Strategy role-playing games have been around a long time, but few are viewed with as much reverence as Tactics Ogre. Earlier this year, Square Enix announced that game’s revival in the form of Tactics Ogre: Reborn. And while it would be easy to simply say, “play the original,” to get ready for the remaster, that would be too obvious. Instead, here are five other strategy RPGs that should help get you ready to dive into Tactics Ogre: Reborn in November!
1. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
My personal favorite on this list, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a solidly SEGA-made strategy RPG with mixes in personal strife in a setting not unlike World War I. Different in tone, as it’s a military-themed tactical role-playing game, but yet it still involves a ton on political strife. Consequently, it strikes a serious tone, despite its anime appearance.
Welkin Gunther is the main character and he takes control of the Gallian Militia in an effort to defend his homeland. As well a petroleum like substance called Ragnite Ore comes into play. Additionally it’s very different in the aspect of direct movement of the character using actual real-time movement. Also, I haven’t mentioned, the involvement of a tank into the proceedings.
Additionally, it employs an anime style story which is a little strange considering the serious subject matter. Irregardless, it succeeds in drawing you into its story and you really pull for your little ragtag band to succeed. Graphically too, it’s a stunning game. It employs a stunning technique called CANVAS to make everything appear to be sketched using colored pencils.
The first in the series would appear on the Sony PlayStation 3. Two subsequent sequels appeared on PSP, with the latter only appearing in Japan. The original would then be remastered for Playstation 4, and fourth entry also appearing there and Nintendo Switch.
2. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
Remade for the PlayStation Portable and given a new moniker Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. Square-Enix made a great game even better, with added characters, new cutscenes, and new job classes.
Players take control of Ramza who is caught up in a civil war, while an ancient evil plots to take over the land of Ivalice. Of noble birth, Ramza is forced to confront his classist views when his commoner friend starts a revolution. Not to mention that the setting Ivalice, is still used in Final Fantasy games to this day.
There is heavy carry over from Tactics Ogre, and this game could almost be its brother. Most of the gameplay and systems are carryovers. Even throwing stones and the direction you face, owing their lineage to Tactics Ogre. Graphically it is very similar to Tactics Ogre, with well animated sprites moving around the grid, casting vibrant spells.
Sequels would later be released for the Gameboy Advance, but they could never measure up to the greatness of the original. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions is available now on Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
3. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Hell awaits, literally. NIS America‘s seminal title features, a rotating cast of underworld characters plotting to take over the world, while defeating an even greater evil, Disgaea’s hilarious story is one of its main draws. It employs comical anime cast, with only Laharl, Etna, and Flonne as the only characters that appear in every game. Consequently, Disgaea is known too for make the Prinny into a sort of mascot character. These penguin looking things are actually evil souls trapped in that body and made expendable to the Netherworld’s bidding.
One thing that Disgaea is known for introducing into the strategy genre is the ability to stack characters and throw them across the levels to close the distance. Also every character has it’s actions set before ending the turn and then the characters carry out those actions in turn.
Also, procedurally generated worlds existed inside of every item in the game so you could level up any item in the game, oftentimes to ridiculous proportions. A level one healing potion could become a level ninety-nine potion with enough work.
With great graphic design, a humorous story, thought provoking action, and endless replay Disgaea is a gem. Disgaea is available on just about any platform including Windows, Mac, Linux, Switch, PlayStation, Android, and iOS.
4. Shining Force
Shining Force, SEGA’s premiere strategy RPG series for a good number of years. With titles that run across a wide variety of platforms. The initial entry was for the SEGA Genesis, with a sequel to follow. The series would then make an appearance on the SEGA CD (which will be included in the SEGA Genesis Mini 2) and even the SEGA Game Gear would receive entry in the series.
The pinnacle of the series for me personally was with Shining Force 3 on the SEGA Saturn. Criminally the west never received the final two chapters of Shining Force 3 due to the low sales of the Saturn in the west.
A novel idea at the time, your progress in the first chapter carried over into the next two chapter of the game. Additionally characters that you saved in one game, could later join your party in following chapters. Made by well regarded folks at Camelot, Shining Force 3 would help set a new standard in strategy RPGs for years to come.
A criminally underrated series. It’s a crying shame that SEGA hasn’t done more with the series in recent years. They tried on Saturn with Shining Wisdom which wasn’t strategy but more of a Zelda clone. Add in Shining the Holy Ark which returned more to the original dungeon crawl roots of Shining in the Darkness. On PlayStation 2 and 4 SEGA tried with Shining Force Resonance which was more 3rd person action adventure.
You owe it to yourself to try one of the strategy games in the series, they really do still hold up today.
5. Fire Emblem
A series that had very little presence in the west until Fire Emblem for GameCube in 2003. The title refers to a royal weapon or shield used to represent the power of war and dragons. The series is long revered for its tactical strategy prowess.
Series characters Roy and Marth achieved new found fame in the West with their appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series. Nonetheless, it has long been a revered series in Japan as far back as Famicom days.
One of its major contributions to the genre, this series introduced permanent death to the strategy genre. A character once felled in battle, could not be revived. That character was simply gone. Later games in the series would give the option to toggle this feature off. Still purists claim it’s the only way to play the series. Paper, rock, scissors style gameplay was an early precursor that the many series would also adopt. Wherein, one element would be stronger versus its weaker opposite.
Past Fire Emblem games too, added in the partner system that you could advance that through the battlefield. By attacking in synchronicity with other members of your party, you could develop a bond and strengthen that bond.
A new game, Fire Emblem Engage was just announced for the Nintendo Switch so there is absolutely no better time to catch up on this fantastic strategy series.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn storms out this November!
Tactics Ogre: Reborn launches physically and digitally on November 11, 2022 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. You can also pre-order the game here. To learn more, you can also check out our detailed article that spells out everything we know about the game so far.
What do you think about these five other strategy RPGs? Are there games I missed? As always, let us know what you think down below!