Announced during this week’s Nintendo Direct, Project Triangle Strategy (which is, shockingly, not the final name) is the newest “2D HD” game from Square Enix. Though the full game isn’t set to release until 2022, the aptly titled Debut Demo released yesterday, giving players a chance to experience both the game’s combat and its story-based persuasion segments. After playing the demo, I’ve got to say, this is the future of strategy RPGs.
You play as a group of characters charged with protecting Prince Roland following the seizure of his kingdom and the murder of his brother. A lot of exposition is thrown at you from the get-go, which is strange in a demo, but the lack of context isn’t a big deal. You can fast forward the story if you want to be completely unspoiled for the full game, or you just want to get to the gameplay, which is a nice inclusion. The most basic summary I can give is that the kingdom of Aesfrost is attacking the kingdom of Glenbrook, which leads to a series of conflicts between the main party and the villainous soldiers of Aesfrost.
There are a few side-stories that you can check-in on throughout the demo, with the most thought-provoking being about a doctor who is forced to save a religious person instead of a non-believer, leading to the non-believer’s death. This tiny storyline (a couple of minutes at most) made me more invested in the world of Project Triangle Strategy, and I hope the full game has more compact stories in it like this.
The demo gives you a couple of different levels to play through, each requiring different strategies. Like most SRPGs, you navigate your team across a grid-based stage in a turn-based manner. Unlike most SRPGs, there are a number of different environmental factors that play a role in combat. Being on an elevated platform above enemies allows for extra damage to be dealt, and destructible traps let you burn whole swathes of enemies if you can time them right. There are lots of strategies to think of outside of just putting your units against your foes, which I very much appreciate.
This also encourages replayability, as you can try a map with and without the environmental traps, some of which are tied to the narrative in intriguing ways. The great thing is that if none of this appeals to you, you can just charge through using your own strategies and still turn out alright. All this excitement comes from a small demo, which makes me very excited for the full game.
“ I hope there are a lot of moments like this in the full game, as it’s a pretty unique concept that could be used in some very fun ways.“
I also really enjoyed the section of the demo that focused on persuasion mechanics. In this part, the characters are deciding whether or not they should surrender Prince Roland to the enemy in order to avoid a battle in their town. I decided that I wanted to protect Roland, but half the characters were against that, with a few more undecided. Since it’s a majority-rules situation, I had to convince them to take my side using the information I could gather in the town.
I gathered information about a “secret weapon,” which I could use to convince the dissenters that we had a chance of winning the battle. By carefully choosing what to say to them, I was able to convince all but one to vote to protect the Prince, which was a cool feeling to say the least. I hope there are a lot of moments like this in the full game, as it’s a pretty unique concept that could be used in some very fun ways.
I’m really looking forward to Project Triangle Strategy, as it seems like a game that has a lot of exciting ideas. The demo is pretty long and gave me a good sense of how the full game might play, and if what’s on display in the demo is any indication, this game could mark the next step for SRPGs.