A rebel general’s decision throws the world into complete chaos, and a young soldier seemingly chosen by fate must be the one to save it. Symphony of War is a 2D tactical RPG published by Freedom Games and developed by Dancing Dragon Games. In this strategy game, you are consistently outmanned and often literally outgunned. You’ll find yourself going over each squad in your fledgling army before each battle. Simply to ensure they are prepared for an uphill fight. Friendships, relationships, and betrayals, in addition to combat, play an important role in this story.
LV1 Gaming was provided a code by the publisher for review.
The Good Parts
Symphony of War is the offspring of Fire Emblem and Ogre Battle. This game pays homage to classic tactical RPGs while remaining fresh. There are a few mechanics that set it apart from the titles from which it was clearly inspired. Each soldier in your army has a leadership stat, which determines the number of points available to build a squad. So you could have a Priestess (Healer) and a Paladin (Defense/Healer/DPS). Alternatively, you can have an assassination unit that can ambush enemies.
The variety of classes allows you to form squads for any situation. The battlefields feature a variety of terrains that have varying effects on combat. For example, placing archers or a squad of archers on a hill increases their combat range in addition to weather conditions influencing spell casters. When you stand inside a fortress while defending, your defense stat increases.
Sword of Symphony Character Stat Page
Another advantage that adds variety to gameplay is the ability to customize characters’ abilities and traits. I assembled an assassination squad and attached items appropriate for the role. One example is an item that stunned the enemy squad during the initial attack phase. It gave my squad more attacks than theirs, increasing my chances of winning the engagement. Some soldiers have empty trait slots, allowing you to tailor who they are best suited to combat. For example, my healing class soldiers frequently had an ability that granted them 25% healing for every party member they healed. This is a glimpse into how you can create a custom squad or overall army.
The pixel art and storytelling were both entertaining and engaging. It was very similar to my favorite tactical RPG, Ogre Battle 64. Even the male protagonist reminded me of Magnus from the classic Nintendo 64 game. Another advantage was the Arena system as you will receive tokens in-game that will allow you to fight in scenarios outside of the story. This allows you to grind and power level your army while still progressing in the story. Tokens can only be obtained through random chance in the store or from enemy loot drops.
Example of a Battle
This game is enjoyable to play and even includes a romance and friendship system that is not required to complete the game but is worth exploring. Also entertaining is the fact that strategy is required to win each battle. Even with a strong army, you must plan out each turn because you are frequently outnumbered on the battlefield. In-game mechanics such as the Artifact system provide your squad with unique boons. This results in a personalized playstyle and allows for replayability.
The Meh Parts
The only way to farm or level up your squad is through story combat or the Arena. The issue with that is that you will not always have access to Arena tokens. Honestly, if you love to grind levels you may not be happy at the fact that there is no readily available way to farm. Now you can save and quick load over and over until you find tokens for sale. But, that is still a temporary fix because you need to progress in the story to get new items in the store.
Tactic-changing gameplay mechanics are introduced late in the game. Without spoiling the story at some point you will gain access to powers. The ability to give a squad another chance to move and attack. Another ability that allows you to teleport a squad a large distance without losing their turn. Even a meteor attack that does 25% damage to up to five enemy squads. I understand why it is this way but it was sort of jarring how it is now a major part of the game from that point forward.
The Bad Parts
Overall the only thing I can consider bad and I feel as if I’m reaching is the lack of choice in story-altering decisions. Outside of relationship choices, the game was on rails, not a bad experience because the story is solid. It just gives the vibe that choice is going to be part of the story and it’s not really there. I did not have any experiences that made me want to take a break from the game.
Symphony of War Overall
If you like Fire Emblem or the Ogre Battle series, you should get this game. Tells a great story and provides several options for assembling your rebel army. Archers, dragon riders, and other classes are all available. Each class has unique strengths, weaknesses, and even characteristics. Tactics are required for victory in every battle. Furthermore, your strongest squad will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers if not careful. There are probably optimal squad builds, but they are not always sufficient, which adds to the fun. Each battle has a unique set of enemies and terrain. Furthermore, a few battles appear to be impossible at first glance. You will find yourself after each battle going through your squads to see who can upgrade or which unit will benefit from the new Artifact.
Overall Symphony of War is a love letter to tactical RPGs and if you enjoy the genre this is a must-play. I give this title an 8.5 out of 10. The review code for PC via Steam was provided to LV1 Gaming by the publisher.
Symphony of War Video Review
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