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Thursday, February 17, 2022

What I Think About the TRIANGLE STRATEGY Prologue Demo

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I really liked it.

A year ago, I wrote an article about the first (“debut”) demo for what was then known as “Project TRIANGLE STRATEGY”. SQUARE ENIX had debut demoers fill out a survey with feedback, and I included my feedback for what I thought ought to change. Fast forward to February 2022 (as announced last week), and Triangle Strategy, as it's now called, has a prologue demo representing the final(?) game build. While the debut demo put you into the early-mid game, the prologue demo starts you from the beginning chapters, and there's no content overlap. The full game releases next month and will be published by Nintendo of America, so don't expect regular discounts on its $60 asking price.

It turns out that almost all of my feedback was incorporated. Character stat screens now have tool tips on everything, including the stats themselves, and stat buffs like by Benedict are also displayed there now. Dialogue has auto-text. How damage is calculated is more clear and there's a “simulation” feature to know how your damage will be dealt before trying to battle. Turn order is much easier to keep track of because of a unit info toggle during battles.

Triangle Strategy Benedict auto guide skip fast forward profile
Yes, options like auto-progressing text and a text log are HERE after all!
Still no portraits, but you can press the X button like before for a profile if you wish.

Since the game is a lot more clear in the user interface and controls on what's going on, I can appreciate it more. I guess the biggest flaw is that some of the voice acting sounds... very stilted or even bad, though some characters have great voice acting. In any case, it's not enough for me to turn the voice acting off or to Japanese or anything, which is an option if you do want to do that. The music is fine (and I still really like the battle preparations theme) and I adore the graphics style.

I've read complaints that the hours of demo is primarily reading/listening through dialogue with little actual gameplay time (there are three chapters worth plus two not noteworthy battles that you can grind infinitely—the chapter battles can take a while). But as someone who is... used to games with that kind of pacing (like Ace Attorney or Zero Escape), I didn't have objections. Triangle Strategy has a story to tell and a world to build, and I'm all for it. And it's important to pay attention to this, because you're expected to make decisions based on the information you hear.

Triangle Strategy Conviction tutorial Utility Morality Liberty
By the way, I have no problem with the name Triangle Strategy.
It refers to how a lot of things come in threes. Three convictions. Three nations.
And it fits the Square and Enix tradition of two-word RPG franchise names.

But again, there's a text log if you need that, and there are also (optional) Notes and Information categories to collect while exploring and talking to people (between fights) that will further inform your knowledge of the world and give you new options to consider. In addition there are optional side-stories you can view on the overworld map in-between fights, too. I want to experience it all!

Triangle Strategy Hyzante Holy State ensure equality guaranteed food clothing shelter
For Chapter 3, you have a fork in the path to choose between visiting Hyzante or Aesfrost.

I chose going to Hyzante in my demo for political purposes. I thought it'd benefit Glenbrook more due to the backstory and their monopoly over the salt trade, while obviously there's no such monopoly for iron because of the new mine being built.

Triangle Strategy Aesfrost values freedom over all else meritocracy
But in terms of philosophy I personally am more in favour of, it's Aesfrost's.

Your decision matters because the Chapter 3 map is totally different, and that means the story is as well. And the character you end up recruiting. And then the demo ends right after.

Triangle Strategy Ser Maxwell good luck skill carry to victory
Ser Maxwell and I have the same philosophy that I don't like saying “good luck” for skill-based endeavours.
I prefer saying something like “good skill.” But people don't know wot I'm talking about.

I played my demo on Hard difficulty, which actually got me two Game Overs on Chapter 2. But when you get a game over, you actually get to keep the EXP you gained before you got wrecked, so that helped push me to beat it. I got Roland defeated basically immediately in Chapter 1, but the EXP Curve is structured in a way that he was able to catch up to my other units. There isn't any permanent death or consequence to having your units be defeated during a battle, besides the fact that it'll make the battle more difficult and that they'll not get more EXP after that. The enemies are pretty intelligent and will gang up on your units and exploit game mechanics like pursuit attacks and back-stabs, and they won't be baited one at a time like in some Fire Emblem games. I enjoyed the gameplay, and I also think Erador should be the model for Fire Emblem Armour Knights. (Unless he's going to end up being much worse later on.) He was especially fantastic in the choke point for the Pincer Attack mental battle (second grind map available) on the bridge using his skill that provokes the other enemies to attack him and only him on their turn. Since they were all physical enemies, he could successfully tank attacks and leave other units safe. Good stuff.

Triangle Strategy comes out on March 4 and the demo left me feeling very good about the game—and it's good that it's an improvement from the debut demo too. Too bad I have a backlog to get through. And... I might have to do that AND play Pokémon Legends: Arceus first? I dunno. But if I do want more, I can replay the demo and visit Aesfrost to see what the experience is like there. The demo also lets you transfer your save file to the full version of the game, and maybe I should consider that. ...I don't know what path I want to make my canon choice!

There is no associated survey with this Triangle Strategy demo (because it's too late to incorporate any new feedback), so if you played the demo and want to dump your feedback on someone who can't do anything about it, feel free to do so in KoopaTV's comments section.


  1. re both the repeatable battles in chapter 3? Because I'm at chapter 3 and I haven't seen any sign of repeatable battles.

    I didn't lose Roland (or anyone, thankyouverymuch) in Chapter 1...then again, I was playing on Normal. Also, in the Chapter 2 fight BOTH Roland AND Serenoa got obliterated before they could get decent XP. >_<

    I chose Hyzante for Chapter 3 as well, both on the basis of my foreknowledge of the previous demo and the fact that Aesfrost's
    representatives at the tournament were assholes of breathtaking caliber.

    Seriously, this is the first time in FICTION that I've known a character to not only rub superiority by birth in others faces, but to actively believe that advancement by birth is itself superior to advancement by merit.

    I hope Serenoa (and by extension, I) gets/get to personally kill those two.

    1. Go to the Encampment's... bar area. Top right corner.

      I feel like I probably should've played the demo in Normal just to see what it's like, and that's what I'd normally do, but, psshaw, I felt like I could handle Hard.

      Well, I really liked Dragan. He had good voiceacting and personality, besides him being a drunkard. But Frederica's "siblings" aren't true representatives of what Aesfrost is all about, which is obvious from the side-story taking place there right before the demo ended on the Hyzante route.

    2. Dragan doesn't count, dat boy already dead. And those battles were framed as "simulated" so I assumed they wouldn't give XP. But I was wrong there?

    3. Yeah they give EXP and more importantly gold and materials for upgrading weaponry.

    4. That...makes very little sense. I guess it'd be too much to hope that they come up with a more plausible way to do non main plot advancing battles.

      Oh well. This is something I can roll with.

    5. I agree with you that it doesn't make sense.

      ...also why'd you say Dragan is dead? ...Did I miss something? >_>;;;

    6. Um. How long has it been since you played the first demo? ^^; You DID say you played it right...

    7. A year.

      The Debut Demo must've been the Hyzante route...

  2. I haven't played the new demo yet, but this sounds promising!

    1. There's a romantic plot between Serenoa and Frederica so maybe you'd appreciate it for Valentine Video Games Festival. ;)

    2. Now that would definitely be stretching it to qualify.

    3. I'd say it's omnipresent in the demo!


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