Untamed Tactics Review – Needs Taming

Untamed Tactics, a strategy RPG set in the world of the tabletop game Untamed, initially generated excitement with its announcement. Featuring lively anthropomorphic characters and a framing narrative where the protagonist recounts past adventures to grandchildren, my expectations were high. However, the final product falls below the standards it sets for itself.

The standout feature of Untamed Tactics, aiming to differentiate it from other tactical RPGs, is the Parley System. This mechanism lets characters engage in dialogues with foes on the battlefield, attempting to intimidate, sow doubt, or even convert them. While reminiscent of memorable moments in the Fire Emblem series, the execution in Untamed Tactics is disappointing.

In practice, the Parley System mostly functions as a generic “ultimate ability.” As party members take actions, a shared meter fills, and when full, Parley activates. Players are presented with three options, ranging from reasonable (threatening an enemy to lower their stats) to absurd (interrupting the fight to sell them a trivial item for coins). The effectiveness depends on the foe’s randomly assigned personality.

Despite potential for engaging dialogue, the Parley System lacks depth. Each option has only one or two repeated lines, often childlike in tone, which clashes with the game’s theme of redemption for wartime actions.

The underwhelming implementation aside, the Parley System is one of the most overpowered mechanics. Drawing the “Seductive Remark” card enables players to remove an enemy from battle through uncomfortable advances or recruit them if their personality matches. This imbalance reduces gameplay to repetitively filling the meter for an auto-win card.

Untamed Tactics also delves into uncomfortable territory beyond mechanics. The campaign’s narrative accidentally echoes a white savior storyline, where General Greycoat and companions, dressed in early-nineteenth-century European styles, aid a tribal society against a villainous officer. Character portrayals exacerbate colonial undertones, with tribal characters resembling animals from historically colonized regions like Africa and India, while Greycoat’s group consists of rabbits and foxes. Even the chameleon alchemist advisor, Mortimer, is tied to past colonization.

Despite narrative and gameplay issues, Untamed Tactics displays potential in its mechanics. The progression system allows significant customization and character development through abilities, gems, and runes. However, the game feels incomplete, with basic animations and repetitive battles. While new enemy types add variety, the gameplay becomes monotonous due to long chapters and lack of innovation.

The underwhelming project disappointment, especially for those anticipating Untamed Tactics, as the Parley System lacks envisioned depth and charm, reflecting the title’s overall shortcomings.

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