I missed the HD-2D pleasure of Octopath Traveler just like him Bravely franchise, so it was with severe FOMO that I decided to review Square Enix’s bland title Triangle Strategy project. (The free Switch demo is available on the Nintendo eShop as we speak.) What started out as a frustrating exhibition dump (despite the caveat that I would be dropped in the middle of the story and not expected to know exactly what was going on) soon got me hooked thanks to a mature feudal fantasy story , although familiar. and delightfully retro-modern visuals. Also, I am somewhat involved in the future of Prince Roland, whatever fate he ultimately chooses for him. (Now is a good time to mention that some spoilers will be discussed.) … Do I really have to wait until 2022 for whatever Triangle Strategy project finally becomes?

It’s been longer than I can remember since I played a demo for over a couple of hours (with the exception of the frustrating Kobayashi Maru, who I’m losing sleep). And honestly, I was close to giving up pTS when the first hour (again, in the middle of the game, chapters 6 and 7) was all history and almost no action. An endless list of characters with fantastic-sounding names from an equally endless list of fantastic-sounding nations, regions, principalities, and towns passed by, all essentially counting the same setup in various ways: The death of one nobleman at the hands of another. they caused the victim’s cousin to wage open war against the murderer’s nation, despite the peace that had existed between the three nations since the bloody Saltiron War. (If this all feels very game of Thrones or [Insert Swords and Sorcery Saga Here], you are right.)

The player, unsurprisingly, plays as a young lord who has just inherited the title of a noble house under the loyalty of the king, who has just been usurped. This places you between your loyalty to the crown and its young prince who took the life of the noble rival, and the new leader who rules with an iron fist and a sharp mind bent toward strategy and domination. And you will have to navigate this dangerous new path through a combination of dialogue options (few and far between), exploration (same), tactical combat (well balanced at all times) and even votes cast by the entire group; your election alone will not decide the vote, but it can influence your fellow party members at your side.

Image via Square Enix, Nintendo

Sitting that is a lot to try and convey for a demo, but Triangle Strategy project you repeat your own tradition often enough in the proof that you just want to combine it with the nth explanation. The same goes for mission objectives when finally (Finally) get to do a real strategic tactical combat. (You don’t have to tell me three different times to open a drawbridge and defeat the enemies that get in my way. You don’t.) But there was something so charming about the way the rest of the game was set up: a retro design inspired by the classic role-playing games of the Super Nintendo era with modern technology to make every little detail pop, a staple of the game. HD-2D games and the wide cast of characters that you will meet along the way. I just had to keep playing. I am so glad I did.

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I played the demo twice, due to a fairly large plot point where you can hand over the offensive assassin Prince Roland to the usurping Archduke Gustadolph to keep the peace, or fight for Roland’s safety and sovereignty at the expense of your closest friends. . and even the very townspeople whom he is charged with protecting. That decision is first addressed in a vote before the Scale of Convictions. Some of his party are in favor of turning Roland over, some are in favor of protecting him, and some are undecided; each will make their case if you talk to them. But if you explore your city and talk to its people like young Mr. Serenoa, you will learn some interesting things that can help you influence your party members in one way or another.

Image via Square Enix, Nintendo

Once you have persuaded your team in the direction of your choice, you will go before the somewhat mythical Scales of Conviction to decide Roland’s fate – fight to protect him and risk the safety of the city to fight the brutal General Avlora. and the soldiers of Aesfrost. Choose to deliver it, and you will find yourself in a tenuous alliance with Archduke Aesfrostian … who soon tricks you into attacking your longtime ally, Lord Falkes. Either way, you will end up fighting, and either way a lot of things will burn in the process, but boy, does it feel better to fight the battle of your choice rather than the one that is cheated on you? But just the fact that you can diverge by different paths in Triangular strategy it’s a huge selling point for me, especially in an era of so-called RPGs that have opted for the illusion of choice over meaningful branching narratives. (Looking directly at you, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, The Last of Us II and pretty much every other major story-based releases from the past few years).

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I am now committed to the fate of House Wolffort and its allies. I want to know as Y why Prince Roland ended up eliminating Dragan and causing all this bloody mess to begin in the first place. Hope that reveal helps influence my decision on what to do with Roland (although I’ll definitely play both ways at some point to see what happens). I also want to see how the RNG of the new characters who join your party works in the final game; I met Medina the Pharmacist (cuter), Julio the … Accountant (I forget it), and a very fashionable shaman that I would very much like to meet. (None of these characters joined my party in battle despite appearing on my menu, but that’s probably due to the nature of the demo. Same goes for permadeath, which doesn’t happen in the demo version, but I hope make it to the final release.) And when it comes to the central characters, I’d love to see relationships develop, whether it’s friendships, rivalries, or romantic entanglements.

Image via Square Enix, Nintendo

In general, the tactics and skills available to you should be quite familiar if you’ve played fantasy tactical strategy games before. (Ice Wall is indeed OP when it comes to levels of siege and manipulation on the battlefield.) The character balance feels good, but not very good so far; its large bruised shield wielder is somewhat papery and has really no defensive benefit save for costly recoil. Some of the movement is not intuitive and it is not really explained either; Expect a fair amount of trial and error to figure out how to tackle a certain fight. Triangular strategy not exactly pioneering a new path here.

However, the story, characters, beautiful visuals, and the promising balance between combat and progression are enough to get this fantasy nerd hooked. The voice actors can change, the title can change (don’t bet on it), and even some of the names and the final art can change, but now I’m on board. And so begins our long wait until 2022 …

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