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Everything we know about Tactics Ogre: Reborn

The crown jewel of turn-based strategy makes it’s triumphant return November 11!

Strategy role-playing games have been around a long time, but few are viewed with as much reverence as Tactics Ogre. The series initially made its debut on the Super Famicom as Ogre Battle. Tactics Ogre is the second entry in the series originally appearing on the SEGA Saturn and Sony PlayStation, but only the PlayStation version found its way to American shores. Later given an upgraded port to the Sony PSP as Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. So, as we await the return of

Make your move.

Remastering not remaking

Tactics Ogre Reborn is a modern update by Square Enix on the PSP game using higher resolution graphics while maintaining its now classic 2D pixel art. The gorgeous sprite work is a joy to behold, and every tiny detail is rendered with the utmost care. Now imagine all that glory on a large screen rendered in 4K! Leaving the 2D sprites and not going with 3D models is a bold choice but, I feel it’s the right one.

Those are big fireflies!

Yasumi Matsuno was the original director of the game at Quest Corporation which he left after finishing Tactics Ogre. Matsuno went on to develop Final Fantasy Tactics for SquareSoft. The new production team is working with Matsuno to ensure that Tactics Ogre: Reborn is up to his exacting standards.

On top of that, game will also feature a rerecorded soundtrack by its original composer, Hitoshi Sakimoto. Not just a treat for the eyes, your ears will be assaulted with a lush concerto of instruments as you measure every moment of battle. A full orchestra was brought in to rerecorded the original score, and no expense was spared in making this remastered version sound as good as possible.

Combat too is being refined, with an all new interface, and improved AI. Few series will challenge you as much, as the AI will exploit every opening, and will punish hasty decisions, swiftly. Tactics Ogre is one of the more demanding strategy games on the market.

The game will also feature both Japanese and English voice overs, which is much welcomed as there is a lot of exposition. Unfortunately, there will be no online component added to the game.

Grand Political Intrigue

A game of choices, some lead to betrayal.

Our story begins, in the land of Valeria. Following the death of the King Dorgalua Oberyth, our hero struggles against an occupying force, and ends up caught in the middle of an ethnic conflict during a civil war. From here the story takes many twists and turns and some of them depend on the choices you make. There are multiple endings to the game and its eventual conclusion will greatly depend on the player.

Denham Pavel, the main character, will be based on your birthdate. Once you’ve entered your birthdate, stats are determined by a series of questions based on Tarot cards. Tarot cards have long been used for fortune telling and have always been connected to the Ogre series, and they make a welcome return here.

Denham assembles a cast of knights who may even turn from friend to foe based on the decisions you make in the game. Every character has individual stats that levels up through successful battles. Each character class will earn more experience based on their individual class. For example, a wizard would level up his INT more quickly than a berserker. Another update from the PSP version is the way unit leveling is managed. In the PSP version characters leveled by their class, but now they level by unit, giving more of a sense of attachment to individual units.

Additionally, their will now be training battles that will offer specific battles that you can enter into to gain levels. Previously there were only random battles instead of specific locations. Also units cannot be killed in the battles, making leveling much easier this go around.

Class is in session

Also originally there were class or level requirements for items such as armor or healing items. Now you can use anything the moment you obtain it outside of class restrictions such as a knight could not equip a bow for example.

Assemble an army, the way you want!

There will also be changes for various character slots in the game. There will now be: seven slots for equipment, four item slots, four spell slots, four skill slots, and eight finishing blow slots.

Charms are new to the fray this time also. You can find them during battle and them use them on your party members to improve and alter their stats. Charms can raise a unit’s level, grant experience points, permanently alter stats, or even change a unit’s elemental status.

Buff cards are another new wrinkle. You and the opposing force must wrestle to obtain them during battles. They can offer buffs that effect stats for the remainder of the battle. Each unit may obtain up to four stackable buffs during battle making them a force to be reckoned with.

Enter the Grid

Everything takes place on the standard grid overlay battlefield. Select your character and move them within the parameters of the movement allowed. Choose your action, such as attack, magic or item and repeat ad nauseam. It’s a standard setup, but given vast depth by all of the things that must be taken into account.

Battles are not turn-based, but rather each unit has a Recovery Time (RT) that factors in stamina, equipment weight and class. Once recovered a unit make take its turn, thus more agile characters will attack faster than heavy lumbering characters. It’s the little things like this that truly make Tactics Ogre the thinking man’s game.

Also factored into each battle is the elemental system. There are eight total elements in the game: fire, water, wind, earth, darkness, light, lightning, and ice. At the start of the game you are given the chance to appeal to a god for help. Denham’s element will be determined by which god that you appeal to for help at the start of the game. Each element is stronger or weaker against its opposite.

Quite the Tactician

In addition new attacks will trigger from your companions if you use certain skill attacks in their immediate vicinity. This will further broaden your strategies and make teaming up on an opponent, easier than ever.

Furthermore, finishing moves, ninjutsu, and war dances used to require a certain amount of Technical Points to pull off. Now all of those simply require magic points to execute.

Also you’ll be able to save up to five different battle parties, which makes finding the right team to overcome an obstacle, just that much easier.

Rain down punishment on your foes!

In short, Tactics Ogre is a game that requires a time investment. In theory, it will take around 40 hours to beat the game from start to end if you know what you are doing, possibly longer if you are new to the series. If you factor in multiple ending and optional side quests, that could possibly swell to 80-100 hours to see everything!

Orchestrating Magic

You can only imagine how stunning all of this will be when it’s played in a much larger format like a 60’ OLED television, instead of the small PSP screen. Couple that with an orchestrated score and this will be a stunning experience.

There has never been a better time or a more accessible way to experience this revered series for the first time. Preorders are live in many places and Tactics Ogre Reborn from Square Enix will release November 11. It will be available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam.

Andy Schneider

Lifelong SEGA fan ever since the Master System. Avid comic book reader and video gamer. Midwest born and raised. Yakuza, Jet Set Radio and Panzer Dragoon are some of my favorites.
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