Triangle Strategy PC Review
Triangle Strategy puts the strategy into a strategic RPG. Its setting is beautifully realized, its world-building is excellent, and its characters are messy and complex in the best way. The game avoids putting all its eggs in one basket by also featuring some complicated and often tense combat. Both of these sides of the title are woven together by the urgency of its plot and the uncertainty of what your decisions will cost. Unfortunately, that doesn’t hinder the visuals between gameplay and story.
The continent of Norzelia is divided between three nations, each of which dominates a vital resource. Glenbrook controls the river trade routes. Frost controls the iron of the continent. And Hyzante controls the salt supply. Thirty years ago, the nations clashed in a bloody war over these limited resources. Now, as Serenoa Wolffort of Glenbrook prepares for her arranged marriage, the conflict is about to begin again.
Serenoa is accompanied by three close advisers. The cold and pragmatic steward of his family, Benedict. His carefree and idealistic prince and childhood friend, Roland. And his withdrawn and intellectual fiancee, Frederica. Each contributes different techniques in battle and different options during the story. However, as things go from bad to worse in Norzelia, it becomes clear that they have very different priorities. You can only balance Utility, Morality and Freedom for so long. Finally, something has to give… right?
Choose Your Destiny
Triangle Strategy is what we would call a story-driven game. That means it has incredibly well-built characters that like to talk a lot, on and off the battlefield. As mentioned in our previous Triangle Strategy review, there is as much emphasis on conversation as on combat. And the choices you make during those conversations will come back to haunt you.
It is not always easy to tell where a choice will lead. What appears to be a non-committal response may end up adding unexpected layers to Serenoa. A decision that seems difficult but necessary may end up causing the disaster you were trying to avoid. Norzelia and its people are full of life, and that life is not always predictable. One person’s cherished ideals can be the death of someone else’s hopes and dreams. It is easy to see how the continent ended up in war again and again.
Triangle Strategy looks and sounds gorgeous. The game has abundant sprites, 3D backgrounds and modern visual effects. It harkens back to the era of detailed pixel art and retro sprites while incorporating modern advancements. It’s pretty amazing. The voice acting is pretty solid, although I found the supporting cast more engaging to listen to than the main cast. I would have liked a little more emotion from the voice cast. They often sounded like they were repressing their feelings. This could make it difficult to tell what they were supposed to be feeling at any given moment.
Triangle Strategy is a Game of Thrones like JRPG
This game reminds me of Digimon Survive in many ways. Namely, they’re both strategy RPGs with a heavy focus on plot and storytelling, even if that means long cutscenes. They also both feature a selection system that quietly changes the game depending on which of three unseen stats you prefer. And they’re both pretty dark, though in different ways. The main difference aside from the aesthetics is that Triangle Strategy put a lot of effort into their battle system. If you crave good, complex and often tense strategy RPGs, this one is for you.
That said, the game’s pacing is… sluggish. Some side missions are completely cutscene. Some main story missions are completely cutscene. There’s a metric tone of construction to everything, and I don’t think it’s always necessary. I often found myself trying to guess whether a given mission would be interactive or not. If you have a low tolerance for a slow-building political plot and the complex relationships of a massive cast of characters, this is not the game for you. Strategy RPGs often have large casts and complicated plots, but Triangle Strategy takes that to a new level. There is so much story content in this game that you will have to play it at least four times to see it all.
It feels a bit like someone tried to cram all the sociological complexity and politics of Game of Thrones into a JRPG. The result is fascinating even when it doesn’t quite work. I definitely felt the lack of battles, though. Research stages didn’t make up for it.
Solid Mechanics and Questionable Gait
This is a strategy RPG, and when the combat comes into the picture, it’s awesome. Positioning and turn order are key, but there are a few other things to consider. Attacks from higher ground do extra damage and back attacks are guaranteed crits. Some characters have abilities that can affect turn order. You will love and respect these characters. They are miracle workers. Also, the decision to make item drops appear on the battlefield for anyone to grab is inspired. I’m not sure if I love it or hate it, but it definitely adds an extra layer of complication.
You advance the story, enter battles and use the Scales of Conviction by selecting event markers on the world map. Some events are part of the main story, others are optional and will disappear as that story progresses. The game is divided into battles, cutscenes and exploration phases. Each one adds new opportunities to learn about the characters and the world. No one is ever silent during any of these segments either.
The game and Norzelia itself have three guiding principles: Unity, Morality and Freedom. Serenoa’s decisions determine his convictions and which characters he can recruit. Finally, you must decide which principles to follow and which to reject. This concept unifies everything in Triangle Strategy and I love how deep the theme goes.
At its core, Triangle Strategy is a story about the dangers of extremism. It paints a horrific picture of greed, selfishness and horrors committed in the name of Unity, Morality and Freedom. However, it also offers hope that the cycle of violence can be ended. Bringing true peace and understanding to Norzelia will not be easy, but it is possible.
***PC code provided by the publisher***
- Looks good
- Engaging story
- Smooth mechanics
- Everything is themed
- Questionable gait
- It’s not enough to fight
- Way too many cutscenes