Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 05/11/02 | Genre: Strategy RPG
I have not been a big fan of the Tactics series. While I have tried to play them, they have been very difficult, hard to get started, and not much fun to play--especially when you find yourself dead after the first or second encounter. When I got my hands on Tactics Ogre: The Knights of Lodis, I reluctantly started it up. However, instead of screaming at the incredibly cheap AI, I found the title to be fun. In fact, it is as good as many of the classic "big screen console" Strategy/RPG's.
The story is best told from the Atlus website: "Under the watchful eye of the Holy Lodis Empire, strange things are happening on the island of Ovis. Powerful forces have been set in motion, but their motives are masked by political intrigue. It is your mission to investigate these occurrences and discover the true intentions of those involved. The ending of the game will depend on the actions that the main character, Alphonse, takes. You will make many revelations as you proceed, but you must survive the unrelenting battles and cultivate your characters' abilities to unveil the ultimate truth.
The island of Ovis, located to the west of the continent of Galicia, has been under the rule of the Holy Lodis Empire for the last 15 years, and its inhabitants have been forced to convert to Lodisism. Although the southern region, Anser, initially resisted subjugation, today it flourishes because of trade with the mainland, and the lives of its people have been enriched. Rananculus, the northern region of Ovis which is surrounded by mountains and forests, accepted the conversion without putting up a fight. At present, inhabitable land is scarce and now only a few aristocrats and civilians live there. Alphonse, the main character of the story and a member of the Order of the Sacred Flame, visits this region to investigate an unusual occurrence. His life will forever be changed from his encounters with the people there."
In The Knights of Lodis, there are six different powers that govern the world. Each character in the game is associated with a different power, or element. These include water, fire, wind, earth, virtue, and bane. Depending on which element your character is alignged to, he will have a much different outcome with different characters of the opposite alignment. For example, a character aligned to water will do much more damage to a character aligned to fire. While characters can fight elements they are neutral to or weak to, the end result will be a less powerful result.
For those of you who have played past Tactics titles, you will feel right at home in The Knights of Lodis. Once the initial story begins and you play through a small battle where you can only control one character. This assists the player in getting used to the controls and battle system. Also, at various times in the game, there will be special guest characters that you cannot control. When the battle gets tough, these extra characters can be beneficial--especially if they have strong magic skills.
Once a battle begins, you have a map with all of your characters listed on it (you can control up to 8 characters from your party). After you move all of your characters, the computer moves their characters. Each map has different goals to accomplish such as "Kill the Leader" or "Destroy All Enemies." After the objectives have been completed, you will then continue on to the world map where you can buy equipment, spells, hire new men, train, or save and load your game.
To help you within battles, there are many different character classes--each with their own abilities. You can change the class of your character on the world map after they have reached a certain level. Here are some of the classes within Tactics Ogre: The Knights of Lodis:
Beast and Dragon Tamers
Each of the different classes can carry different types of weapons and move different within a battle. A Hawkman, for example, can fly and travel further than a plain soldier or a Cleric or Wizard. However, a Hawkman does not use magic. Because you are free to mix and match a party of your choosing, The Knights of Lodis offers a ton of replay value so you can try and get through the game again with totally different characters!
Don't expect to beat this game overnight either... Tactics Ogre: The Knights of Lodis has over 40 hours of gameplay and multiple endings. If you are a fan of Zone of the Enders The Fist of Mars or Advance Wars, you will definitely want to pick up a copy of The Knights of Lodis. However, Atlus titles can be hard to find. So if you don't want to spend a lot of money for a copy on Ebay, I suggest you locate one at your favorite retailer while they can still be found on store shelves.