Symphony of War: a fantasy-themed take on Advance Wars and Ogre Battle

Wow this looks great

And it’s out now!

If anyone picks this up please share your thoughts. I’m very interested but I also wasn’t planning to pick up anything new for awhile.

This looks exactly the sort of thing I’m into, but I noticed a Steam review complaining about the UI and camera. Might need to find a let’s play/stream to see for myself. Of course, at $20 full price and Steam’s two-hour refund policy, the risk of simply buying it is pretty low.

Probably will end up getting this as it looks like it’s doing interesting things, but some of the aesthetic choices are very much not my cup of tea…

That does look cool. Between the scale, the RPG advancement mechanics, and especially the clashes between customizable ~5-unit squads 5, it reminds me a lot more of Ogre Battle than Advance Wars, which is great because I’ve always felt that was an underutilized approach to the genre.

It’s on Epic for those who don’t have an aversion to that store, and with the current coupon deal $12 there.

I bought it. The references to Ogre Battle and Fire Emblem but with bigger scale battles were just too much for me to pass.

So . . . I will report back . . . .

I purchased this on Steam. I am playing the tutorial. So far I like it.

Movement controls are really in need of improvement. I have tried playing both with a controller and m/k. Controller doesnt feel good which really amazes me as this is slated for console platforms over the summer. The best way to explain my experience so far is that using the stick seems to go to fast. I am having better results using D pad on my Xbox Controller. The D pad gives a smoother experience but still feels a bit off. I look forward to hearing others comments on using a gamepad (my usual choice of these types of games).

M/K seems much more comfortable when selecting units to move and so on. The speed of scrolling the map is too fast however. There are some puzzling things too; when selecting a name I could not use backspace to delete the automatic name. Through trial and error I had to use the ESC key to delete the letters so I could choose my own.

I do not think these items will stop me from playing.

The game does remind alot of Advanced Wars in capturing towns, resources etc. What is interesting is that there are squads with a leader rand various units within the squad. This seems like it will add a lot of strategy to different squads. For example I was given a squad with infantry that has a healer. Pretty neat. I haven’t progressed enuff to see how to add the troop types to my squad in the tutorial.

Terrain is also a factor. Even though you can mix your troop types, having an all Archer Squad and moving it to a Fortress or Hill can pay dividends.

Healers are able to heal during a battle but also out of battle. You can choose which troop or your leader to heal. I also learned that a healer in one Squad can heal members in another Squad that you are next to.

Note: If you character dies you lose the game so having a healer stationed in his/her squad can be very beneficial.

Is it like Ogre Battle 64 or the other ones? Where your armies move in real time on the map, I mean (I think only 64 did this?).

I never played Ogre Battle but someone on Steam forums are saying Ogre Battle lovers rejoice. You move your squads around the tactical map and then the squads battle the enemy squads in typical AW style. At this point in the Tutorial I am moving form one area to another not sure if the actual play will allow one to attack different sites. I guess I do not understand what you mean by real time in a primarily TBS game.

More control head scratchers. When you are in between missions you can have conversations which appear to give stars (not sure if they can be used to purchase anything). You can add Tech (like ZOC, Mixed Units Tactics etc). I like this a lot. BUT when using the menu to go from one category to another you can not simply click on a button with the mouse. You have to hit ESC and than the mouse can be used to select another category. I find it very clunky

The overworld map movement in the original Ogre battle was done real-time, similar to an RTS (or a strategic war game), and then moved into an automated TBS tactical battle system. This game looks like a hybrid where it mixes elements of both Ogre Battle and Fire Emblem

Oh, all the OB games have RT strat maps? Neat. I only played 64.

Yes, and the combat here is sort of OB but thre’s quirks. Really, the UI here isn’t that great. Also either this is failure of the UI, or it’s not in the game, but unit attacks don’t appear change depending on where you slot them. I was mildly disappointed.

It’s also more expansive, I suppose with nods to Soul Nomad. You aren’t capped by unit slots, but “command”. You can equip one artifact per squad (to start) but these things can both be improved through tech (there’s three upgrade trees that impact everything in the game - units, shop inventories, etc). Artifacts and other improvements can increase your command, as does leveling iirc (in fact, I think increasing leadership helps it andf you can boost that through capturing stuff as well). So squads with more than 6 characters (or 1 small/2 large) seem possible.

There is a hard difficulty where permadeth exists. Many - but not all- squads will be commanded by unique characters you have to do unskippable relationship stuff with (ugh). Also regular units can grow into leader capable units, just like OB.

So far medium seems fairly easy. Maps often have bonus objectives but these are mostly easy to do, or are part of scripted events. None of FE’s unbearable “figure out you need to talk to this person with this other person by turn X” stuff.

I like it. But the UI really needs work.

Adding my early impressions after playing just over an hour.

I only tried playing with mouse and keyboard, and the game needs some updates to make this work well. At the point of entering the protagonist name keyboard input was not accepted, requiring use of one of those console style on-screen keyboards and selecting individual letters one by one. Geez, seriously?

Within battles, left click takes action, right click cancels, good enough, but no scrolling around the map using keyboard as far as I can tell. Annoying clicky sound when mousing around, like the sound made when you switch cells using a gamepad control.

It does work, but could be a lot better.

This bit might be great. You form squads around Leaders. Leaders have a Leadership stat that determines how many units can be added to a squad. In the first battle alone, there are archers, pikemen, regular grunts, healers and a wizard type, and the in-game wiki indicates many more and multiple upgrades for each unit.

Different units block, buff, heal, boost each other depending on formation.

Could be a star feature with lots of scope to play around with different formations.

One gripe is that the game apples rows and columns logic exactly the opposite of like, every spreadsheet application ever. Columns are horizontal, rows vertical. Dammit!

Narrative / Setting / Graphics

Blessedly, despite the somewhat cute graphics, the dialogue and narrative seem modest and fairly mature rather than emo-kid / cartoony. Caveat I am really early in.

Cut-scene graphics are not so pretty, but the battle graphics are rather pretty 2D sprites. 16-bit style, but definitely crisp and clear and pleasant to look at.

I thought the same thing!

One good thing is that you can save most places that I can find (exceptions do happen like plot progression conversations and the like)

I keep seeing Leadership raised thought I do not believe it was ever explained. Am I correct in thinking this is a trait that allows more troops or maybe higher level troops to be added to a squad? It may also be how a troop can become a leader themselves because I have not seen a way to buy more Squad Leaders.

I assume row and column are flipped because your battles happen horizontally? So if you’re thinking about a column of troops, that would be represented left to right?

The weirdest things turn me off a game these days. This time, it was how in the tutorial when you enter combat, you see your dude and the enemy dude on the screen. Giant screen, tiny guys. All good so far. But when your dude leaps across the screen to attack the enemy, the POV/camera moves a little bit, and then moves back. Same when the other guy attacks you. For no reason. Everybody was already on the screen. There was tons of wide-open empty space surrounding them. No reason for a camera movement.

Little, basic design fuckups like that just make me question the design decisions of the whole game. Maybe I’m missing out. But I have enough games that nail every design decision that I’m ok with that.

(It especially annoys me because this is a particular category of design flourish that I see all the time now. Sometimes designers of turn-based or non-visually-stunning games seem to lack confidence that their visuals will hold players’ attention when compared to, I don’t know, CALL OF DOODY RTX RAY TRACING EDITION. So they think weird little annoying distractions are the ticket?)

BTW, a “fantasy-themed take on Advance Wars” would be literally Fire Emblem, and Ogre Battle was Ogre Battle due to its real-time map movement and auto-battley combat where you didn’t control the guys. Since this has the opposite of both those features, I would go so far as to say it’s nothing like Ogre Battle.

Two new versions of Fire Emblem by the original Fire Emblem guy are on PC, for those who are interested… the second one’s out next month.

Here’s the GOG link for the first one in case any men of culture are on this board

That reads like a good explanation. I think the rationale is that the rows and columns are implemented from the perspective of the troop, rather than the screen.

Problem is, I am not one of the troops, and I am looking at the screen :-P

I spend more time working in sheets and office files, all of which have horizontal rows and vertical columns, so any time those terms are used I immediately expect the same orientation. Knowing that the game acts differently does not stop this automatic expectation.

However, very minor gripe in this game, since there are few times when you need to remember this, and those I have encountered so far, including that front line (row) units protect rear line (row) units, is intuitive.

I know some have compared this to Ogre Battle since the squad on squad combat is “automatic” and given that it is squads, not individual units, it is distinct from single character combat in Fire Emblem and Advance Wars etc.

I have also read it being compared to the bigger battles in the Suikoden series and to the larger scale battles in Langrisser, both of which I have no experience of.