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Ogre Battle - Review

Everyone Wants to Rule the World...

By: Red Raven


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 6
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 7
   Plot 5
   Localization 6
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

50-150 hours

 
Overall
number
Criteria

Title Screen
 

    Ogre Battle Saga, Episode 5: March of the Black Queen first made its debut on the SNES in 1993. The publisher Atlus, originally only released a small number of copies.Those copies quickly sold out and are today impossible to find. Luckily for strategy fans everywhere, Atlus rereleased Ogre Battle for the Playstation in 1997. And there was much rejoicing throughout the land.

    Battle within this game is purely strategic. After picking a region to liberate, you are taken to a 2D map of that area. The boss location is shown and the battle begins. What you do from this point is up to you. You usually will want to deploy your squads and move them around the map. They can be used to liberate cities and temples, attack the boss castle, defend your own castle, or simply to kill the enemy squads. Battles are quick and fierce. When two opposing squads meet, the view chnages to a isometric view and they exchange blows. The computer controls both sides, you just watch and maybe issue a general command such as "Kill the leader". You could use a Tarot card during battle for a magic effect that will help you win. Battles last one "turn" and victors are the ones who inflicted the most damage. Defeated squads move back a bit on the main map, unless their leader is dead, at which case the squad limps back to base. Often you will want to attack the same squad several times in order to kill all its members.

    Once the boss (or you!) has been defeated, you are taken back to the map of Zenobia. Here you can check up on your troops, upgrading their class, equiping various items, and changing their positions. Sometimes you may pick your next location to do battle. The menus and interface are clear and concise, no frills. This game is all about the battles anyway.


If only everyone knew the healing properties of jell-o
If only everyone knew the healing properties of jell-o  

    Sounds are plentiful across the land. Most of the tunes are epic in nature and only add to the sense of excitement in the stratgeic battles. This area of the game is well established and there are often a different song for each region you're liberating. In battle songs are just as good. The sound effects are sometimes not the most exciting things, but they are accurate and appreatiated.

    Ogre Battle presents many different innovations in the stradegy game field. First off are the real-time movements of friend and foe. Second there is a day-night cycle that takes place as your units move. Certain enemies such as werewolves and vampires are much deadiler at night than day; just as paladins and priests as much more effective during the day. You also get paid at noon each day, so often you may just want to wait before defeating that boss. One idea we all could have done without is the reputation meter. This bar has a large influence during the entire game and is a pain to manage.

    Not much going on in the plot department. You are hero, save us from evil Empire. Though it could be argued that there is tons of plot, if you consider all the things you have the choice of doing. Besides that, not much dialoge or character development.


Feel my wrath.
Feel my wrath.  

    Localization of the game is good, although there really isn't much text within the game to localize. I remember very few if any spelling or grammer mistakes within what text there was.

    Replay value is a mixed bag. To put it simply, this game is huge and incredibly long. And while the gameplay is fun to me, I've never seen more than one ending, after 80 hours of playing. There are a total of 13 totally different endings within the game. So it all comes down to if you stomach playing the same game for well over 400 hours to see all the endings. But if you're like me, just finishing it is an achievment in of itself.

    Sprites are the name of this game, which really are only shown in the battles. They are all different and the colors are pleasing to the eye. Nothing really to complain about but also nothing to really write home about.

   The difficulty of this game stems entirely from whether or not you want a good ending or not. Characters raise levels quickly, and it is not hard at all to create a squad of super-human warriors that could quickly defeat everyone in their path. But by doing so, your reputation meter hits rock bottom, and by the time you beat the game, you earn the worst ending. A good ending requires you to be weak throughout the game which raises the difficulty considerably.


Ambition?
Ambition?  

    As stated before, this game is huge. And how fast you prceede depends entirely on the way you want to play the game. If you want that super-human death squad and the worst ending, you'll look at a quick game. If you want the best ending however, I'd start in the summer or sometime when you'd have a few free months of playing.

    Overall, the game caters completely to the player, which is the games biggest asset. Instead of forcing you to play one way to beat the game, the game gives you nearly endless paths. So if you're not in the mood to particpate in an interactive movie, and would rather strike out on your own path to success, Ogre Battle surely won't dissapoint.





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