Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis is nothing short of a great game. The story follows a young knight in the Lodis Empire, named Alphonse, who has been dispatched to quell a rebellion on the island of Ovis. Upon arrival, he quickly learns that things are not as they seem and begins a long and dangerous journey to discover what is really going on behind the scenes, and who is ultimately manipulating the government for personal gain. Throughout this quest, he will gain many allies, and face many foes, all for the sake of peace. The plot never disappoints, but continues on and on, inevitably changing based on the decisions made by the player, and resulting in multiple endings and even deciding what characters will join your cause. And though this is another game in an extended series of the the Ogre Series, the story is fresh and anyone can pick it up. With over 40 hours of gameplay for one round, the replay value is incredible.
To add to this, TKoL features an interesting multiplayer feature, allowing players to pit their army against rival player’s armies via a Game Boy Advance link cable. This battle system bans the use of some spells, and only allows five members per team, instead of the game’s standard eight, but offers rewards for whoever wins the match (some of the rewards you can’t get anywhere else in the game!). On top of this, there is also an exchange feature, which will allow players on different cartridges to trade items, spells, and even characters to help make an army even more powerful.
Of course, what good is it if there’s nothing good to listen to? But that’s not the case with TKoL. The music is classically themed, and quite beautiful to behold upon your eardrums. Sound effects are also mixed well, with soldiers screaming and falling, spells exploding, and weapons clanking off shields and other weapons. Unfortunately, however, there is one major problem: it’s repetitive. While the music is great, there’s just not enough of it, and the player will hear the same tracks over and over and over again. Eventually it just fades into the background, which is too bad considering it’s such splendid work. But if the player decides they’ve had enough, the option to turn the sound off is available on the startup screen, and in-game in the options menu.
Graphically, TKoL is superb. The battlefields are beautiful, for starters, with every rock, bush, and patch of grass standing out in the 2-D, isometric display. It actually feels like these are realistic locations, instead of a flat map. Terrain is a major deal, with battles taking place uphill, on rooftops, waist deep in water, and even over pits of boiling lava. Adding to the flair are the weather effects. In some maps it’s snowing, in some it’s sunny, and in some it’s raining so hard the map floods, and your forces are suddenly waist deep and bogged down. It’s an excellent touch.
As for character sprites, those are incredibly well animated. Different job classes spin weapons and block in various ways. While a wizard will walk up and simply bat someone with a staff, a Dragoon will un-sheath their sword, flip it in the air, and then slash into their opponent. Spell effects are also quite nice, with magic missiles blasting across stages, or rocks tumbling from the sky onto unsuspecting victims. Summon spells also work well, though they look just a little stiff in comparison, usually encasing the effected members in their own little universe as the summoned creature unleashes fury on them to then put them back on the map.
Portrait wise, every character and class is well drawn. The world map appears ancient, but epic, and the tipster Pumpkinhead is humorous to see.
Gameplay wise, Tactics Ogre is exactly what it claims…tactical. Battles are turn-based, and the player must move his characters around on the field on an invisible grid, then attack. Unfortunately, that’s the order. You must move, then attack. There is no attack first and run away. It feels like a bit of a letdown, but at least it’s a universal rule, so your enemies can’t do it either. Weather also has an important effect on the field, especially when heavy rains flood the rivers. Unfortunately, there is no drowning in the game, so if a unit is caught in the flood, they merely move up a space. It’s seems like a bit of a cop-out.
As far as the magic system is concerned, six elements govern the world. But these elements also govern individual damage for every unit, and certain terrain on the battlefield can be more helpful for some units, while brutal towards others. Magic points, or MP, start at 0 for every character in every battle, so while melee characters are ready to go right off the bat, mages take a turn or two to get going. Also, characters must equip items and spells, and change job classes to affect their play style. These job classes will also affect the way a character levels, so a ninja who becomes a knight will have much more agility than a cleric who becomes a knight, but much lower intelligence.
To access new jobs, characters must fill certain requirements, varying from having certain stats, such as agility of 75 or greater, to alignment changes, such as only Lawful/Neutral characters, or even dieing in certain ways. Also, the emblem system comes into play. When characters fulfill certain requirements, they gain emblems, which can make them stronger, or weaker, and sometimes allow access to various jobs. Emblems vary greatly, so discovering them all can be quite an adventure in itself. Furthermore, other side-quests are available. You can unlock maps to play from the main menu which allows you to locate awesome treasure and gold. There’s even the obtaining of secret characters. Much replay value, that’s a promise!
Overall, this game is incredible. It’s deep. It’s beautiful. It’s also time-consuming. This is a game that will take hours of devotion, but will bring hours of enjoyment in return, not too unlike a dog or something… At any rate, it’s definitely worth a pick up
-Originally Posted by Phantom of Krankor