(N64 / Nintendo 64)

Game Review

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

One of the N64's only strategy titles, but also the best

Last year, the Virtual Console brought us Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, the "fifth" title in the Ogre Battle series (although none of the first four chapters in the story actually exist.) An incredibly rare game, it was also one of the best strategy titles on the SNES, allowing for an enormous deal of micro-management if you so desired. It had many fans who still think it's one of the greatest titles the genre has to offer.

But the fans think even higher of the sequel. Person of Lordly Caliber follows on where March left off, and is thus the sixth game in the series. As Magnus Gallant, a recent graduate of the Palatinean Army, who is assigned to protect the upper classes in the southern region of his land. He quickly discovers that things aren't quite like the rich people make it out to be: the lower classes are seriously oppressed, and so he decides to join them instead.

The basic gameplay remains unchanged from the previous entry. In almost every mission, your goal is to defeat all enemies and liberating the strongholds they've captured. To do this, you must send out groups of units from your headquarters, and then command them to walk around the field, to explore areas for hidden items, fight enemies or seize strongholds. You can send out any number of squads, but it's usually a good idea to keep at least one or two at your HQ: if it's captured, you instantly lose, so keep some units behind as defense. Enemies aren't visible until you're close to them, so you'll never know if one of them secretly sneaks up on your base!

While running around on the map, time will also pass. Certain units might perform better during the day or the night, so if you have one of them, keep an eye on the current time. If you walk around for too long, you'll also get tired (who can manage to stay up for two days and not get tired?) and will have to set up camp for a while. Units can also rest in captured strongholds, allowing them to regain HP.

Your unit squads are where the game's strategic element comes into play the most. Each is made up of a 3-by-3 square, and allows you to place five units on it. You need to choose very carefully what to place where; for example, it's highly recommended to place characters with swords and other highly damaging attacks at the front, as placing them further back lowers their damage. Depending on which row you place units in, you might even alter their attacks significantly – healing spells, for example, can be used twice in one turn if the healer is in the back.

On the other hand, you'll want to have long-range fighters like archers and mages in the back, so that enemies are less likely to hit them and put their low amount of health in danger. Putting units in front of others also automatically makes whichever unit is in front defend the one behind – close-range enemy fighters will not be able to attack the shielded units until the one in front is dead. Some units, like dragons, actually count for two, so if you decide to use them, you'll have to decide unit placement even more carefully.

Each squad also has a leader you can assign. Protect him/her at all costs, because if a team's leader dies, the remaining units become unable to do anything! Thankfully, the same goes for enemy squads: defeat their leader and you can take out what remains with ease.

But the unit customization doesn't end there. Each individual unit can also be equipped with a variety of items, which you can either find, receive from defeated enemies or buy from shops. Units can also change into more powerful classes if they level up sufficiently, but you'll need specific armour and weapons to let them.

Although this all sounds quite complicated, in reality it's actually quite easy to manage everything. The menus are easy to navigate and the game includes a tutorial if you'd prefer to be told what everything does rather than experimenting on your own.

Although organizing everything can go quite in-depth, actual battles couldn't be easier. You don't actually make any of your units attack, because they all act on their own accord. The only thing you can do is tell them which enemies to attack. You can let them attack the weakest, the strongest, the leader, or simply let them act on their own instinct. In most cases you'll want them to attack the leader, though, because, as said, taking him/her out will render the remaining units extremely vulnerable!

As you might expect from a game like this, between missions, you'll get a scene that advances the storyline. There's quite a lot of them, because there's no less than 43 different missions in the game! You can't play them all in one playthrough, however, as some will only be available by making certain specific decisions when asked something. There's also plenty of little sidequests you can try to solve within other missions, which is usually worth your time – it tends to get you unique items or, in some cases, even unique units.

The game's graphical style is quite odd. The map screen is 3D with 2D characters on it, but almost every other part of the game, like the story sequences and battles, is exclusively 2D. It's a bit odd seeing 2D on a mainly 3D console, but it works and fits the game quite well. The soundtrack is equally nice, with a ton of different songs befitting any given situation.


Ogre Battle 64 is a very engaging and deep strategy game. It's got a metric ton of content and will keep you busy for weeks on end, trying to clear all missions or maybe simply trying to recruit one of those elusive hidden units. It doesn't really change the formula its predecessor started, which is a good thing: it works perfectly, and, with the strength of the N64, makes this an even better game and one of the best strategy titles ever made.

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User Comments (71)



Mama_Luigi said:

This game doesn't look that good (imo). But that 10/10 is making me a little bit temped.



PopeReal said:

If you have any interest in strategy or rpgs you have to check it out.

Not for everyone, but still my favorite N64 game of all time.



Reala said:

Playing this for the first time, and am very impressed, obviously not a pick up & play kinda game, tutorials themselves took a while to get through, a little too much info to take in right away, but stick with it and its really rewarding.



Wolfcoyote said:

Oh yeah...it's me. The man that constantly posted that when and if Ogre Battle 64 was released, then it would be my last Virtual Console game as all of my needs for classic entertainment will have been met.

I didn't expect a 10/10 from NL, but I have to stress that if you put enough time into understanding the intricacies of combat, unit enhancement and flanking the enemy then you'll get much more than $10.00 USD out of this title. The game includes a entertaining script, mellow music, decent characters and a lot of hidden depth. I'm glad that Nintendo allowed this game to be released on the VC.

I even saved my original strategy guide (Prima) all of these years so that I could reuse it. I'm going to download the game right now.



ueI said:

I don't much like strategy games, but this one seems to be of lordly caliber.



Shiryu said:

What a game, what a game! I always wanted to pit this against Final Fantasy Tactics back at the time, but this was never released in Europe (sad how I tend to say that a lot) so it took me all these years to be able to finally play it! Absolutely mandatory! Make sure you also visit the SNES original

PS: On a related happy coincidence, AGTP Translations is about to release "Tactics Ogre" English translation for the SNES!



SwerdMurd said:

It's a fantastic game. I feel like I want to find a reason it doesn't deserve 10/10...but I just can't. Both the SNES game and this one are two of my all-time favs. And the sprite work is STELLAR on this game--proving that all good 5th-gen sprites weren't resigned to Saturn games...just most of them

@shiryu - dunno what took them so long--the work was done on the PS1 version over a decade ago. Seems like just a simple case of copy/replace (TO is a great game too)



Rerun said:

SRPGs are not for everyone. But if you enjoy the genre then I guess this is a must have. I'll play the game and I'll see if it's worth the 10/10.



Mik said:

I love how this article was released at exactly 12:00am on April 1st... makes you think...



RowdyRodimus said:

Nope, no way, ain't happening. There is no way this is a 10/10 game. From what is said in the review, then it should be a 9/10 which states: "A game that scores a nine should be considered a must buy for fans of the genre."
Based on a 10, from the wording everyone should have the game because it is a genre defining title. If Metroid isn't a 10, since it defined the Metroid style of gameplay that is still used today, then there isn't anyway this game should be a 10 since other games have done the same things and in some cases better.

Sorry, I don't complain about review scores here, but this one just rubs me the wrong way for some reason. It's a good review, but I really don't think the score is justified by it.

I mean no disrespect to the fans of the game or Marcel who provided a great review but a 10 is almost sacred.To give it to this when other genre defining games haven't gotten it just makes it feel undeserved and given with more of a fans view than a critical one.



Bankai said:

There is no way this is a 10/10 game - it's wayyyyyy too niche to be a "must have" for anyone but RPG and Strategy fans. If this was "RPGandStrategyReviews.com" then yes, it would be a 10/10 game, because the only people on that site would be RPG and Strategy fans, but this Website has a broader audience, and this game simply won't appeal to 95% of gamers.



bro2dragons said:

DANG! Fire Emblem is my favorite Nintendo series, but i've yet to play an Ogre Battle.... looks like this is number 1 on my to-get list now. CAN'T WAIT! THANKS!



pixelman said:

WOW, that 10 just slapped me in the face. Definitely going to download this sometime.



mattnd2007 said:

this game was freaking awesome back in the day. i never actually owned it, but i think i rented it 2 times. i didn't beat it though(i was pretty young and didn't understand everything that was going on, plus the game is really really long).



Linkuini said:

Actually, Rowdy Rodimus, I interpreted "genre-defining" as a word applied to a game considered one of the best that a genre has to offer, rather than inventing the genre in the first place, and that seems to be this game's level of recognition. As such, while I'm not a strategy buff myself (I get headaches trying to remember how castling works in chess ), this game would probably be the one that would convince me to dip my toe in the genre. That's the kind of game that deserves a 10, I think.



Wolfcoyote said:

@BlackFira - It's Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. This game makes several references to the SNES title, with a number of returning characters. One of the supporting characters in OB64 is the daughter of the antagonists of the SNES game.



ChaosValentine said:

I just got a points card, saw this game out and I want to get it but im still kinda on the fence....I absolutly LOVE Rpgs and SRPG's but Im still kind of hesitant for some reason :S

Is it really that amazing? Is the story any good?

Also should I be playing the SNES one first?



greyelephant said:

I would've been dissapointed for anything less than a 9. I agree with the 10. I've always felt this was the best N64 title ever made.

Atlas really outdid themselves on this title. Kudos to them!

Depending on how you fair throughout the game, there's a different ending for each situation.

I've only beaten the game one time. My ending was sad......



CanisWolfred said:

Very unexpected, especially since I recall the original game being more fondly remembered. I was gonna pick it up regardless of the score, it's just nice to know someone else agrees that it would be a worthy purchase.


Give credit where credit is due. Atlus only published it and translated it. Quest was the true mastermind behind this gem.


More often than not, the reviewers here base the scores on individual merits of the game. If it's a really good game, even if it only has niche appeal, they will give it the score they feel it deserves because it's a good game. Besides, obviously if someone doesn't like strategy games and/or RPGs, they're not going to enjoy it regardless of the score. So why mark it down just because it won't be able to appeal to them?

And IMO, a game that is developed by people who know its audience and and will be really appealing to that audience is far better than a game that's supposed to please everybody. You know the old saying, "He who tries to please everybody, pleases nobody".



CoffeeWithGames said:

Does a game have to be perfect to be a 10/10?
I honestly don't know a game that will appeal to EVERYBODY.

A reason I don't like scores on games in general, is it seems the general consensus is, "No game is perfect, no game deserves a 10".
You never know what type of games the reviewer likes, and how that may affect the review score.

I'm not saying this review score is good or bad for this game, as I've never played it, but I'm glad to see a 10/10 being put on a game.

For me personally, Rage of the Gladiator is might near a 10/10.



Rhansley64 said:

I'll admit i'm curious now, even do i own a N64 i never had this game a decade ago so definite going to get this as soon as i finished fire emblem shadow dragon on my DS.



ejamer said:

Who cares if it's a 9 or a 10 or an 8? A review score is a subjective valuation, and if you value the game differently there is nothing wrong with that.

For what it's worth, I'm really excited to try this game. It's one that I missed during the N64 days but always wanted to try playing. The only disappointment is that there have been so many great games on VC/WiiWare lately that I'm out of points...



Bankai said:

@ Mickeymac - the problem with gaming scores is that they are a sales recommendation. A 10/10 says "This is a must buy" - but at no point whatsoever in that review (even in the body of the review itself) is there any reference to the fact that a massive part of the Wii's audience will not like this game at all.

I feel a 7/10 with a strong warning that you need to be a strategy or RPG buff first to really get something out of this would be more appropriate. To me it's a 10/10 yes, but reviewers are meant to try and be objective, not just describe a game and then give it a arbitary number. Hypothetically, it's entirely possible that someone read this review, see the score, and download it, and end up very disappointed and quite angry at Nintendolife for "misleading them."

Now, that's not what Nintendolife or Marcel wants to do, I'm sure, but a review of an Ogre Battle game that's missing the fact it's not an accessible game at all is missing a big (and important) caveat that needs to be mentioned.



Cognivore said:

If any game deserves an 11/10 score, this is it. I've played it through twice on the N64, each time taking a different path (good guy/bad guy), and both were great plays. Don't sweat the 10/10 score, just buy it and play it to see for yourself.



Bankai said:

Oh for sure, as I said, it's a 10/10 game for me as well (as was the SNES prequel).



I could never buy a game because it got a good review. I've done that before, and always wasted money in the process.



Olorin said:

I won't be buying it if the gameplay is still the same as the SNES game. I'm a big strategy fan, but I found March of the Black Queen to be really boring. The main problem for me was the low amount of strategy and the lack of ingame explanations (I had tons of items with no idea what they did)
I played the last 10 levels or so by doing something else while the enemies just got themselves killed.

So does OB64 improve these things? Are there any item descriptions this time?



Varoennauraa said:

10/10 from me too. I love strategy games, but I don't think this is good strategy game. I'm not even sure, why I like this game so much! Its one of my favorite games ever, and I just got it for the first time!!!



JateGuitar said:

I've been playing this game since it was first released in 2000, and it never gets old. Anything under $20 for this game is a steal. Unless you vehemently hate strategy games or job management, this is a fantastic buy.

@Olorin - Unfortunately, the game, like its predecessor, gets much easier as you progress. A lot of the strategy comes from building effective units, and allocating them properly. The need to choose who fights who and how they should fight becomes much less important once you start wiping enemies in a single battle. As for the items, characters in this game come equipped with actual item slots (i.e Helmet slot, armor slot, weapon slot, shield slot, etc.) which makes it a lot easier to organize. Everything is pretty self-explanatory.



Chunky_Droid said:

@WaltzElf: If people bother reading the actual review, and don't base it just on the score, which IMO deserves a 10/10 as a SRPG for sure, then the 5th paragraph I believe would deter the Wii Sports crowd.

But hey, we all know that not everyone reads reviews, and if they download it and be disappointed, well it's a lesson learned



Kirk said:

I'm sure I tried this and got confused as to what I was supposed to do almost immediately, or something like that...

Actually...now that I think about it, maybe it was the SNES version I played...



Sean_Aaron said:

I've still got the SNES version uncompleted on the back-burner, once I've finished that I'll be getting this for sure, and wow, 10/10? Wow!



Olorin said:

@JateGuitar: Thanks! Sounds like there are at least some improvements. Still, I'd rather buy Shining Force 2, which seems to be much more interesting to me. (I liked Shining Force 1 a lot better than Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen)



WiiLovePeace said:

Wowza, I'd never heard of this game before & wasn't going to buy it because of the name (Ogre Battle 64? Pass ) but 10/10? I'll download it just for the score (that plus I'm up for a strategy game) & use the tips littered throughout the review - thanks!



bestbuck said:

@Willy105 Good point.
Funny how this game is $10 in the US but 12euro in Europe the equivalent to $16. "2010 Nintendo try to rip of Europeans Again."



Drake said:

As others have already pointed out, a game doesn't necessarily have to appeal to everyone to garner a 10/10. I think it's pretty clear if you read the review that if you don't like strategy games, you might not like this, because there's a lot of character tweaking and other micromanagement involved.

I personally don't really like Fire Emblem, which is also more in-depth than my favourite strategy titles (Advance Wars, Shining Force), yet somehow I still love this game.



niner said:

Oh the drama for awarding a game a perfect score. Either way, I'm all over this game. As soon as I finish the SNES prequel I'll download and enjoy this title.



Travenous said:

Awe man... I love this game. If there's any title I've played as much as I have with EarthBound this would be it. I really hope all of you who've never played this one before to give it a try, you don't exactly need to play through the SNES OB to get the full enjoyment here. Great storyline, HUGE game (you're gonna spend up to at least an hour on many of the missions, plus all the extra time it takes to customize and train your units) and a wonderful replay value - there's no possible way you'll do everything the first go 'round. Perhaps if this gets a great number of downloads, Square Enix would develop a new title for DS...?



plankton88 said:

Maybe its just me, but I remember tracking this game down for the N64 a few years ago. It set me back about $30. I played it for maybe 20 minutes, and just got really bored. Just not my kind of game.



MmBuddha said:

Your review certainly doesn't imply a 10/10, the score came as a complete surprise when I reached the end. Judging by how you describe it's merits, I would have guessed an 8/10 at best.



vdallos said:

Really good game, maybe not a 10 in my list but sure a 9 because of the atmosphere and game play...if you like rpgs and tactics..sure 9.6 rounded 10.
In the cartridge of N64 is very expensive and collectible...(US50-150) but now in 10USD i can play it for sure



jazzydude said:

meh rpgs are not my thing but this game looks interesting. i might download it.btw 10/10????!!!!! should be 9/10 imo



Digiki said:

I feel a 7/10 with a strong warning that you need to be a strategy or RPG buff first to really get something out of this would be more appropriate.

But that's a terrible way to review something. By trying to please everyone, no one will be pleased. By that logic nothing should get above 7 as no genre is fully embraced by all.

Edit: I'd prefer reviewers to rate games based on how good they are, rather than by how many demographics that they appeal to. Also a 7 has some unjust ramifications, it'd turn off some strategy fans as they'd see it as short of greatness, as well as turning off people on the fence as the score is nothing special. With the current score there are still people who have said they won't buy it since the genre doesn't appeal to them, I like to think that most people would be at that level of common sense, instead of below.

meh rpgs are not my thing but this game looks interesting. i might download it.btw 10/10????!!!!! should be 9/10 imo

imo complaining about the score of a game you've not played is something silly people do.



pixelman said:

I totally agree with Digiki. The score should reflect the quality of the game. The written review should point out any reasons why you might not like it.



Alphack3r said:

While it may seem a bit overrated at a 10, don't kid yourself, this game is seriously amazing! If they made a sequel today, even if it was a full blown rehash, it would be up there w/ Little Kings Story & beyond! Of course, you are talkin' to a guy who played Age of Empires (the first one) exclusively for the first 4 or 5 years of his gaming life! lol I always appreciate a game that lend to good strategy.



starcrunch061 said:

Yeah, I'm with Alphack. I don't think this game merits a 10/10. because there is no such thing as a perfect game. But this title ranks with Final Fantasy Tactics, and that's about the highest praise I can give to any SRPG.

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