When I saw the demo reel for Project Triangle Strategy, I had a feeling it would be a good game. I decided to download the demo and get a feel for it. Given the artwork, music, and overall impression I got, they tried to combine the greatness of old-school RPGs with more heavy themes and stories. Back in the day, the limitations placed by the hardware not only limited the gameplay but the overall story. Modern games can add so much more content and story. Games like Dragon Age: Origins are a great example of excellent game lore with fun, challenging game mechanics. I have a feeling this type of experience was what the designers wanted but with a retro feel to it.
I believe the target audience for this game would be people like me who grew up playing the great RPGs like Chrono Trigger, FFVI, and many more. I also think the idea of having 2D sprites mixed with a 3Dish world was smart and would, again appeal to its target audience, who want that nostalgia from older RPGs. The artwork is less taxing on the hardware, allowing them to spend more time in other areas such as the battle system. This game's Engine is Unreal Engine 4, making it promising since Epic Games is constantly pushing the boundaries of technology with Unreal Engine. Square Enix must have realized its true potential while working on Kingdom Hearts III with Unreal Engine developers. I am excited to see what else the game offers once the full game comes out (Hopefully soon, but probably not. It will be released sometime in 2022).
The demo starts you off somewhere near the middle of the game. Chapter VI: Remember me. There is a brief overview of the world of Norzelia. There are 3 Kingdoms; each has a vital resource located in its particular region. War consumed the lands, and eventually, the three Kingdoms settled on a peace treaty. Unfortunately, the moment of peace got cut short when one of the Kingdoms attacked the Kingdom of Glenbrook and murdered many royal family members. Without giving away more, certain important characters fell during this attack, shaping the player's party member's personalities and these moments are vital to the plot. This is where the demo picks up and the player is allowed to make certain choices regarding some of the main characters in the game. The ability to make choices and influence your party members was a fun yet stressful part of the game to me. However, this really is smart as it gives us the illusion we have some control over our story as these characters.
Voice acting has been quite popular in many games, and when done right, you can have memorable experiences like with Geralt from The Witcher series. When done wrong, you end up with the voice acting from Nintendo's Breath of the Wild (I loved this game, but the voice acting was pretty cheesy). I would say that Project Triangle Strategy has some great voice actors and then some that make me cringe. The voice acting during combat for all team members involved is great, but some voice actors are less skilled than others for the story scenes. Overall, I think Nintendo is improving on the voice acting and commend them for moving in this direction that many other companies have been in for years. Kudos Nintendo.
Now that battle system is interesting. Like Fire Emblem, this is a tactical RPG. You can move around the map, which is divided into a grid, and given your abilities, it determines how far you can go on the map. If you do not like turn-based RPGs and prefer action-based, I can see why this game might not be for you. I would have wanted to see this game be an action RPG, but I enjoy tactical RPGs as it forces me to think out my battle plan. The first battle you encounter in the demo was pretty rough, and at least 3 out of my eight party members died (yikes). I was pretty rusty as I have been mostly playing Mario Party games, so don't judge me. As I said, I LIKE tactical RPGs and especially liked Larian Studios Divinity Original Sin 2. This game is not that advanced with the battle system, but it has potential. Knowing that they used SUCH a powerful game engine, it would have been really neat to have this be an action RPG battle system, and with how nice the game looks, oof, that would have been awesome. Unreal Engine had the power, and as a game designer/developer, I know it was possible, but I am sure they had a reason, and given how old school RPGs inspired this game, I get it. I think if you have a soft spot for old-school RPGs, I would give it a shot. If you don't like it, then this might not be for you.
My only complaint about the battle system is the camera control. It wasn't super user-friendly like other games, but you eventually get the hang of it. I don't believe they gave you the option to invert the camera controls in battle, only in exploration mode.
I think they nailed the art; it is pretty fascinating. The music? Real instruments with traditional RPG-sounding melodies and harmonies. The demo was enjoyable and grabbed my attention very quickly. I was bummed when I reached the end of the demo because now I have to wait forever for full release.
I don't want to give too much away as I want anyone who is thinking about giving the demo a chance. It's free to download on the Nintendo Switch Online market, so you have nothing to lose. Check it out, and let me know what you think!