Hello everybody! How was you extended weekend last week? Mine was pretty great. Got to play the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Demo with some of my friends, got my slimy mitts on a villager amiibo, and I finally dived into the all consuming time sink hole that is my games backlog. The game I dove into was Tears to Tiara 2, which is, despite its name, a tactical RPG and not some toddler beauty pageant simulator. What made me choose this game instead of some other games, like the Final Fantasy 10 HD Collection or finishing Legend of the Dragoon was because Siliconera I was in the mood for some war.
When I first booted up the game I noticed that Sting, one of my favorite game companies, took part in the development of this game. After seeing Sting logo, I just got so hyped to play this freaking game. I mean Sting is the company behind the Depth Heaven series, which is a series of games with a unique set of deep and interesting gameplay mechanics. Oh man and the music in each game is just fantastic. The artwork was so cool as well because it mixed a gothic art style with Nordic and Christian mythology… Please understand, Sting made one of my favorite trpgs of all time, Yggdra Union. I just couldn't help but fan boy a little bit.
Gushing aside, once I get into the mist of the game, I found myself siting through one of the longest intros I have ever experienced in a video game. For starters the game starts of in medias res with our main character, Hamilcar, blowing his top and going ape shit on his foes, which was fun because I got to control him in his over powered state. Soon after this, the game went about a day or two back in the story to show how and why Hamilcar flipped his lid and it took roughly four hours to get back to where the game started. The story and writing were both excellently constructed, but I was under the impression that I was gonna be playing a trpg. Well, after booting up the game a second time, I noticed that the Aqua Plus, a visual novel company, was also part of the development of this game… no wonder this game feels so much like a visual novel.
Once I finally get into the gameplay, I notice this game has taken quite a few elements from other trpg games such as Disgaea and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. Specifically, Sting took the demon portal from Disgaea and tweaked it a bit so that it's attached to unit, making the portal moveable. I think this mechanic is pretty interesting because it allows you to pull of very interesting moves like having a unit duck into the portal and then taking a different unit out to better deal with the situation you're in. The mechanic that the borrowed from Tactics Ogre has to be one my favorite mechanics in a trpg game ever, the ability to rewind turns. This mechanic is just so freaking awesome because it allows you to cover any mistakes you make, but also make the best move you can in a turn. I would love to see this mechanic pop up in other trpg games because it would prevent issues where I'm forced to restart a 1 hour battle because one of my units died towards the end of the battle, Fire Emblem! Also, I rather enjoy the flow of combat as well because it's based around smallish battlefields and the fact that each character in the game can die to 1 or 2 hits if they aren't a boss unit. This makes for a rather quick trpg game, which is nice because you won't be stuck on the same battle for roughly an hour, Ogre Battle 64.
Tears to Tiara 2 isn't without flaws. I dislike the fact that you can't easily evaluate the enemy's attack range because you can't make their movement range appear on the map unless you hover over them. This can get even worse with enemies that use magic because then you have to also go into their skill list and look at the range of their spells, which is a pain. Also, the diversity of units is only ok because they mostly feels the same since it's hard to use some of the things that make each unit stand out. Specifically, I dislike how you're basically limited to 1 or 2 abilities per battle for the melee units since they're mana pools are pitiful and how many of the mage's spells can only be used if they haven't moved yet, which sort of conflicts with my play style. It can get boring after a while to just move and attack with units, but overall these problems are mostly over shadowed by the other great mechanics in the game.
As for the characters/units in the game, I'm not going to cover all of the game because it would take too much time, but I'm going to talk about my favorite ones.
Dion: At first, I thought that he was a really shitty unit at first because his attack was rather low for an archer and his song skills could only be used if he didn't move that turn, which kinda sucked. Later in the game, Dion learned a song that raised the movement of every unit around him by two, which change my initial impressions of him greatly. So now, I'm able to take down multiple enemy units before they even get to move at the beginning of every battle. Evaluation of unit: German Blitzkrieg, Heir to the Kremlin.
Enneads: Oh man, I just love this character. I love his voice acting, I like his personality, and I really love his personality. He's just so laid back and patient that it's easy to get to know him. Evaluation of Unit: Best guy, Husbando.
Daphnis: Basically I though he was a better version of Dion since he had much better attack and offensive skills, but I now think he's just ok now. He's a really good mage buster since he has really good range and movement. Also, if thought this character was a girl… to bad he has a stick under that skirt >_>. Evaluation of Unit: Girl Boy Element Holder, Spiderguildy.
Mox: He's the second unit that you can use to utilize the riding system in the game. Yes, this unit it a freaking boar. Overall, he's an ok unit. He has decent attack and defenses, but he doesn't have anything too good about him except for the fact that he can cast magic and he's a pig. Evaluation of Unit: Emergency Rations, I Wonder How Many People Will get this Reference.
Calcus: Easily the dumbest unit in the game not because he's shit, but what he brings to the table is insane. What I mean is that he's a ranged unit, but he can equip armor for melee units because he's a robot and he can cast magic that does a good amount of damage. Also, his leader skill raises his attack and hit rate massively, while also increasing the amount of money you earn at the end of battle. Essentially, Calcus is one of best units in the game. Evaluation of Unit: At First I Thought His Name was Calculon, God.
So after playing through about half the game, I can safely give this game a going into rock's backlog out of ten because I haven't finished the game yet. In all seriousness, I've been enjoying Tears to Tiara 2. The writing is very good because it fleshes out its characters and conflict incredibly well, though the writing can be long winded at times. The gameplay itself is really good, but I expect no less from Sting. I plan to write a more in depth review once I finish the game. I hope you look forward to it.
You can find all my articles on my kinja based blog.