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Triangle Strategy is an intriguing prospect so far | Hands-on preview

by on February 10, 2022
 

Honestly, I can’t help but wonder how and why the name ‘Triangle Strategy’ got approved. As a game built around three nations that’s a strategy game akin to the Fire Emblem titles of the world, I get it, but it’s just silly. I mean, you wouldn’t be as interested if 2018’s ‘God of War‘ was called ‘Angry Shouty Man redemption arc’, would you? Well, maybe. But the studio for Triangle Strategy has previous, with Octopath Traveler, which is the first reason you should be very interested in this badly named Strategy RPG.

So let’s get the obvious out of the way first, it’s clear that Triangle Strategy borrows an aesthetic from Octopath Traveler. Any why not? Both are sublime looking games, with a modern sheen all over a retro style. Both are absolutely gorgeous, and I don’t think I could ever tire of looking at each new environment as I discover it in Triangle Strategy. Whatever feedback that the development team took along the way from its first February 2021 reveal demo, the art hasn’t changed: it’s just beautiful.

Triangle Strategy: From demo to demo

Like many playing that demo a year ago: it was enough. The voice acting, combat, visuals, and general feel of things meant that I was very happy to get to play through the opening chapters over the past week or so. What I would say, however, is you do need to prepare yourself for a lot of talking. The setup for Triangle Strategy is very dialogue heavy indeed, but it is fitting, as it feels as though a grander story is about to unfurl as you complete chapter 3.

Triangle Strategy: From demo to demo

Ultimately, it’s a turn based tactical RPG that feels like an amalgamation of both the more modern Fire Emblem games and the Final Fantasy tactics titles. You get to see your units from an isometric perspective, yet have camera control to move around your soldiers and check you’re not about to be surprised round a corner. There’s a bar at the bottom of the screen that lets you know who’s turn it is next, and I genuinely cannot stress enough how important is it to be tactical. Even early on you can lose units because you’ve not checked out what’s about to happen on the field of battle. Be sure you aren’t about to put your favourite character in harms way, right?

Front and back

Elsewhere you can double-team your enemies by surrounding them. Get protagonist Serenoa of House Wolffort in front of a bandit, with his betrothed, Princess Frederica of House Aesfrost the other side, and you can quickly diminish the health of an opponent by giving them a battering. The three chapters on offer in the free demo suggest there may be something to the type of weapons each unit is vulnerable to, and having Frederica as a fire-based mage lends credence to that. We’ll just have to wait to find out quite how ‘Fire Emblem’ it is, I guess.

Front and back

But there is a lot of talking so far, I can’t deny that. The story seems to revolve around the three countries of the continent of Norzelia. Serenoa of House Wolffort is representing Glenbrook with his childhood friend Prince Roland, son of the King. Frederica is from Aesfrost, while Hyzante controls the Salt mines. Yes, there’s a lot of talk about salt: it’s not just for cooking with, you see. It all feels quite Game of Thrones, in truth, and I am 100% here for that.

Triangles are more than just the name

Towards the end of my time with the opening three chapters, the decision making starts to come into play. Pre-release marketing has shown off the scales of balance in trailers, and it seems like they will be a key plot point. There are parts of the game where you’ll be battling, others where you’re seeing story play out, but also exploration sections. During these moments, you can speak to people in your party and in the area you’re in, and you’ll find out things about the world and it’s people.

Triangles are more than just the name

Right on a key plot point, it turns out this information is truly useful. You see, Serenoa (you), are not a dictator. You want the valuable input of all your players, and they are all individuals who want to make choices based on their own opinions. It’s possible to influence them with knowledge you’ve gained, but otherwise it’ll go to a vote where everyone tosses a coin into the scales of balance, and the decision you play out is based on that result.

All throughout my time with Triangle Strategy, I felt absorbed in the world I was inhabiting. There’s a lot to learn, and it seems like this is going to be a lengthy adventure. But what my time taught me about this one is that there’s more to a game than a name. Yes it’s a bad name, but Triangle Strategy seems very, very good so far. Never judge a book by it’s cover, right?

Triangle Strategy is exclusive to Nintendo Switch, and it’s out on March 4th, 2022. Click here for the full 2022 release calendar

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