The original Terra Battle released three years ago, and many were pleased with how the title brought unique strategic gameplay to mobile devices. Now, Terra Battle 2 has released, and I'm sure you're wondering how Mistwalker and Silicon Studio's newest game stacks up to the original. There are a few more changes in Terra Battle 2 from the original than you may expect, and while not all of these changes are for the better, there's some potential for improvement.
One change for the better for Terra Battle 2 is how the story is handled. While the original Terra Battle did have a plot, it went a little off the rails after a while and due to the gacha nature of the game, there were no characters to really attach to. In Terra Battle 2, we have an actual cast of characters to follow, as well as planned weekly chapter updates to move their stories along. This is far better than before, as it makes the plot a bit easier to follow along, and also gives the players to care about it. Additionally, missions in the Story Mode do not require the use of stamina, so you'll never be stopped in the middle of a chapter. Just to note, Terra Battle 2's plot is separate from the original Terra Battle - there are a few connecting elements here and there, but it's ultimately a new world and story.
Granted, not everything about this new Story Mode is perfect. One of the biggest updates in Terra Battle 2 is the introduction of a world map. Each chapter, the characters will make their way across the map, and you can run into enemies (and have them run into you) to get into fights. Encounters are a bit different from the original Terra Battle as in the Story Mode, instead of well-placed enemies and characters, it's really more of a cluster of low-level foes that your characters can cleave through with no effort if you can position them right.
To help account for this, there's one big change to the Terra Battle combat system—you can now push enemies around on the battlefield in addition to your allies. Those that played the original Terra Battle will know that actually makes a huge change in strategies, but for those that haven't (and might have missed the tutorial because of the prompt's odd wording), I'll explain a bit further, and this video from YouTuber ExiaQuanta425 will help with a visual aid:
Battles involve positioning your character so that you flank an enemy from both sides so that you can launch an attack. There are other things to factor in when doing so, like lining up your units for a combo, but this is the base of the battle system and the specifics are another article for another day. However, when your turn comes up you can only pick up a single tile (character) and move them for a short amount of time before your turn is over, which can make positioning difficult.
That's where pushing around tiles comes in. While moving your chosen tile around the field, you can push other character tiles one space at a time into more favorable positions, allowing you to pull off devastating combos more easily. In Terra Battle 2 you can also push non-purple enemies in this same fashion, making it far easier to wipe out the hordes of enemies that will swarm you on the world map.
While you can still try to position your characters and enemies properly on the world map before going into battle, there's a big problem with this that really sours the gameplay of Story Mode. The controls are really finicky and combined with an odd 'magnetism' system that essentially makes it so that your party doesn't always stick together (whether by choice because of some kind of obstacle breaking the bond), it's not really the most frustration-free method of movement. But, while it's the most frustrating change that Terra Battle 2 has made in my opinion, it's also something that can be tweaked in later updates, so I do hope that the developers will work on it in the future.
The other big change that Terra Battle 2 has made over the original is how guardians and the gacha works. With actual plot characters over the original, the guardians aren't as front and center as the original Terra Battle—instead, they are relegated to sub-characters that the story characters can equip. This is good for the sake of the story, and also takes the pressure off getting good gacha characters in order to progress in the story.
There's also another thing you can get from the gacha that will make things easier—equipment. Some might argue that a good piece of equipment is more important than a powerful guardian, as weapons will determine a character's attack range and armor will keep them alive long enough to attack. This also helps to make sure the average player can complete the story chapters, even if they get a bad guardian draw with the gacha. Essentially, there are ways to shore up any weaknesses to make sure you can get through everything but the harder sidequests.
Terra Battle 2 has potential. I find that the problems that come up on the world map and how story battles currently work to be big flaws for the title, and a step down from how the original handles these battles, but Silicon Studio has plenty of opportunities to make things better. It's still worth a play to see if you enjoy the changes, but this sequel is not going to be exactly the same as the original Terra Battle.