Filling out XSeeD’s previously untitled ‘Thirty Days of Ragnarok‘ (my words) comes a new strategy role playing game based loosely upon the lore and aesthetics of Ragnarok Online. Between an arrival by Ragnarok Odyssey last week and new updates to the classic Ragnarok Online servers, Ragnarok Tactics hits the PlayStation Portable in hopes of satisfying fans’ needs for another role playing game.
Let’s check out what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of Ragnarok Tactics.
Ragnarok Tactics feels like a combination of some of the better innovations seen in the SRPG genre in the last twenty years. An additional grid overlay helps to plan out moves like an advanced game of chess as well as a minimap that can help give an aerial alternative to the isometric stage layouts.
Ragnarok Tactics also includes a couple of systems from previous games in the genre but reworked to have a unique feel in the game. Burst Attacks allow multiple characters to all attack a single enemy unit simultaneously (quite handy against the larger boss fights). Another technique is what’s subtly called Overdrive, where a single unit can combine up to four skills to create one flashy combo. If the character has levelled up previous jobs and uses their skills in a particular order, there’s a possibility of unlocking cross-class skills depending on the skills learned. For example, a Paladin that has learned Heal later switches to Lord Knight and gets to the point where they unlock the Aura Blade skill. If they use Aura Blade twice during an Overdrive, they will unlock Healing Blade as part of that cross-class specialization.
Each of the game’s multiple classes (four of which are locked until you beat the game and get different endings) can be useful in their right. Rather than utilizing one or two melee classes, you’ll find yourself employing a number of High Wizards and Kafra to keep enemies subdued while Whitesmiths and Paladins confront the enemy forces head-on. All fourteen classes have their own tactics and skills without being completely interchangeable.
In addition to equipping your small army with the usual assortment of weapons and armor, cards play a large part in each characters’ arsenal. Each card, with designs taken straight from Ragnarok Online, can influence anything from a modest stat increase to affecting elemental and skill effects. Hunting down and slotting in the right cards can make a huge difference in a given combatant’s usefulness.
Ragnarok Tactics‘ true beauty comes to light in the battles themselves. Story characters each have their own hand drawn portrait during dialogues, changing expressions depending on the flow of dialogue. Each character and monster feels like they’re taken straight from the Ragnarok Online aesthetic. Every battle is fought in hand-drawn stages that simply look as the best in the genre. Battles fought in forest stages are filled with lush foliage with water vapor rising into the air as rivers flow through the middle of the zone.