Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis - Review

When Mermaids Attack!

By: Tony Green

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 6
   Interface 6
   Music/Sound 3
   Originality 5
   Plot 5
   Localization 5
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 6
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

40-50 hours


Title Screen

   The Ogre Battle games have become a cult hit of sorts in North America. The original Ogre Battle for the Super Nintendo commands top price on eBay, and working cartridges are a treasured find. Its PlayStation release, and the English language version of Tactics Ogre are some of the rarest games of them all. Even Ogre Battle 64 made owning an N64 somewhat worth it. So what of the next game in the series; The Knight of Lodis?

   Gameplay-wise, this is a direct lift of the original Tactics Ogre. All of the basic character classes return; the battle mechanics are the same; and the game flows the same way as in the original title. It makes sense, really, since The Knight of Lodis is considered a gaiden, or sidestory, to the original Tactics Ogre. Some tweaks have been made to the interface, and many of the classes have been reworked to be much more useful, but The Knight of Lodis largely takes all of its pros and cons from its predecessor.

   One of the biggest changes is the ability to use only eight characters in battle, rather then ten. This is still a very generous number, but the simple reduction of two slots lends more strategy to group selection. Several siege stages, in which you attack a castle from multiple directions, will force you to split your group. This makes keeping your entire army leveled important. The addition of katanas and thrusting swords as weapon types also adds diversity to the game.

What a way to start the evening.
What a way to start the evening.  

   In addition, The Knight of Lodis offers an extensive quest mode which players can access from the title screen. During the game, players will have the opportunity to collect several books telling of hidden lands. By using the quest mode, they can explore these lands and have a chance of claiming rare and powerful items for themselves.

   Easily the most enjoyable change is the new Versus mode. By linking with a friend, RPGamers can fight head to head with their own units and items. In fact, winning a VS match can gain you several Emblems and items you can't find anywhere else.

This is no time for a bath!
This is no time for a bath!  
   Speaking of Emblems, those would be the most significant change from the original Tactics Ogre. In addition to stat requirements, several classes require certain emblems to be earned before they can be used. These Emblems are earned by doing certain battlefield feats; such as spearing two foes at once with a lance or killing an enemy in one hit. There are a large variety of Emblems, both with beneficial effects and otherwise.

   Sadly, The Knight of Lodis' music and sound effects are its weakest link. The soundtrack consists of about a dozen or so songs that will play, only five of which are actual battle songs. These songs will play time and time again, causing many RPGamers to just turn the sound off. The sound effects are nothing spectacular, either. Their swooshes, bloops, and bleeps get the job done, but not much else.

Salamander is cool.
Salamander is Cool.  

   Unfortunately, the dialogue suffers from staleness, and many RPGamers will simply opt to ignore the story scenes to get into the next battle. Kudos should be given to Atlus, though, for despite the massive amount of text there is nary a typo to be found.

In the end, The Knight of Lodis is a worthy addition to any RPGamer's library. The challenge of finding the multiple endings; the joy of collecting all of the Emblems; the possibilities offered by all of the classes; and the myriad number of secret items and characters will last through many playthroughs.

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