Exploring Ultima and Teletype RPGs, Plus #24 on Our Top 25 RPG Countdown

AXE OF THE BLOOD GOD | Jeremy Parish returns as we discuss #24 on our Top 25 RPG countdown.

Article by Kat Bailey, .

Axe of the Blood God is our weekly RPG podcast hosted by Kat Bailey and Nadia Oxford. You can find the previous episodes here.

Our Top 25 RPG countdown continues this week with another entry. But we're also highlighting another RPG-related series on the site as Jeremy Parish returns in this week's episode [download link here].

A couple weeks ago, Jeremy kicked off what will eventually be a 12 part series covering the history of RPGs. The first part focuses in on Richard Garriott's early experiments with teletype, the evolution of Ultima, and the influence of D&D. It's well worth a read if you're interested in the very earliest days of RPGs.

In the second segment, Jeremy stays on to discuss one of his favorite RPGs: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together! We explain why Tactics Ogre gets the nod over Final Fantasy Tactics on our list; why its complex and winding story is one of gaming's best, and why it stands the test of time. And if you missed it, make sure you check out our exploration of Final Fantasy V!

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Show Description

Our old friend Jeremy Parish returns to discuss the first entry in his new series about the history of RPGs, which covers Ultima, Teletype RPGs, and Richard Garriott's early programming experiments. Then we dive into number 24 on our Top 25 RPGs of All Time countdown: Tactics Ogre! We talk about its rich storyline, excellent tactics, and what sets it apart from its successor Final Fantasy Tactics (which is also great). Find out why Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is yet another underrated RPG gem!

Music from Axe of the Blood God is courtesy of Lena Chappelle, who has also contributed the themes to Active Time Babble and Roleplayers' Realm. I also use music from the RPG Music Pack over at Check it out!

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Comments 15

  • Avatar for pdubb #1 pdubb 3 months ago
    Yesssss, time to go listen to this on my lunch break.

    Tactics ogre is bae.

    Yeah, you guys pretty much nailed it from a top level view on the game. Great job.

    Also Kat's completely right, if you really want you *can* put hundreds and hundreds of hours into this game.

    Edited 2 times. Last edited July 2018 by pdubb
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  • Avatar for Pandalulz #2 Pandalulz 3 months ago
    I bought a PSP way back when to play some PSOne games, and I own exactly two physical discs, Tactics Ogre and Valkyrie Profile, and I've never gotten around to playing either one of them. I can feel Kat's disappointment.Edited July 2018 by Pandalulz
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #3 SatelliteOfLove 3 months ago
    Oh yes, OH LORD YES.

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  • Avatar for WiegrafFolles #4 WiegrafFolles 3 months ago
    The remake of Tactics Ogre is a game I feel is spoiled by the unbelievable amount of end game side quests. Grinding and crafting problems aside, I remember spending literal months doing end game content to the point that I completely lost the thread of the story and never finished the game. All the drama of the final act evaporates into a fog of tracking down characters, grinding out items, and adjusting factional affiliations.

    All that being said, I love the game. What comes before the final act is all compelling. The music and art is wonderful, and there are many interesting tactical challenges. The aesthetics and storytelling that became the Quest house style have influenced my tastes ever since playing the original Ogre Battle right down to the present day, and the Quest games remain a common gaming touchstone I can share with my dad. These games remain very dear to me despite their flaws and I will always maintain a fascination with what this weird corner of JRPGs tried to do.

    By the way, I was pretty surprised you missed the opportunity to talk about how much Matsuno was influenced by Ultima, considering the subject matter of the show.
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  • Avatar for vonfoil83 #5 vonfoil83 3 months ago
    I'm so loving the Podcast! Great format right now with the guest interview and then top 25 RPG segment
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  • Avatar for bobbywatson #6 bobbywatson 3 months ago
    Tactics Ogre PSP is on sale this week on PSN for a ridiculously low price.

    If you don't have it and have a PSP/Vita, now is the time!
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #7 SatelliteOfLove 3 months ago
    LORD MATSUNO and his teams are adults, who make games for adults, for sale to those who are correctly percieved as adults. I really dig the fact that the heroes are almost never the heroes of their own tales, and that the politically savvy and blessed by Lady Luck get the accolades.

    Don't forget Masaharu Iwata

    Sucks that one account that had lossless rips got shut down, enjoy tinny muffled magnificent Mussogorsky-esque music as best you can.
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  • Avatar for radasmada #8 radasmada 3 months ago
    New listener to the podcast, really loving it. Since number 24 a tactics game, my question is have either of you played Disgea? Probably one of the best Tactical RPGs out there. Heavily underrated series unfortunatley. Disgea 5 Complete sold pretty well on switch, and Disgea 1 Complete will also be making its way to the switch later this year. Would love to hear your guys oppinion on this series if any.
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  • Avatar for Ventifer #9 Ventifer 3 months ago
    I've always liked the look of Tactics ogre. I love tactics game overall with Disgaea 5 being one of my faves at the moment. I've also been hooked SRW X lately as well though. I may have to pick Tactics Ogre up on ps vita now.
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  • Avatar for Gamer-Law #10 Gamer-Law 3 months ago
    Cannot wait to hear@nadiaoxford’s thoughts on Octopath Traveler. Nice to know that US Gamer’s review of OT is in good hands.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #11 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    I have not played this game, but I've been getting into strategy RPG recently and I do have a very dusty, unopened Vita case (the Vita is clean, it's in the case). I'm thinking with all this gushing I might have to give this one a shot.

    I am disappointed to hear that Dark Souls and Zelda will not have a place on this list. I think if it's something you talk about on the podcast it's something you should focus on for the list. Even if Dark Souls is combat-focused, it's still an RPG in its purest form: a classic dungeon crawl where your character develops how you want them to.

    But it's your list, do what makes you happy. I'll just shave off the last two or three games and pretend like the top 3 are Dark Souls, Breath of the Wild, and Ocarina of Time or something. Also, Rock Paper Shotgun was spot on making Dark Souls number 1. They make good lists, they even put BioShock 2 on their top 50 FPS list, and all the real shooter fans know BioShock 2 is the GOOD BioShock.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #12 riderkicker 3 months ago
    I couldn't get into the PS1 version, especially after spending so much time with Final Fantasy Tactics. When I tried again with the PSP version, I spent about 40 hours on it, until my PSP Go screen conked out. I cannot figure out how to retrieve my save, but considering I actually bought a digital copy on PSN, I will try again... eventually.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #13 riderkicker 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon Can't go wrong for $5.
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  • Avatar for stewartshearer63 #14 stewartshearer63 3 months ago
    I respect this game a lot and loved it on my first play through. I find it hard to replay, though. The battles are too slow, and I don't like how much effort you need to put in just to move your units around the map and perform basic actions.

    The story though... it's so good.
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  • Avatar for Jeremiah-Jones #15 Jeremiah-Jones 3 months ago
    I love hearing about Tactics Ogre. The only things I didn't like about it was I hated grinding skills. Once you get around level 44, you have to start a new type of strategy. It was fun though. It is the one game I miss not having a PSP to play anymore. I just really loved how making the decisions actually had clear impacts when you did them.

    It also took a long time to get to the enemy party though. I like mixing it up in battles quickly.

    I'm playing Ogre Battle 64 now, and I'm still trying to figure out that one. Both are fun though.
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