Tactics Ogre: Reborn Review: A tactical masterpiece

Tactics Ogre: Let’s cling together is one of those great games that eluded me when it was first released in 1995. I didn’t even know it existed until I discovered it Final Fantasy Tactics during that post-Final Fantasy VII era where I would buy pretty much anything with Squaresoft’s signature white packaging and rarely be disappointed. Still, Final Fantasy Tactics stands above the rest as one of my favorite games of all time. Unfortunately, that also meant I overlooked it when both games got enhanced ports for the PSP Tactics boogeyman again for a rematch Final Fantasy Tactics again.

Tactics Ogre: Reborn makes my haphazard dodging of this game accidental. This remastered version makes it playable on modern consoles for the first time. It happens to be debuting the same year that the strategy RPG genre is experiencing a resurgence, led by Square Enix’s new game Triangle Strategyand the quality of life improvements and fine-tuning of both gameplay and storytelling Tactics Ogre: Reborn make sure a newcomer might not realize that the original game predates it Triangle Strategy with more than 25 years.

(Photo: Square Enix)

The reason Tactics boogeyman and Final Fantasy Tactics are often mentioned in the same breath is because boogeyman series creator Yasumi Matsuno led the development of both, and they have many things in common. The turn-based combat that takes place on an isometric grid is one thing, and it’s appeared in plenty of other games since then. What is rare are Matsuno’s stories. Tactics boogeyman couples a grounded fantasy setting with an intrigue-heavy plot, a combination that would define Matsuno’s world of Ivalice, seen in Final Fantasy Tactics, Wanderer storyand Final Fantasy XIII. It’s the kind of story we’re thinking about right now Game of Thronesalthough the original Tactics boogeyman beat the first book in George RR Martin’s fantasy saga to come out by a year. Since then, few games have been able to match Matusno for depth or narrative complexity, improved in Tactics Ogre: Reborn through new voice acting and dialogue adjustments.

Matsuno’s games are also known as compact, and Tactics boogeyman is no exception. Combat takes place on the aforementioned isometric battlefields, and correct positioning is key to victory. Put the wrong unit in the wrong place and the enemy will eat them alive. Sneak the right unit into a position where they can attack from behind and watch your enemies fall. Choices made about what gear to wear, items to wear, elemental affinities to emphasize, and moral attitude to lean towards can influence the tide of battle. Tactics Ogre: Reborn does its best to make the game’s depth palatable and reduce the amount of grinding and boredom that genre fans were once willing to put up with.

Tactics boogeyman features a task system similar to that in Final Fantasy Tactics (and other Final Fantasy games). Individual units can switch classes during the game as long as players have the correct item in their inventory to trigger the transformation. In the previous versions of the game, players leveled up those classes rather than individual units, meaning if you wanted to give that cool sounding ninja class you just unlocked a try, you’d have to put in some effort to level up a character. to get. to compare with. Tactics Ogre: Reborn that changes. Instead of leveling up classes, players level up characters, which means that a level 15 knight who becomes a ninja remains at level 15. game, means this change dramatically reduces the amount of grinding required without being easily exploited.

This system allows for massive amounts of depth and customization, which naturally complements the game’s branching storytelling and various endings. Where a game with multiple endings often feels like a half-hearted attempt to increase replay value, here it feels more like a welcome justification for playing the game multiple times, focusing on different units and classes.

Another welcome addition is the new option to double the speed of play during combat. Since gameplay is turn-based, this doesn’t increase the difficulty in any way (like how it’s meant to be in Square Enix’s more recent entry into the genre, The DioField Chronicle), but it does make animations go by faster. When you consider how long these battles can go on, the barrier to entry is lowered significantly and it becomes much easier to land play sessions on busy days.

visual, Tactics Ogre: Reborn staying true to the look of the original, keeping the pixelated units that were designed when that style was about to be replaced by polygons, but upscaling them (and the rest of the game) to high definition. Detail-minded purists might notice that the scaled-up units are a bit blurry around the edges, but most players, especially those unfamiliar with the game’s original look, probably won’t be bothered by it.

Though I missed it then, Tactics boogeyman was by all accounts a pinnacle of its genre when it first debuted. The game has aged well, especially with Tactics Ogre: Reborn‘s improvements, and remains an incredibly immersive, engaging game with almost unrivaled storytelling and gameplay. Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a masterful remaster of a game that was already a masterpiece. It should not be missing.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Tactics Ogre: Reborn is now on sale for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC. It was rated on a PlayStation 5 with a rating code from the publisher.

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