Demos of role-playing games and strategy to hell; it’s complicated to make a vertical section of certain games with so many systems, everywhere when you think you’re learning little by little. If you train a premise fight and don’t go into the background can feel like there’s not much to fight for, while if you get caught up in an in-between fight you can open with explanations that in the game you will receive as long as several hours. Fighting the first demo of Triangle Strategy, released in February 2021, took seconds and left me so cold that after filling the title off my list of expected games. Luckily, the game completely changed my opinion with its final version in just a few hours, explaining its pace and without the limitations of a demo.
For this advance we can only speak of the first three chapters, which as a whole travel in this type of games are the most dense at the level of history. Triangle Strategy asks us for a few hours of breaks and a lot of text to contextualize your universe; nothing for what we have not prepared. Breaking the tradition of intriguing TRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics or Ogre Tactics, look to both (but especially the former) when it comes to building your environment as much as your combat. It’s a familiar but very refined system; the changes received from the feedback on the demo have been very positive and we come across a game that baby from the past is not afraid to introduce a large amount of small quality of life improvements that result in a very enjoyable title to play . But, just as the game takes time to introduce itself, we’re also going to spend time revealing every aspect of it.
The adventure takes place in Norselia, a territory surrounded by a fantastic environment divided into three large zones which control distinct resources. The Kingdom of Glaucoburgo has fertile land for agriculture and commerce, the Archdiocese of Fraguahelada dominates the use of iron, and the Holy See of Dunálgida controls the value of salt. We live in a moment of foreboding in which the three have united to create a combined society in a mine, a promoter to move forward towards peace in a world where the veterans of the last and longest war will still remember their horrors. . Our protagonist is Serinoa, a vassal of House Wolffort in Glaucoburgo, who has been betrothed to a concubine with Frederica, the illegitimate daughter of the former Archdiocese of Fraguahelada with a concubine.
After Octopath Traveler came a bit with a note on the characters, but what is certain is that the plant is quite charismatic and just two chapters to love them like family. The hard core of the Wolffort conforms to Benedict, our right-hand man who always steps forward in the planning with the spy Anna, and the war veteran of Erador, an outrageous bonachon who will protect any of the present of his life. Roland, Serinoa’s best friend, takes advantage of his position as the second son of the King of Glaucoburgo to carry out escapes protected by Hughette, his Real Guard bodyguard, who does not approve of secession with those who assume their responsibilities. Frederica, for her part, has only one Glaucoburgo companion: the possible therefore hechicera Yeela.
Although he leaves a few clichés to illustrate, TS has from the first moment clarified everyone’s motivations, put their priorities in conflict with others and generated interesting conversations in which the whole group does not share a point of view. We are ready to take on a leadership role within the Wolfforts, and with that weight comes responsibility. Triangle Strategy constantly asks us to make decisions, even if there are small conversations or fleeting changes on the tram. The game has a system that warns us of a change to one of the three virtues (morality, freedom or pragmatism)… but it does not tell us what we have the potential to avoid contaminating our future elections .
The first two chapters weigh a bit of overexposure, but knowing what’s to come will come as no surprise. The respective fighters are posted at the beginning of the first and towards the end of the second, accentuating this feeling that we are all the bait of the strike. Shortly before this second fight, the game picks up the pace and the past context already takes place in the conflicts of the present. Between conversation and conversation, we can attend certain events where we explore places to talk to people. Although some of them have an icon to indicate that we can make a decision, it is important to talk to all of them, since we can obtain useful information with the more advanced ones if additional dialogue options are unlocked.
At the end of Chapter 2, we can make a decision with weight in the tram: we must make a diplomatic visit to some of the other two regions. Without restraint, the King now chooses us between the gelida of Fraguahelada (where we await the idol sisters of Frederica) or the deserts of Dunálgida (where we can try to win the favors of the powerful Oracle). In the meantime we collect the balance and we give a coin to each of our seven companions so that they can decide. Everyone has their own opinion, but we can influence them to try to persuade those who oppose the idea we have in mind. Often we only have two options for dialogue, but if we have already spoken to a lot of people in the exploration phases, a third will open up that we are most likely to get along with ours. Either way, we tend to follow what our fellow travelers say and almost always there will be someone who disagrees with us that we treat them well.
The two alternative versions of Chapter 3 allow us to explore the geopolitics of other nations: in Dunalgida we will discover what lies behind the promise of absolute equality between citizens, while in Fraguahelada we will see the consequences freedom above all. Getting to know your characters better will give us tools for future conversations, allow us to better understand your life philosophy, and also allow us to build relationships with some of the most influential people in each household.
The structure and the story are linked in such a way that I was tempted to leave the explanation of the battle for the finale; in the end, it is no less important. It’s a game that’s very similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, from the general planting to the little details like the animation that adds to the character’s experience after every action performed. The base is known, but solidified like a rock.
The reward system actively activates smart attacks: in addition to the obvious advantages (critical attacks guaranteed by sword attacks, “persecution” attacks when we pinch a rival), we receive “valentía points” for well-executed actions, how to throw an arrow from a safe place or a shot from a high position. These points can be chased by Tricks (additional actions such as braking a character out of turn or changing their position), fragments of the game world’s story, or include an Order of Merit with which to upgrade character classes .
Precisely the work system is very different from FFT; bet on being less mean, but that gives more weight to each person’s differences. From what we saw in the menu, we can’t change the job, but each person has unique skills that absolutely no one else can do. Benedict can cast stat buffs, Anna can hide from the enemy and perform two actions in turn, Serinoa himself does more damage in Persecution attacks… The possibilities grow with new recruits, which end up delivering very distinct strikes to which the main characters offer and give a wide variety of possibilities.
For example, if we go to Fraguahelada we will unite an ark with less mobility than Huguette, but which does more damage and can lay traps on the ground, while in Dunálgida we will find an ice magician who can combine her skills with Frederique’s fire. Elemental magic allows us to modify the environment: we can freeze the ground to make it more difficult to move, turn the slope to make a drop of water fall and then electrocute the enemies that prowl first. For him, we have to stand on the ground, because not all places are frozen, but someone else can try to harm whoever passes or ends their turn there.
I haven’t explained all the systems not to open, but the game knows how to develop options without giving the can. For example, instead of asking for a good gear change rate, this difference can provide permanent improvements for each person who spends money and resources. The only interchangeable objects are the rings, which are enough to buy and rarely read like a button. I think the first demo didn’t do a good job of exposing the combat system; when the game can explain its rhythm, it is easier to appreciate your proposal. He knew the complexity of the genre with modesty, being more respectful of our times than usual.
Three episodes of Triangle Strategy are enough to shed light on the potential of his proposal: we have a universe rich in possibilities where the losses seem fragile, a group of personalities united by circumstances but with clear priorities, a combat system that brings the taste of update the classics of the genre and still a lot to count. To know how to develop this base, it will be necessary to wait a month.
Triangle Strategy will be released on March 4 on Nintendo Switch. The new Prologue demo is now available in the eShop.