Thoughts on the debut demo

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yyninja

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I just completed the demo twice and I think there are some really promising ideas going for it. Saying it is a Final Fantasy Tactics clone is doing it a disservice.

There is terrain modification and limits on magic/skill uses. Combat focuses more on teamwork, buffs and debuffs. There doesn't seem to be class changes and each character has a specialized role with interesting passive abilities (IE. There is one character that gets a buff if he stands on a frozen tile.). The "Scales of Conviction" is an interesting idea, which flips the idea of the main character having agency and forces you to convince the majority of your party members to agree with your decision. You can also click on the X button at any time a person is speaking to see their portrait, what house their from and what their role is.

Even for a demo, I found the narrative and story in Triangle Strategy way better than the entirety of Octopath Traveler. And unlike in Octopath Traveler, you can move the camera and it doesn't have the jarring 2D Sprite on a 3D World look. It's not perfect though, moving the camera horizontally works wonders, but moving it vertically breaks some of the immersion.

There are a lot of things I didn't really like. There aren't any morally gray characters, they're either cartoonishly evil or virtuous knights. The one "Scales of Conviction" decision doesn't seem like a balanced choice. It is either to surrender the Prince to the villians or hold your ground and risk losing everything. Also it's not very hard to convince your party members to go with one decision over the other. The easiest way to get them on your side is by talking to every NPC and learning something that will unlock a secret conversation with them.

The game still has a lot of kinks to work out. There are framerate issues especially if there are a lot of things burning. The voice acting is off (like the House Falkins guy who is both monotonous and loud). The narrative is doled out in little chunks separated between 3-7 second loads. The combat is borderline sluggish and with the exception of magic, the main character and the Prince, no one else can really deal damage to foes. On my second playthrough, I played super aggressive, skipped through every cutscene and fast forwarded every action move and it still took me roughly 30 minutes to complete each scenario.

This game is on my radar but I'm hoping SquareEnix changes things after they send the survey out.

I'm curious what do you think about the demo?

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Epidehl

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The damage thing I definitely also noticed, though there's that thing at the beginning that mentions the demo being harder than the full game will be, so that's probably part of it.

That said, does magic actually do that much damage? I'm not super crazy about the TP (I think that's right?) system and the fact that mages need 2TP to... do damage at all? Their no-TP attack does basically nothing, and their 1TP is a buff/debuff. It's similar to the FFTA2 system where you start a match with 0MP which really hinders mages. Usually removing MP is good for mages in RPGs these days (like the modern Tales games), but this doesn't seem like the solution.

If it's always worth saving for it maybe I would've been better off doing it and that would explain why I had such a rough time in that first fight. It just really felt like having someone do nothing on a turn was a huge waste given how hard it was to kill anything/keep people alive.

The voice acting I'll agree too. I'm someone that seems to be way more forgiving with dubs than most people, and I'll use them any time I have the option, but Jesus. The protagonist is straight awful, as a well as a good chunk of the other characters. Maybe it stands out more because there are some good VAs mixed in there, like Erica Mendez as Hughette I think it was.

Performance stuff I really don't care about in a game like this, as long as it's not Final Fantasy Tactics on the PSP.

Overall I could be into it though. It's really hard to judge characters/story based on a demo like this, but if it seems mechanically sound (especially after demo feedback) I'll probably pick it up. I love Final Fantasy Tactics a LOT and every Kickstarter or whatever indie game that claims to be inspired by it has never seemed to really come close to what I like about it, so here's hoping.

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ToughShed

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@yyninja said:

I just completed the demo twice and I think there are some really promising ideas going for it. Saying it is a Final Fantasy Tactics clone is doing it a disservice.

Making a game like FFT alone is not a clone or rip off scenario at this point when almost no one does it and Square has refused for years and years to make a game like this.

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unclematt

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#4  Edited By unclematt

I tried the demo yesterday, the one thing that bugged me most is the fact that you have to press A after every sentence in the cutscenes. I hope in the final game there's an option to change that.

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wollywoo

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I just played this and it seems neat. notes:

- WAY too much talking. I tried to play it last night and had to sleep before I could even get to the first battle, even fast forwarding through the dialogue. I do enjoy this kind of story, but for a demo like this they really just need to jump into combat.

- The combat seems really interesting. Some of the abilities like the spy's sneaking, the ice wall, the chocobo-rider's flying (really? chocobos?), the high dive attack, and the ability to push enemies around with the shield bash (crossing fingers that you can bash them off cliffs) all seem like really interesting and unique mechanics, and of course I've barely scratched the surface - I didn't even make it past the first battle. It looks like they're making great use of the 3D nature of the environments.

- I really wish you could control what order your units move in - although maybe there's more mechanics around that that I'm missing.

- The interface seems really clunky, although I can't put my finger on why exactly. I'm sure I'll get used to it.

- As others have said, combat seems way too slow. It often takes several turns to kill an enemy. This means a single battle takes a very long time to complete, which makes it very annoying when you lose and have to start over from the beginning [do you?] I hope they'll dial the damage up a bit for the release.

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Efesell

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I know FF Tactics is the popular touchpoint but this all sounds like Tactics Ogre rides again to me.

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yyninja

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#7  Edited By yyninja

@epidehl said:

That said, does magic actually do that much damage? I'm not super crazy about the TP (I think that's right?) system and the fact that mages need 2TP to... do damage at all? Their no-TP attack does basically nothing, and their 1TP is a buff/debuff. It's similar to the FFTA2 system where you start a match with 0MP which really hinders mages. Usually removing MP is good for mages in RPGs these days (like the modern Tales games), but this doesn't seem like the solution.

Yeah I had to heavily rely on magic (from both spells and items) especially against the boss in the second battle because they are weak against magic. I think the TP system is an interesting limitation but found it pretty easy to bank TP since the mages can't reach their targets anyway in the opening turns.

@yyninja said:

I just completed the demo twice and I think there are some really promising ideas going for it. Saying it is a Final Fantasy Tactics clone is doing it a disservice.

Making a game like FFT alone is not a clone or rip off scenario at this point when almost no one does it and Square has refused for years and years to make a game like this.

I mean there are several attempts at SRPGs by other devs. The most recent game made by an indie devs is called Fae Tactics that I remember Ben mentioning in the bombcasts. I haven't tried it myself though.

@wollywoo said:

- The combat seems really interesting. Some of the abilities like the spy's sneaking, the ice wall, the chocobo-rider's flying (really? chocobos?), the high dive attack, and the ability to push enemies around with the shield bash (crossing fingers that you can bash them off cliffs) all seem like really interesting and unique mechanics, and of course I've barely scratched the surface - I didn't even make it past the first battle. It looks like they're making great use of the 3D nature of the environments.

- I really wish you could control what order your units move in - although maybe there's more mechanics around that that I'm missing.

Tried pushing enemies over the cliff with shield bash, unfortunately doesn't work. The enemy just gets stuck on the edge. Really neat concept that I wish makes it in the final game though. Also would be cool to have the Ice Wall give a temporarily raise in height like Mei's Ice Wall in Overwatch.

Kinda? There is a hidden tactic that you can purchase at the Battlegrounds and use once to choose which character's turn is next. Also the advisor guy with the glasses (forgot his name) has an ability that costs 3 TP that can also give a character turn priority.

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wollywoo

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@yyninja said:

Tried pushing enemies over the cliff with shield bash, unfortunately doesn't work. The enemy just gets stuck on the edge. Really neat concept that I wish makes it in the final game though. Also would be cool to have the Ice Wall give a temporarily raise in height like Mei's Ice Wall in Overwatch.

Ah bummer! If there's any place to leave feedback we should all mention this. Of course I get that it could be kinda game breaking/hard to balance... but to me it's worth any amount of development effort to be able to push dudes off cliffs Jeff Gerstmann-style.

I wonder if the devs had some influence from "Into the Breach". Putting mechanics involving moving your enemies around to smack them into walls and what not into an RPG sounds amazing.

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Epidehl

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@yyninja: Huh, I was probably gonna give the demo another go so I'll keep that in mind. Given that I only played one battle, I could probably get used to the TP stuff. Just gotta break my aversion to "wasting" turns.

Jan had Fae Tactics on his GotY list which sounded cool, but unfortunately (for me) it's PC only and it sounds like their switch version got cancelled.

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ToughShed

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#10  Edited By ToughShed

@yyninja said:
@toughshed said:
@yyninja said:

I just completed the demo twice and I think there are some really promising ideas going for it. Saying it is a Final Fantasy Tactics clone is doing it a disservice.

Making a game like FFT alone is not a clone or rip off scenario at this point when almost no one does it and Square has refused for years and years to make a game like this.

I mean there are several attempts at SRPGs by other devs. The most recent game made by an indie devs is called Fae Tactics that I remember Ben mentioning in the bombcasts. I haven't tried it myself though.

There have been a run of games with the look of FFT, but they all have been quite shallow experiences (Children of the Zodiarcs, Fellseal, Hellenica Tactics). I was burned by a few of them. But I'll take another look at Fae, I did not try that one yet.

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The_Nubster

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#11  Edited By The_Nubster

The game is still like a year and a half to two years out. Everything they're showing now seems, to me, literally fake, so I dunno. Aside from broad concepts like how battle stuff works generally, I find it hard to get particularly invested in anything beyond the idea. And on that front, I'd love a tactics game where narrative choices significantly influence the short- and long-term outcomes of the combat and story. but also, who knows what that even means.

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Rejizzle

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@yyninja said:

I just completed the demo twice and I think there are some really promising ideas going for it. Saying it is a Final Fantasy Tactics clone is doing it a disservice.

Exactly, it's clearly a Jeanne D'arc clone.

In all seriousness though, I'm a sucker for turn based strategy games and this seems like a good one. A lot of my enjoyment will depend on how much the story branches out. I'm hoping for a Tactics Ogre level of branching, but who knows at this point.

Combat is a bit on the easy side from what I played. I don't even know the penalty for a character dying, because none ever did.

Also, really appreciate being able to see a brief summary of a character by pushing X. I have trouble keeping track of everyone in story games, so that's a great system for me.

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ToughShed

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#13  Edited By ToughShed

Completed the demo. I really like what they are doing story wise with the voting and consulting mechanics and I think the combat mechanics are very interesting so far. It is certainly not just like FFT at all.

@the_nubster said:

The game is still like a year and a half to two years out. Everything they're showing now seems, to me, literally fake, so I dunno. Aside from broad concepts like how battle stuff works generally, I find it hard to get particularly invested in anything beyond the idea. And on that front, I'd love a tactics game where narrative choices significantly influence the short- and long-term outcomes of the combat and story. but also, who knows what that even means.

I am confused by this comment as it lets you try out multiple gameplay types and seems to have a full fledged battle system. Also, the choice thing you're describing is in many ways Tactics Ogre Let Us Cling Together, which this seems like its going to be inspired by.

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The_Nubster

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@toughshed: I think it is a vertical slice. I don't think that the game they're selling doesn't exist at all, but I do think that the core product is absolutely unplayable in a technical sense and that they're using this highly-polished demo to gauge reaction and correct course accordingly. I don't think the story is set in stone, nor do I think that the dialogue or voice acting or characters or balance or battles or anything else is either. Prey 2 seemed pretty complete as well. Cyberpunk seemed very ready to go at numerous trade shows. The glimpse we're getting at this stage in development is not representative of the product aside from a very high-level overview. It's a playable target render.

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ToughShed

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#15  Edited By ToughShed

@the_nubster:I definitely agree it was a vertical slice. That's why I think it'll end up playing and being pretty similar to it.

Games where that didn't happen are more the outlier than the rule. These types of slices are often getting made just for behind the scenes or E3 demos so we don't even see them. If they're putting it out like this I think they feel good about the proof of concept.

I mean it is possible it changes but I think they are proving concepts that work here and nothing seems like they couldn't pull off. You run into problems when you do a Bioshock Infinite type vertical slice where they are showing blimps and giant levels you fly around in that they could never pull off.

It is a ways off now, but that's the time it takes to develop content alone. Right now they probably have almost no content outside of the slice.