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Ogre Battle 64 – Nintendo 64

Ogre Battle 64 – Nintendo 64

OgreBattle64PlatformNintendo 64

Developer: Quest, Dual Corporation

Publisher: Atlus

Release Date: October 7th, 2000

Genre: Real-Time Strategy, RPG

Nerd Rating: 8.0 / 10

Welcome to Palatinus, currently the puppet kingdom of the Holy Lodis Empire. This multi-region nation is torn apart from war, just like every other fantasy or medieval RPG. The player takes control of recent military graduate Magnus Gallant who rightfully serves the Southern Region until the flames of battle spark a civil war. Magnus chooses (no you aren’t able to choose this time) to aid the revolution and meets plenty of comrades along the way. Magnus’s enemies invade from all around the world and even from the ever-threatening Netherrealm. Where Magnus and his battalion (known as the Blue Knights, but often renamed since it’s generic and disappointing) end up is completely up to you.

What is this power? Oh it's probably nothing.

What is this power? Oh it’s probably nothing.

Ogre Battle 64, like the rest of the games in the saga, support multiple branching endings. While the other entries only tweak the ending just in the finer details, Ogre Battle 64 provides you with six highly different endings. This adds to the amount of replay-ability the game has to offer, as it is highly addicting to try and nab all six. Will you be the “Paladin King” of Palatinus or the monster cast out of the revolution? Your choices will lay the path you will later walk upon.

For those of you that have been keeping up with the Ogre Battle series so far, Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber is the third entry in terms of release. When it comes in the story-telling lore however, it is second in the timeline. This is due to the fact that, while released third, it is supposed to be a sequel to Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. This is evident as both games share the same general game play style, much like Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together and Tactics Ogre: The Knights of Lodis.

If you are just diving into the Ogre Battle series or moving from the highly popular Tactics Ogre titles, you may have a difficult time grasping Ogre Battle 64‘s gameplay. Unlike Tactics Ogre, where you control up to twelve individual units, you control up to ten squads of characters. Instead of fighting on an isometric grid in a single location, you fight across an entire region that encompasses multiple cities and other dwellings. The goal for many missions is often to destroy the enemy leader or take over an individual city/castle, but the objectives do change While it may take some adjustment, you should be able to pick it up at the latest by mission 4. The tutorial does a fantastic job of teaching newcomers the ropes.

Everyone...take formation!

Everyone…take formation!

Now depending on how you set up your squads is key to victory, or a gateway to your early grave. Each squad can encompass a total of five characters maximum, and it is up to you to organize them. You have nine spaces to choose from (three rows of three) and each character will be used/effected differently depending on where they are placed. For example, the level 3 archer class known as a Diana will only be allowed to fire once per altercation if placed in the front row, but if placed in the back she will be able to fire three times. Another case is if you decide to use one of the many monster classes at your disposal, it will often limit your squad to a mere three or four members. This is the result of the monster being a class L character, which includes not only one space but every space adjacent to the unit. Various factors affect each squad such as type of region, sleep deprivation, time, ailments, and elemental affinities, so you need to keep an eye on which squads you deploy on which mission.

gfs_15861_2_69

This many of Undead is rather rare…

When it comes to the actual encounter between squads, it is very rare to be able to wipe out the entire unit, especially the leader, on a single try. Each clash only allows each squad to take their turns twice before deciding the victor of the confrontation. While there are strategies you can use to direct the focus of your squad’s attack (i.e. the leader, strongest/weakest foe) you will often just stick with anonymous or the leader. Also, be aware of your Elm Pedras. If you were able to set up your squad properly and have a long enough confrontation, you will be able to use a massive area effect spell known as an Elm Pedra, based off of one of the elements. It deals massive damage and helps during any confrontation. Once the battle is over, the losing team will be forcibly moved away from the victor, allowing time to re-cooperate before the next battle.

Ogre Battle 64 contains many staples of the co-existing franchise, but its biggest change is with the chaos frame. Like I mentioned in my Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together review, the chaos frame is key to gaining certain characters and determining which path of the story you complete. This time around your chaos frame is manipulated by the capture or liberation of towns as well as in game story choices. Taking the morale of each city and adding it into the equation will allow skilled players to ballpark their chaos frame ranking, eventually resulting in the player’s action on whether or not to liberate the city. Liberating increases your chaos frame, while vice versa for a capture. Your actual chaos frame number, which is based on a 0-100 scale, is actually hidden from your reach. You can only briefly guess your chaos frame based on individual dialogue interactions or your morale. Depending if you are chaotic, lawful, or neutral will change which characters you are able to unlock.

There we have it, another score from Hitoshi Sakimoto. Unfortunately, besides the main “Overture” opening Ogre Battle 64, most of the score are orchestral pieces that flow together but all sound the same. Sakimoto sure knows how to ramp up the tension and emphasis during emotional moments, which is a definite must as most of the dialogue is flat and text-based. Luckily, unlike in Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Sakimoto is able to stretch his creative wings and offer more light-hearted tracks instead of ones constantly foreboding war.  The score is a key element for these kind of tactical RPGs and yet there is nothing overly outstanding about this one. Not that it is bad, just right in the middle of the road.

When it comes to Easter eggs and nods to other games, Ogre Battle 64 contains a few little gems hidden for players to find. Unlike most video game Easter eggs, most of them found in Ogre Battle 64 are references to classic folklore. For example, you can unlock both the hidden Vampire and Dragoon classes through a series of item collections and side quests that both are based off of folklore tales of “Dracula” and the “Legend of the Dragoon”. Unfortunately Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber drops one of the most popular Easter eggs of the series, as Person of Lordly Caliber is an original title and doesn’t share its name with the English rock band Queen’s works. This is the only entry in this series that does not follow this trend.

A new chaotic adventure begins...?

A new chaotic adventure begins…?

There you have it, another notch in the Ogre Battle saga. While Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together will always be might favorite of the franchise, Ogre Battle 64 is a serious contender. The game play style of using squads instead of individual units is a nice alternative to the traditional tactical RPG format. Also, would you like a story that actually keeps you interested? While the premise is tired and worn out, the story changes turn after turn to provide you with an enjoyable experience. Stay tuned next time for either Tactics Ogre: The Knights of Lodis or the game that started it all Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.

Looking for more reviews of your favorite RPGs? Nerd Bacon has you covered! Check out these reviews for some of your favorite RPGs. Here are some of my recommendations:

Written by Rhutsczar


Hello everybody! Thanks for reaching the end of whatever my newest/current addiction is above me. I’m pretty sure it’s an RPG, since it’s my favorite genre I try to find the most underrated and niche games possible. Anyway if you like what you read and would like to check out more, follow the links below. Also be sure to check out the RBG over on Beyond Bacon!.

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