Last week’s Nintendo direct debuted quite a few new games, but the one that drew my attention the most was Bravely Default 2.If I had to pick a second one however, it would have been Project Triangle Strategy. Another game produced by Square Enix, it is in the same art style (and indeed the same team) that did Octopath Traveler. I cant afford to get Bravely Default 2 yet, but when I heard that PTS had a demo out immediately I knew I had to give it a shot.
The demo is comprised of chapters from the middle of the game, so lets go ahead a dive right in.
During the opening scrawl, the narrator introduces us to three kingdoms, and out lines the conflicts that arise between the three. Basically everything was fine until the fire nation attacked. You play the young lord, Serenoa, of House Wolffort.
After a front load info dump you get your first exploration phase. That allows you to talk to your party members, resupply at the encampment to resupply, explore the terrain, and find hidden items. In talking with the members present, some of the options you choose seem to award you some value. At one point Hughette expressed some fear for the Prince we were protecting. I chose the option of “He must survive, even if we do not” and I was awarded some conviction points. These points come in three flavors, Utility, Morality, and Liberty. Depending on what values you have in each of your convictions, it can effect various things in the game, such as what characters will join you later.
After exploration the overworld map was shown. This map lets you see events that are happening in the area and also serves as your mission select screen. It is portrayed as looking like a board game. With the various units looking like worn wooden game pieces. Its a nice touch.
Combat functions a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics. Character turn order is taken in order of individual speed. Weather and wind are attributes tracked on the screen so I can assume that they will eventually become important. Your starting force is a group of 8 units, of all differing classes, and 1 guest character. None of the characters present share a class, so there is a nice amount of variety in what is present. One is mounted on a horse, another on an eagle. They all seem to have unique abilities and effects. Moving a unit shows what squares are being threatened by enemy units. Attacking from an enemies rear gives you a bonus, and flanking a unit you are attacking allows for follow up attacks. Other interesting abilities are a character with the ability to go stealth, a shield bearer that can taunt enemies and force them to attack him, a mage that can create ice walls to limit access to your casters. There does not appear to be any MP for your abilities, but instead every turn you generate action points. Some actions requre points and others don’t. Not taking an action, or using an action that doesn’t require points will allow you to build up your points to use on later turns. During my first battle I ended up losing a character just to see what would happen. In the after battle cutscene she was present, so permadeath might not be a thing, we will see.
After the first fight I was bought back to the main screen, looking around the map I saw an event far to the right, and when I clicked it I was allowed to recruit a new character. Her name is Medina, and she is a healer that focuses on using items. Another healer is always welcome
After some more plot and a little bit of Game of Thrones thrown in, we are brought to another game play segment, this one being the Scales of Conviction. An important choice must be made, and the course of the story will be determined by the choice that is made. Instead of making it just the players decision the members of your party vote on the choice. You get a say, but ultimately you are bound by the results of the vote. To help off set this, you are allowed to try to persuade your party members one way or the other. And in order to do that you must gather information. It almost has a Pheonix Write feel to it. I am rather enjoying it.
Without giving away too many spoilers, I need to decide what is to be done with the prince. 4 of my members want to surrender him to the enemy and save ourselves, 2 want to fight to protect the prince, and 1 is undecided. During my explorations I was able to uncover 3 more pieces of information. As I wanted to protect the prince at all costs, I attempted to persuade the 5 to my line of thinking. Several dialog boxes popped up and I was allowed to make choices. Some of them had locked options that would unlock based on what I had found during my exploration. Some remained locked anyway, making me think there was something else I could have found but didn’t. After attempted to persuade the 5 members that were against fighting, all 5 were undecided. We then went to the voting. I cast my vote for protecting the prince, and all 7 of my party agreed with me. I wonder if there is a random component to this, but over all it is a pretty cool mechanic and even had me a little anxious as they were voting. I very much approve.
After the voting there was a little more plot, some more optional events across the map, and what looks like another battle.
- Combat was really fun, and about what I would expect from a SRPG. It had a pleasant mix of genre tropes and new things to make it a unique experience. The callback to Octopath Travelers Action point system was particularly welcome and the variety of characters and abilities was refreshing. The exploration/voting segments are what really set this game apart for me. I look forward to seeing what else this game does.
- Its a demo. The story isn’t exactly the focus of the experience at this point. What we are given is engaging enough to keep me playing, and deep enough that it makes me hungry for more. I couldn’t ask for more.
- I feel that the music is a little bland. Nothing really caught my attention, or stood out in my mind.
- Graphics are always the last consideration for me, because they matter the least to me. The sprite work for this game is beautiful. Every bit as nice looking as Octopath Traveler. This game handles the 2d but 3d the same way Octopath did and I have no issues with that. Suffice to say that the game looks nice enough, for me at least. No complaints here.
- The demo is a huge success for me. I can not wait to see what else this demo has to offer, and will be eagerly following this games progress. Expect to hear more about this from me!
Will I buy this game when it comes out? Absolutely.