playing with all these factors. Whether introducing enemies with different attack patterns, putting us in environments where we start in clear disadvantage or changing the conditions of combat, Triangle is always shown so that we feel every triumph as an authentic victory on the challenges that the game poses.
One of the aspects that has made me happiest is what the English call Qol or "quality of life", a series of design decisions in interface, controls and options aimed at facilitating the understanding of the battlefield. The UI presents a lot of information without being too opaque or Farragosa; If you only have played the first demo you will notice great improvements in this aspect. If we do not know who we want to attack we can choose an attack and press the triggers to point to the enemies within the radius in their order of action, but we can also choose an enemy and visualize all the attack options and the predicted damage, all this With very few button pulsations, for example. Triangle Strategy does not strikeless stitch: it constantly takes small decisions in favor of readability, rapidity and ease of handling without reducing the complexity of combats.
The result is a game that, looking closely at games with more than two decades behind them, feels very current. To avoid looking at these games under the prism of nostalgia I recovered a game of FF Tactics of PSP in Vita and, after playing Triangle Strategy, it is so easy to see its connections as efforts to modernize gender and take it to the present. Jumping from one another and even other more current titles, the details of which it is plagued is better appreciated.
Speaking of Final Fantasy Tactics, the experience system is similar: it is not necessary to kill someone to gain experience, but we will receive some points at the end of each action depending on their value (using an object will give us less XP than to perform an attack of group magic, for example). It is a system that I always consider preferable, because it makes it easy for each character to focus on exploiting the particularities of it without being penalized. The system gives rise to the fact that we try alternative tactics to brute force, as letting our blacksmith are dedicated to putting traps with springs so that enemies approaching come apart (I recommend using this technique against ambushes) or send to merchant Enrage nearby enemies to distract your attention.
A fairly useful function that presents the game is related to Game Over. In this type of tactical games there is a particularly feared moment: when you realize that you are going to lose your combat. The moment your last character falls is still 5 or 10 minutes, but you have enough experience in the genre to know when the battle is lost; Maybe it's faster to start from scratch. Triangle Strategy offers a simple exit but ending up being very grateful: Instead of planting a split load screen, it offers us the possibility to return to the menus but also repeat the fight while maintaining the experience obtained, recovering the objects consumed and losing those that We have achieved during combat.
It is an option that changes quite a way to see the fighting; Accustomed to SRPG with painful defeats that target you clonic missions to crindear experience, Triangle Strategy wants us to closest level by facing important combats. No shift is in bucket, and even when combat seems lost the game invites us to get the best out of us to upload all the levels that we can for the next attempt. One more turn with life can be the differential factor to survive the rematch. They are not easier combats for it; In fact the game seems to take into account that comfort when it comes to raising their challenges and always demand a little more of us.
They also offer us the option of facing those clonic combats that mentioned above, although it is much less attractive. Here Triangle tries to play a little with the rewards and offers us situations that can not be given in the campaign (a confrontation against various troops of all armies, for example), but it is always more fun to face the intense combats of the main story. On the other hand, it is a good idea to use these skirmishes to level up the characters that have fallen off, although the game seems to incorporate some kind of multiplier that facilitates the smallest characters accelerate their growth very fast when They face advanced fighting, thus allowing anyone to stay laggarded a lot of time.
It is normal for not the whole team to be able to level up at the same time, since they will soon join our camping characters. The new recruits do not participate in the main plot (do not make decisions, for example), but have their own smaller stories. Some of them will add to our ranks depending on the ideals of Serinoa; Sometimes people from other regions that have ended discontent with the actions of the system where they were born. If we continue on that path we can unlock small additional episodes not only of them, but also of some main companions.
Much of the baby system of the Matsuno Games, but in the classes approaches other games of the genre as Fire Emblem. For example, the class system does not work for jobs, but each character is a unique kind with skills that nobody else can do. As recruits arrive, they allow us to give full dumps to our strategies, a system that works great both at the tactical plane, offering us a multitude of approximations to each combat, as in the narrative: the very nature of each character will lead us to create synergies and Collaborations, to create our own stories on the combat board.
This measure also allows to alleviate very intelligently the load of the menus with respect to other Team Asano games such as Octopath Traveler. Obviously before each combat we will have to spend time to improve, but it is not necessary to move equipment between characters or be changing sword every two by three. Instead, we will have to unlock permanent improvements for each PJ with the resources we get as booty or buy in the store. In addition to taking less time, it forces us to be selective with improvements that cost expensive resources, and even make decisions (should I improve the duration of this spell or its effectiveness?).
The adventure is not excessively long for gender standards: we can overcome history with one of the finals at about 25-30 hours. At the story level works well to keep the pulse, but maybe you miss a little more time to further develop all the kindness of your combat system and let us enjoy it. I think a year a little longer could have allowed more with the options of each class (perhaps more specializations for the characters themselves or more skills?) And have explored your chances more.
That said, the duration of the campaign is not equivalent to that of the game. When we finish we will open the doors of a New Game + that is especially attractive: beyond the extra challenge and even the possibility of seeing all the rates that have not been resolved, Triangle Strategy reserves some mechanics for the second game, facilitating The tasks of recruiting the characters that we lack and to turn the decisions that we did not assume, and it is even allowed to launch an especially difficult optional challenge. Without wanting to enter many details, if you like the Team Asano proposal you will want to start with this NG + almost immediately.
Triangle Strategy is an SRPG with roots firmly rooted in the classics of Matsuno, but with the intention of bringing the elements that today can be felt today. Maybe he would have sat well a little more ambition; A more intense and dramatic story, a system of classes with more ramifications, even more combats with which to deploy their potential. Its value resides in overcoming a task as complicated as the Serinoa itself: dare to take a multitude of decisions (design, in this case) always firmly and conviction; It is a success because it wins in comfort without losing the pulse to the complexity of the genre. I dare venture that it will be the mirror in which other representatives of the genre should look at each other in the future.