Tactics Ogre: Reborn

Review: Tactics Ogre: Reborn

Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a turn-based tactical role-playing game and is a remaster of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, which originally launched on Super Nintendo in 1995 and then ported to PlayStation Portable in 2011. Despite the fact that this is a new remaster, the studios reworked the title and made it feel brand new.

I know a lot of people were excited to see how closely Tactics Ogre resembles Final Fantasy Tactics, and that’s because both series share the same producer. Both franchises were produced by Yasumi Matsuno. Mr. Matsuno was behind Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together when he was working for Quest in 1995. He later moved to Squaresoft to produce Final Fantasy Tactics in 1997, Vagrant Story in 2000 and wrote for Final Fantasy XII.

Peace is Threatened

Reborn takes place on the Valerian Isles. Being a centre of naval trade, these islands were for a long time the envy of several peoples. However, one man stood up and decided to put an end to these conflicts: Dorgalua Oberyth. This king put an end to the threats by uniting all the inhabitants of Valerian. This was not a perfect monarchy but, nevertheless, all lived in peace during this period.

After the death of King Dolgare, the country is now divided between three factions: The Bacrum, who are the noble faction of Valeria, the Gargastan, who are the majority of the inhabitants, and the Walsta, who are however few in number. Unfortunately, like so many stories, in the aftermath of the death of a monarchy, war is always imminent.

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In this title, you will live the adventures of Denam, his sister Catiua and their companions who are Walisters. You will try to survive several bloody confrontations and you will play, in spite of yourself, an important role in this conflict. What role will you decide to take? That’s up to you.

What is Tactics Ogre: Reborn?

Tactics Ogre: Reborn is, as mentioned at the outset, a turn-based Tactical RPG. This style of gameplay with a lot of customization offers you a way of playing that is all your own.

With many locations to visit, the seemingly small map is in fact much more complex than it appears. Navigation is very simple as you simply choose where you want to go and movement is automatic. You can revisit the so-called conquered areas, in blue, but as soon as you enter a combat zone, in red, the combat will start. You cannot pass over a red zone without finishing the fight.

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Some areas, such as villages and castles, are separated into sub-areas allowing you to choose your path to get to your destination.

Amongst the customization choices, you have a huge choice of character classes, equipment types, spells, and items at your disposal. All of which have different effects, advantages, and disadvantages in the field. You will need to analyze the terrain, the enemies, and your own team in order to fight well.

What’s Changed In Tactics Ogre: Reborn?

Let’s start with the basics: the menus are simple and easy to understand. The menus are easy to navigate and are also clearly indicated when you put your pointer over them. You can use your joystick to navigate like a mouse or use the arrows to choose directly. From this point of view, nothing could be easier.

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The controls throughout the game are just as simple, easy to handle, and puzzle-free. Using the directional arrows is still the best option, in my opinion. During battles, the camera can be switched to either slightly change the angle of view or even have a top view, which makes it easier to see the different stages.

The choice of controls is also very clear. During battles, the movement distance of the characters is very well displayed as well as the active zones of the different actions whether it be attacks, use of items or spells.

What is important in any tactical game is of course to know the order of action of the characters. Of course, apart from the main characters, the other characters look very similar on the field. With the character action bar at the bottom of your screen, however, you will be able to determine the order very well as the enemies are indicated in red and yours in blue. Just remember to pay attention to the order or you could be in trouble pretty quickly if you don’t plan your tactics properly.

As for the new features in Reborn, there are some interesting and useful new mechanics. One of them is charms. These charms are items that you can use to either change a character’s element or give them experience to level up or even some charms that will increase your stats.

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Another new mechanic, and this one I love because it adds a lot of spice to the fights, are the boost cards. These cards appear randomly in the battle area as the battle progresses and let me tell you, they are not benign. Featuring several types of boosts such as attack+, magic+, critical+, etc., you want to get your hands on them before your enemies take advantage of them as these boosts are major in combat and could turn the advantage for the opponent quite quickly.

In addition to having these bonuses appear on the map, you’ll also have items left behind by defeated enemies who, on a few occasions, may drop a special card that will permanently increase stats for your characters.

If we’re talking about planning, let’s go with your own team. The further you progress in the story, the more units you can bring into battle with you. In order to balance your team, you will need to choose your classes carefully. Indeed, the choice of classes is very large. You can choose between several types of mages, melee allies, archers and so on. Building a team with enough guards, attackers, and healers would be a good start but you don’t want to change classes too often. There is a limit on the number of times you can change because the “classes” are in the form of cards. Fortunately, these cards can be bought in the shop for basic classes such as mage, archer, soldier, etc. But some advanced classes can have a number of cards that can be used for different purposes. But some advanced classes may have more than a limited number.

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Each class has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, a knight in heavy armour will not move as far or as high as a flying or light unit but will have much more resistance and defence. A mage will be powerful in attack but weak in life and defence, etc.

You’ll have plenty of choice in forming your own team depending on the terrain, the type of enemies and even the weather, because yes, the weather can affect the accuracy of your shots if it’s raining or even reduce your movement if it’s snowing and so on.

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Each class can equip different weapons and armours which have several advantages depending on the class chosen, whether you choose hand-to-hand or ranged attacks, whether you choose to have more physical or magical characters, everything is there. A rather distinct example: what to choose between a mage and a sorcerer? Mages are stronger in magic than bewitches but bewitch can equip a weapon that mages can’t, which gives them a much greater magical range, so they can attack further. Or choose between a warrior who hits harder than a guard but who can use healing spells, etc. You will have to try several times before you find the team that suits you best. This is the kind of choice you will have to make.

Everything is divided into different types. For weapons, you will have several types of weapons such as one-handed swords, two-handed swords, axes, bows, etc. Each class can use several types in general.

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Another new feature in Reborn is that there are no longer any requirements for equipping your characters other than class. You can equip anything you find upon acquisition without having to worry about their levels.

As far as spells are concerned, you have a whole range of spells depending on the element of the spell. Depending on the class you choose, you will be allowed certain spells and certain elements. There are four types of spells, attack and alteration spells, healing and enhancement spells, and so-called automatic spells which allow certain close combat units to add an element to their weapon without using magic points and which are activated randomly, which is where automatic comes from, and summons. You also have several different elements like fire, water, ice, etc. Each element has its strengths and weaknesses. Each element has its strengths and weaknesses and using the same element can sometimes be beneficial as each time you use an elemental spell; you can decrease the resistance to that element for your enemy. There are also three categories of spells but these are reserved for specific classes such as ninjutsu for ninjas and war dances for master swordsmen.

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In addition to spells, as your character levels up, they will learn ‘techniques’ based on their chosen class. Again, you will have different techniques such as weapon techniques that will make this guy stronger and make you learn special attacks like finishers, usable techniques that cost MP but are very powerful or automatic techniques that act randomly and that can boost you or weaken opponents. These techniques are class specific so you can’t use a knight’s techniques on a mage BUT, as this is based on the character’s level, if you change class, the new techniques will be the same level. These techniques have been revamped in Reborn compared to its predecessor, so they are more useful than ever.

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Tactics Ogre: Reborn doesn’t allow you to be too powerful either. Indeed, apart from the basic equipment (weapon, shield, armour, helmet, glove, boots, jewellery), you will only be able to equip your characters with four items, such as herbs, orbs or potions, as well as only four spells from a long list and, finally, four techniques from a long list. Again, you will have to make choices even within a single class. As a bonus, you can acquire the famous ‘finishers’ mentioned earlier. These are learned when you use the technique corresponding to the desired weapon. For example, the spear technique will give you spear finishers after every ten levels.

Another way that the game will not allow you to overqualified is the team level limit, as throughout your progression you will have a limit to which your characters can level up. No matter how many times you replay a fight, you will not be able to level up higher than the team level. Fortunately, however, any excess experience is transferred to charms.

The last new feature for Reborn is that you will be given side quests during your fights. If you succeed in these objectives, you will be entitled to good rewards such as weapons, advanced classes and much more. Then, as a new option before a fight, you will be able to check the map and see what the terrain and enemies look like, allowing you to modify your team if necessary.

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Also, there is now a line of sight. This line of sight allows you to really see the trajectory of your spells and ranged attacks, which will prevent you from hitting an ally or an obstacle in your field of vision. The shops have also been improved. You’ll be able to buy anything you want, recruit new characters from all the shops, craft new items, sell tamed creatures and more.

The A.I. has also been greatly improved. Not only will your enemies adapt better to the environment and situations, but even your allies, if you put them in A.I. mode, will be more intelligent. If they take too much damage, they’ll retreat, try to get the bonus cards, look for the best position to strike, etc. Really, it’s a great improvement from that point of view!

And finally, there are no more random combat encounters on the map. It’s all been replaced by battlefields that you can manually choose to trigger battles to level you up.

Tactics Ogre: Reborn

Verdict

Tactics Ogre: Reborn is one of the most impressive remakes of some time. Square Enix has had an incredible year of releases in 2022 and that streak continues with the launch of Reborn. While those who have played the PSP port may second guess picking this port up, it is a commendable improvement but one designed to welcome newcomers.

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation

Recommended
Liked
A brillian narrative made better with a new translation
The multitude of Quality of Life updates added
The gameplay feels incredible even decades later
Didn't Like