Triangle Strategy (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Steven Mattern 18.03.2022

Review for Triangle Strategy on Nintendo Switch

Tactics games often feel overshadowed. There's an extra layer to them that series like Fire Emblem don't provide. In a move to offer a distinct experience away from Nintendo's flagship series, Artdink and Square Enix bring Triangle Strategy to the fold. As the second console game released with the HD-2D art style coined by Square Enix, Triangle Strategy aims to recapture what made games like Final Fantasy Tactics so distinct. In large part, it succeeds while adding some unique gameplay aspects.

The story revolves around Serenoa and his family's house Wolffort, as they navigate a brewing conflict around the continent of Norzellia. What begins as an initiative for peace amongst Glenbrook and Aesfrost, two high houses of Norzellia, balloons into a three-way war between them and Hyzante. Serenoa and his group each have their unique perspective, as he rallies a party from all three sides which blurs the lines between each kingdom. This is especially evident in one of the key pieces of gameplay.

Triangle Strategy unravels its story with an element of choice. Throughout the story there are major decisions to be made, such as where to go, or deciding whether to take an offensive or defensive approach to upcoming events. Unlike other choice-based adventures where the 'player character' gets the final say on which path to take, it falls to the main party of seven to decide together. The player as Serenoa can choose one option or the other, but then they have to go speak with those in the group who are against his choice. Sometimes, the outcome may be against Serenoa's decision, adding more weight to these pre-vote debates. Whether or not their opinions sway depends on which dialogue choices players make, as well as which ones they discover through exploring and talking with various townspeople throughout Norzellia.

Each of the major story scenes, of which there are many, have full voice acting in English or Japanese which is great to see. Even for games that can be compared to other titles in the turn-based strategy genre, having this extra sense of modern sensibility lifts up the game's overall quality. Thankfully, the quality of English voice acting is mostly excellent, with all party members and major characters having spoken dialogue to some degree. In a game with a high fantasy setting, it's easy to point out some of the weaker performances among the cast but the English voice over is great on the whole.

Screenshot for Triangle Strategy on Nintendo Switch

There are two main pieces of content outside of cutscene sections progressing the story. The first is exploration, either preluding to a vote or a battle. When exploring, Serenoa can talk to people around the area and search for money, materials and consumables. In addition, some characters have black and green icons above their heads indicating that talking to them will prompt a minor choice to change the story in some form, but the outcome is unknown until later. These segments are interesting because the writing for even the average NPC is well done and the areas are never too large.

Battling, the main strategic element of the game, takes place in between major story events and side battles can be carried out in the encampment for bonus experience and items. The titular 'triangle strategy' does not refer to the battles themselves and we think that it's for the better, as a "weapon triangle" akin to Fire Emblem is not implemented here. Instead, each unit has their own specific skill or trait to bring to the party, such as providing buffs or manipulating the turn order. This variety is great to have as that gives each unit a place in the party. Thankfully new party members that can be recruited will always be a level at or one below the next major battle's recommended level. Allies and enemies do not take turns in tandem with each other. Determined by their speed, each unit takes their place in the turn order, giving players an easy way to understand how battles may progress. Tiles on the floor indicating movement and attack ranges are easy to distinguish as well and will be relatively familiar to fans of the genre.

Screenshot for Triangle Strategy on Nintendo Switch

All done in the encampment, each party member can upgrade their class at level 10 and 20 with a rare material, and upgrade their weapons with more common materials and money. Kudos, awarded for taking advantage of certain things in battle like double attacks and hitting enemies with their weakness, can be used to buy lore entries and special one-use-per-battle abilities like healing a party member or changing the turn order. Meanwhile, a shop offers accessories, consumables and upgrade materials for money.

While battles can be long, the story builds them up to feel important. This can be great in terms of satisfaction once the dust has settled but this leads into one of the bigger issues with the game. Too often there isn't enough battling to counterbalance the many story moments and exploration, which is where most of the time was spent, even doing all of the optional battles in the encampment. There is such a thing as too much story, no matter how riveting it is at points, and that takes away from the consistent player urgency that battling provides. There have been moments where it was itching to battle again so exploration sections were cut short.

The HD-2D aesthetic continues to impress. While this outing reins in the particle effects and texture density compared to Octopath Traveler, it still looks very pleasing either on TV or the Nintendo Switch's portable screen. Despite the weaker texture quality, each region of Norzella has their own visual flair that's released well with good use of color and weather effects. Menus, voice lines and other UI elements are legible on the smaller display. However, there are no options to change the size of HUD elements.

Screenshot for Triangle Strategy on Nintendo Switch

In some cases, performance takes a noticeable hit. Being a title with 3D environments with a movable camera, it's not hard to provoke frame drops on the portable console. Exploration and battle sections are meant to be viewed from all angles to reveal secrets and offer better views of the battlefield; the game can't always rotate the camera smoothly.

One of the best things that sets Triangle Strategy apart is its approach to difficulty. Four blanket options are available to choose from which offers some deal of flexibility. These can be changed at any time too, so players have an easier time moving forward past some of the more difficult encounters in the story. Since each character of the main cast is so integral to the story both in dialogue and requirement to be present for the game's voting segments moving the plot forward, permadeath is not a part of the game and we think it's better for it. In the end, difficulty is subjective but we appreciate the options here.

Screenshot for Triangle Strategy on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

When it comes down to it, Triangle Strategy really impresses with its deep battle and party system, storytelling and clean visual presentation aside from some performance issues. While some of the voice acting is somewhat weak, the cast is up to the task to deliver on the well written and engaging tale. However, oftentimes the scales weigh too heavily in favor of the story over the major battling moments, removing quite a bit of player engagement. Even though time spent between gameplay and story is unbalanced, the overall experience is well worth a look for tactics fans.

Developer

Artdink

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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