Triangle Strategy: We fought to ensure the future of House Wolffort and to uphold our justice, it's time to see if it was worth it.
Square Enix and role-playing games, it's a love story that lasts, with on the one hand productions that want to be graphically at the forefront and on the other titles that marry a more retro aesthetic, mixing nostalgia and knowledge. -make it modern. It is this second box that Triangle Strategy comes to tick, the new game from producer Tomoya Asano to whom we owe the Bravely Default, but also the Octopath Traveler with which it shares this same HD-2D aesthetic that the publisher seems particularly fond of, since he also uses it on remakes under development (Dragon Quest III, Live A Live). After tackling turn-based role-playing games, it's now time for Tactical RPGs to move on, a genre affecting a much smaller audience and which counts among its past glories games of the caliber of Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. It is also Artdink, which had released the PlayStation port of the latter in Japan, that we find in development. We have therefore taken on the role of warlord in recent weeks to give you our opinion on this work, which resonates strongly with current events because of its themes.
Triangle Strategy is very talkative.
The world of Triangle Strategy is simple in appearance, propelling us to the continent of Norzélia where three kingdoms are established depicting just as many types of governance. To the north, we find the Duchy of Aesfrost, a meritocracy claiming to offer freedom to its people and having iron mines under its frozen ground, with a certain Slavic inspiration. To the east lie the mostly arid Sacred Lands of Hyzante, an ecclesiastical state that advocates peace and equality for those who follow the teachings of the Goddess of Salt. Ruled by an Oracle and the Seven Saints, this oriental-inspired territory is home to the only salt lake on the continent, thereby granting it a monopoly on this rare and essential commodity. Finally, the Kingdom of Glenbrook is a very classic monarchy, with three vassal families (the Wolfforts, Teliores and Falkes) protecting the king's lands bordering the Norzelia River, over which many goods pass.
After the dark period that was the Great Salt and Iron War, it is therefore in a framework of relative peace that our adventure begins. We embody the young Serenor Wolffort, future heir to the estate who is about to marry the gracious Frédérica Aesfrost, a Norwegian (people with pink hair) who happens to be the half-sister of the current Intendant Gustadolv. This political union, together with the project of operating a common mine, aims to maintain good relations between the three nations. Except that you can imagine that behind this idealistic tableau lies shenanigans, because without conflict no strategic battle on the horizon… Thus, after rescuing and welcoming his bride, then taking part in celebrations during the first chapters – the content of the demo, which we covered during our preview – things will go downhill and the inferno of war will reignite.
We won't say much more about the plot so as not to spoil you, but know that it is gripping, is entitled to a few flashes at times and can be followed with great pleasure and interest throughout, at least if like us you appreciate the verbose stories taking the time to ask each ins and outs. Because, yes, Triangle Strategy is very talkative with multiple and long explanatory scenes, a flood of texts to read in which the battles drown. The story is thus divided into chapters, some with several acts, the events of which are accessible via the world map. The red nodes, obligatory, make us follow with rare exceptions the discussions of Serenor and his group, while the green ones allow in an optional way to attend scenes taking place in parallel, thus making us slightly omnipotent, without however us uncover all machinations in advance.
In addition to these “cutscenes”, it happens that we can freely take control of our character to explore a place (village, future battlefield, etc.) in order to discuss with our allies or the locals. These investigations are an opportunity to recover wealth (currency, objects, equipment), documents explaining certain points of the lore, to glean useful information and to make some dialogue choices. Indeed, our young lord must assume his Convictions (ethics, pragmatism and freedom) which are reflected in as many possible answers, even less, some even sometimes being blocked if we lack a key to understanding. The thing is that this system is highly opaque, at no time do we have access to what is hidden behind it. Moreover, it seems that the simple fact of chatting with a maximum of NPCs or taking part in many battles influences these parameters since the mention indicating that Serenor's Convictions have strengthened appears at these times.
The weight of our decisions is felt, with difficult dilemmas.
In general, these research phases accompany a vote with the Balance of Convictions, a totally democratic process during which our 7 main companions choose an option among those proposed, with all the same a color code linked to the three types, influencing the continuation of the adventure. Yes, the separation into acts therefore offers narrative branches according to these decisions, with more or less major consequences over time. Well, the differences are generally temporary in terms of general frame before bringing us back on the same path, but it is in the details that everything is then played. As a result, we have the possibility of convincing each voter upstream by presenting our arguments (some will call it manipulation), always via dialogue choices, the information collected obviously helping to plead our case. The strategy therefore extends beyond the conflict zones and the weight of our decisions is felt, with difficult dilemmas at the time. Between the overall tone of the game and this narrative breakdown, Triangle Strategy thus reminded us a little of the excellent Radiant Historia, minus the time travel, which is quite a compliment! The result is therefore a number of different endings, offering good replayability to those who wish to discover the content in its entirety.
Don't worry, a New Game+ mode is integrated, with a few additions along the way, you won't have to redo everything from scratch. Count about forty hours to see the end of it for the first time and therefore much more to discover everything. This game time does not only include the main quest. Indeed, we have access to a Camp through which skits are played with the characters of our team. The more we use them in combat, the more we are able to learn more about their past and their personality, very crisp details that can slip in. In the same way, new recruits can join our ranks by this process, without the conditions being very clear as to their release except that the level of Conviction influences. Their arrival, however, does not particularly coincide with the frame, creating a certain shift that somewhat ruins the immersion. To illustrate this, the camp innkeeper became a playable unit and spoke to us about war while we were living precisely the triggering events of the conflict… It is certainly a detail, and they serve more as a bonus than anything else. thing at the beginning, but it's still a shame that this aspect was not better included. On the other hand, what a treat to admire their illustrations, which are truly to die for!
Of course, you need good gameplay to accompany this narrative and Triangle Strategy doesn't have to worry about that. We therefore take part in battles on squared terrain, which are as rare as they can be intense, at the rate of one per chapter. Yes, the ratio with the huge amount of text could discourage some, it's a bias. Since it is a T-RPG, our units therefore have a level. So how do you deal with a far too powerful enemy in this case? Already, rest assured, there is no permanent death, only reaching the objective counts. Then, during a defeat, the XP is kept, so we become stronger before trying again, a good way to reward the investment in terms of playing time, some clashes being particularly long. The other method to progress is to farm the combat simulations at the camp tavern, the latter being unlocked over the course of the adventure, offering very useful rewards. This is also the best way to improve characters that are lagging behind, not all of them can be used every time.
The richness of the gameplay is therefore to be welcomed.
The evolution of the group is not limited to a level and also goes through a skill tree for the weapon of each unit, on three ranks, requiring the investment of materials and money. Improved damage, health and other statistics are on the program here, it's simple and effective, the interface being particularly successful. It is also possible to advance in rank by ten levels. For example, Serenor can upgrade from Swordsman (Veteran) to Elite Swordsman (Fleuron) after level 20, provided she has the corresponding medal, very rare rewards. In addition to the change of sprite in combat (but not during cutscenes), this notably allows you to acquire additional skills. The ergonomics of this menu is again very practical, since a simple pressure of the ZR or ZL triggers displays a classification of units according to the desired stat. Depending on our exploits on the battlefield, we earn Achievement Points to be exchanged at the Trading Post for lore elements and Assets. These are limited to one use per combat and according to a number of points, nothing more normal for techniques that can be used at any time, capable for example of teleporting a unit or healing it.
On the ground, the actions are therefore carried out on a turn-by-turn basis, with visibility on those to come to anticipate our placement and the targets to be defeated in priority. Compared to other titles of the genre, Triangle Strategy uses the difference in height between the squares when calculating the damage and makes us think about the positioning of our troops at the end of the turn. Indeed, an attack in the back is much more dangerous. And if our target finds himself sandwiched between two of our characters, one positioned in front attacking and the other behind, the latter will follow up with a bonus move. A very interesting tactic to exploit, but which hurts a lot when the opposing camp abuses it! What's more, the elements, capable of burning barriers or vegetation, creating an ice barrier or even blowing units to the point of making them turn around. Ranged attacks with bows or magic, poisoning, boosting stats and much more, the possibilities are many and depend on who we line up and have in front of us. The richness of the gameplay is therefore to be welcomed, simple to learn, but with enough depth to have fun. Everything is also well explained, so even a neophyte should be able to manage. The diversity of cards is also to be noted, with different objectives and situations that do not hesitate to put us in difficulty.
Two slight drawbacks are however to be noted, starting with the camera which is a little capricious or not necessarily intuitive in its orientation. The other concern is about immersion, again with a possible dissonance between what happens during the battle and then during the narrative phase that follows. The example that struck us the most was the activation of a certain trap that burned alive all the troops within its perimeter. Well the opposing leader got caught in it, we expected him to perish for good except the storyline had other plans for him and so he was fit in the next cutscene… When next to that the game boasted to us of the horror of this ruse, it goes badly.
Now let's talk a bit about graphics, soundtrack and voice acting. HD-2D works wonders again in Triangle Strategy, with sprites featuring small, highly detailed animations, details like fluttering pennants, the breeze blowing through the trees, crackling flames and more. On the screen of the Switch OLED, it's a pleasure at all times. We also recommend the Portable mode, much more pleasant to read the huge amount of text. However, it's just as clean in TV mode, so it's up to you to see what suits you best.
Difficult to pick up once immersed in its intrigue.
Before starting a game, it is possible to choose between English and Japanese voices (with French subtitles), the latter having obviously found favor with our ears, with seiyū perfectly involved in their role. For its part, the OST composed by Akira Senju is a delight, its orchestral music mixing violins, piano, flutes or even mandolins being perfectly in tune with the action and the sets.
Ah, and before concluding, know that an automatic save system is present, in addition to the ten manual slots (practical for the choices) and that it is possible to interrupt a fight if you ever run out of time. Finally, we noted rare spelling mistakes and/or translation oversights at the very beginning of the game. Since a patch has since been deployed, these concerns may be ancient history, but we might as well clarify it if ever This is not the case.