Weekly Blog June 19th, 2022: Triangle Strategy

***SPOILERS FOR TRIANGLE STRATEGY***

Hello Internet!

I hope you all are doing well and staying healthy. I also hope that you are staying cool. Where I live it hit almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit this past week which is really, really hot. And I know that there’s probably someone out there from Texas or Arizona or Florida scoffing at me thinking that the mid-to-upper 90s is hot, but it is. It’s hot! Anyway, I’m not really a summer person but I don’t mind going out when it’s not so hot I can fry an egg on the sidewalk. Actually, is that a thing people do? Like actually do? Anyway, enough summer talk. I want to quickly point out that I actually published a Weekly Blog without another month going by. These blogs are actually published weekly? I know, crazy stuff! I mean, I don’t want to get ahead of myself because I just happened to publish two Weekly Blogs in a row. That’s a rare occurrence and I cannot guarantee that it will happen again. Moving on from that, I want to quickly talk about what I published in the past week and then we can get to the actual subject matter of this Weekly Blog.

So starting off, last Sunday I published a Weekly Blog about “Devolution” by Max Brooks. My love of World War Z by Max Brooks led me to reading this novel. Instead of zombies, this book focuses on a group of people living in this high-tech green village near Seattle when the Mt. Rainier volcano erupts. The eruption causes a group of Sasquatch to flee and clash with the village. It’s a horror novel that focuses on how far these humans have to go to survive. Very man vs. nature. I recommend you read the entire review of the book, but the quick version is that I enjoyed it for the most part. I had a few issues with it at the end and even though it’s good, it’s not as good as World War Z in my opinion. On Wednesday, I published a Poem titled “Winding River.” It’s the summertime and I just like the imagery of being completely surrounded by nature. A lone fisherman standing by the river as the mist begins to rise. *Chef’s kiss*. Seriously, this may be a pretty simple Poem in terms of idea and execution, but I still like it. Take a moment to soak in the summer sun that’s shining through the thick tree branches and get lost in the nature of the Winding River. Last but not least, on Friday I published the latest chapter of my Dungeons and Dragons inspired series, Holding Secrets (D&D). Grace has returned from The Platinum Shrine, but she does not let the group into the things she’s learned about herself. Instead she storms off when Juniper asks Grace about her rift with Riffen. With Grace gone, the rest of the group discusses the possible cause of this rift and the fact that many members of the group have secrets they are withholding. This D&D inspired series is one of the things I enjoy writing most and I am so happy to see that other people seem to enjoy it as well. So if you haven’t read that piece or really any of the pieces I published this week, I highly recommend you check them out.

Now that I’ve talked about all of that, I want to talk about the main topic of this week’s Weekly Blog which is the video game, Triangle Strategy. For those who might not know, Triangle Strategy is a tactical role playing game developed by Square Enix and it came out on the Nintendo Switch in March 2022. It uses HD two dimensional sprites with three dimensional battlefields that adds another dimension to combat (literally) compared to the old Japanese Role-Playing Games that inspired it. Triangle Strategy blends the role-playing elements from Octopath Traveler (another game that Square Enix developed) with the tactical elements from a series like Fire Emblem. I absolutely loved Octopath Traveler even though I didn’t complete it 100% (I completed the Chapter Four missions for Ophelia, Cyrus, Therion, and Alfyn, but not the other four) and I loved Fire Emblem Three Houses. So this new game, Triangle Strategy caught my attention right away. The art style looked really cool and I liked how the combat looked. The idea that the story would have branching paths based on the decisions you made as a player and the relationships between the characters seemed really cool. So I played through the Demo and enjoyed it. Then when the game was released in March, I picked it up. Now I’m not sure why I never wrote a Weekly Blog about Fire Emblem Three Houses or Octopath Traveler because both of those games I really enjoyed. Triangle Strategy however is a game I did not complete and I probably won’t be going back to it.

Since picking up Triangle Strategy I have put in about 25 hours into it according to my Nintendo Switch (compared to the 100+ hours in Octopath Traveler and over 200 hours in FIre Emblem: Three Houses) and I played through 12 of the 21 chapters of the game. I roughly played somewhere between one half to two thirds of this game. So why did I stop? Well before I answer that, I want to give a general overview of the game and give you some thoughts on the game as a whole. Triangle Strategy is a pretty fun game to play. You build a team of fighters from the 20 or so playable characters. Each of these characters have their own unique personality and way of thinking about the situation which I really appreciated. 

The main character is Serenoa Wolffort, who is a young Prince of one of the houses that makes up the Kingdom of Glenbrook. Thirty yeras back the Kingdom of Glenbrook was locked in a major war with two other nations, the Grand Duchy of Aesfrost, and the Holy State of Hyzante. This war was called the Salt-Iron War due to the fact that Hyzante controls the region’s supply of Salt and Aesfrost controls the region’s supply of Iron. 30 years after that war, Serenoa inherits the throne from his dying father and is supposed to marry Princess Frederica Aesfrost, tying the fates of House Wolffort and the Aesfrost Duchy. Frederica is also a Roselle which is the name for someone who was born with Pink Hair. These people are looked down on and even enslaved in the Holy Sate of Hyzante. The fact that Frederica is Roselle is a pretty cool thing that’s explored in the game, but that’s not really what I want to focus on now. Basically the region has three powerful kingdoms which are all in an uneasy state of peace following this bloody war. The main roster of characters you play as are nobles associated with varying parts of the royal houses. This game really picks up when the Aesfrost government assassinates one of their own nobles, blames the Kingdom of Glenbrook, and rekindles the flames of war. They take the capital city, expelling another playable character, Prince Roland, and Serenoa must now deal with leading House Wolfort when the enemy is at his doors. All of the war and politics and strategy and alliances really make this game great. I enjoyed the different ways that all the different characters played in combat. It’s a turn-based game where each unit has their own special abilities. Serenoa is a strong warrior who fights with and is good at fighting from the high ground, Federica is a mage that specializes in fire magic, and Rolland is a spearman who fights on horseback so he can move around the battlefield quickly. This idea has been done a hundred different times, but Triangle Strategy does it pretty well. These fights did get a bit boring at times, but that’s not why I stopped playing the game. The reason I quit is the other big selling factor of Triangle Strategy.

When you are not on the battlefield, you are tasked with making some tough choices for House Wolffort and its people. This is done through a voting system using The Scales of Conviction. Basically a situation arises where there is more than one path forward and you must make a decision. As Sereonoa, you decide that you can’t make the decision by yourself so you must ask the others in your close-knit group what to do. But it’s not like you don’t have any say. Your job is to talk to villagers, gather information, and convince the others in your group what you think the best path forward is. Now the ability to convince the other members of your group is based on the dialogue choices you make and your stats as a character. This later part is hidden from you and there’s no way to know how good your persuasive skills are when talking to the other characters. (You can see these stats when you play through a New Game+ but the fact that you can’t see these stats when you play through the game the first time is very frustrating to me.) For most of the game, this wasn’t really an issue. I chose a path and was able to convince enough people to vote for my plan. Some votes were closer than others, but after every vote my group agreed with the plan I wanted to go with. This changed when Chapter 13 rolled around. In this chapter, you need to make a plan to retake the capital city of Glenbrook. There are three plans. Plan one is to blow up a dam and flood the city, killing off some of the normal soldiers but potentially killing innocent villagers at the same time. The second strategy is to sneak into the city using a secret passage that Prince Roland knows about. This plan is high risk – high reward because it will be difficult to sneak into the city, but you will bypass the normal soldiers and only have to fight the powerful units that guard the throne room. The third plan is to blow up the bridges connecting the main part of the city from the outer ring and then negotiate for a surrender. 

Out of these three plans, I wanted to go with the stealthy plan of entering the throne room using the secret tunnel. The vote was split three ways so I only needed to convince one character in order to get the plurality and get the go ahead with the stealthy plan. Easy enough, right? Wrong. I went around and tried to convince anyone to join team stealth and it failed every time. I even looked up a guide online and made sure I was saying the right things, but it didn’t work. When it came to the vote, the plan to blow up the dam and flood the city ended up winning by one vote, which in my opinion was the worst option. I didn’t want to risk civilian deaths at all. But apparently my stats, which I cannot see, were not high enough. It was super frustrating that I couldn’t play the game the way I wanted to play it, but fine. I’ll go with the flood plan. Then the next scene is just the characters standing around the military leaders talking about how the flood is going to kill a ton of people. Just really beating you over the head about the moral choice you just made. Except I didn’t make it and the game basically forced me to pick it! That’s when I stopped playing. I’m not going to be railroaded by this game and then told that I’m a bad person. That’s just stupid. 

I really wish that Triangle Strategy let you convince characters easier or at least was more upfront on what stats are needed for what choices. I was just playing this game blind and I have no idea what my stats are. The game won’t show them to me and even when I looked online and searched for how to raise certain stats, the answers were vague and not super useful. The idea of having to convince others to vote for what you want is interesting and for most of the time I played this game, I found it fun. But not being able to play the way I wanted to play and make the decisions I wanted to make, really sucked. Don’t take away the player’s agency like that. Even if there was an option that let the player override the vote and that made all the characters mad at you. That would be better in my opinion. It just sucks because this game was probably an 8 out of 10 and now I’m not going to finish it. I don’t have time to replay the game again to make sure my stats are high enough or blindly grind stats on mock battles hoping that I get it high enough to make this decision stick. There are too many other things to play or watch or read or enjoy. Maybe if Triangle Strategy gets some kind of update which lets me bypass a vote or override a vote, I’ll go back to play it. But for now it will remain unfinished. 

I should add that there are some other smaller gripes I have with the game as well. The saltiness I have toward the voting system isn’t the only thing that holds this game back (like the fact that they couldn’t come up with a better nameI just think that all the good parts of Triangle Strategy are done better in a game like Fire Emblem Three Houses. My ultimate take on Triangle Strategy is that it’s a good game with some good potential, but some things really hold it back and I wouldn’t recommend anyone play it.

Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog all about Triangle Strategy. I didn’t expect it to be this long of a blog, but sometimes I ramble. If you read this far, you must have enjoyed my long winded explanations, so thank you. If you really liked this Weekly Blog, why not give it a Like? That way I know what sort of stuff you all enjoy reading. I might even talk about Octopath and Fire Emblem Three Houses in future blogs if that’s something people want. If you are interested in that, leave a comment letting me know. You can also leave your thoughts about Triangle Strategy down below in the comments. Have you played this game? Did you play it all the way through or did you quit in the middle? Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? I’d love to see all your thoughts in the comments. If you are a new reader of my stuff or if you don’t Follow Me here on WordPress, i highly recommend you Follow. I’m trying to build a positive and creative space on the internet and I can only achieve that through all of you making that happen. I am quickly nearing 850 Followers and I’d love to hit that by the end of the month. I’m trying to push toward 1,000 Followers by the end of the year, but that might not happen. I need your Follow to even give me a chance. Either way I really appreciate all the love and support I get from readers new and old. The fact that people all over the world actually read the stuff I write is mind-blowing. So thank you for your support!

Thank you again and I hope that you have a wonderful week!

-Allen_The_Writer


Header Photo Credit to the Nintendo UK Page for Triangle Strategy
https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-games/TRIANGLE-STRATEGY–1923371.html

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