An SRPG you can enjoy with your pants on.
The original Tears to Tiara was classified as an “adult tactical role-playing game”. The “adult” in the genre title wasn’t just for show, as the game had explicit sexual content and was created only with adults in mind.
So, let me dash the hopes of those horny teenagers reading now by saying that the sequel has no such sexual content and is a standard SRPG in most regards.
While it certainly can and will be classified as an “SRPG”, the title’s strong emphasis on dialogue and character growth gives it a certain charm I’m sure many will enjoy.
Demo Availability: N/A
Voice Acting Selection: JPN Only
Played: 35+ hours.
The story of Tears to Tiara 2 isn’t particularly inspired or original, but it’s told with such great care and detail I couldn’t help but applaud their efforts.
The characters also went beyond the stereotypical archetypes, and proved themselves to be more like individuals rather than clichés given digital form.
For example, one of the central characters, Goddess Astarte, was pompous and overly confident on the outside to inspire courage and favor from her followers, but in truth she was insecure about her lack of power to help those in need.
The main protagonist Hamil often played the part of the fool, pretending to be an incompetent buffoon while being torn on whether or not it’s right for him to try and claim revenge on all those that have wronged him, knowing all the sacrifices he’d have to make.
Thanks to the likeable cast of multi-dimensional characters, the story held up quite well, and had me interested to see what would happen next.
That’s a good thing too, because the amount of dialogue and exposition in this title could only accurately be described as “excessive”.
I think it took me about five hours of game time to get to the point in the story where I could actually manage my party and buy items. Thirty five plus hours in, I believe I’m perhaps a little past the halfway mark in the main story.
It’s a lengthy title to say the least, and even I felt that the pacing and ratio of conversations to game play could’ve been tweaked as to not make me occasionally forget that this is an SRPG and not a Visual Novel.
Luckily, the combat is used to great effect to alleviate the fatigue brought on by hours and hours of reading.
Those who are familiar with the combat mechanics from the classic “Final Fantasy Tactics” will know what to expect here.
The tile based movement, elemental weakness, and the clear cut percentage hit rate/damage indicator work just as well here as it did over a decade ago.
Tears to Tiara 2 also innovates and adds some new mechanics of its own like the positioning system, where enemies cannot go past a certain area of influence directly adjacent to allies, which makes the use of ranged units feel much more tactical.
There’s also the ability to rewind entire turns during the battle, which allows for a lot more experimentation and alleviates much of the frustration associated with SRPGs, where one wrong move can spell those eight letters no one likes to see, “GAME OVER.”
The rewind mechanic is balanced around the idea that RNG based effects will always trigger the same if it’s left to play out identically, but it’s still an invaluable tool for trying to achieve some of those difficult bonus objectives.
While the combat is solid, the visual presentation is lacking to say the least.
Between the chibi character models to the muddy, uninteresting battlefield, this game looks like it’s straight out of the PS2 era.
At the end of the day I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem of an SRPG, and while the poor graphics and pacing holds it back from true greatness, it certainly has the heart of what could be a cult classic.
Fun Tidbit – There’s no perma-death present in this title and a even an easy difficulty mode for those who just want to enjoy the story!
Review copy of game provided by publisher.