Tactics Ogre: Reborn PlayStation 5 Review

Tactics Ogre: Reborn is undeniably one of the greatest TRPGs in the history of this genre.

By RON, Posted 15 Nov 2022

Tactics Ogre is unrivaled when it comes to tactical role-playing games. It's a medieval-themed tactical role-playing game where you play as a skilled strategist in charge of a group of warriors armed with swords and magic. Although it was first made available to consumers all the way back in 1995, Tactics Ogre still manages to wow with both its isometric gameplay and its narrative.

Additionally, Tactics Ogre, a series many had written off as a complete relic, is now a part of this new generation of video games. Despite the many changes that have occurred in the strategy genre since its first publication more than 25 years ago, this game still remains as fascinating as ever. If you're looking for more tactical role-playing, Tactics Ogre Reborn brings back among the industry's most recognizable names. A number of technical improvements have been added to the remake, and the game brings nothing but a delight to the genre fans.


It goes without saying that Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a rough ride from start to finish. It first appeared on the PlayStation, then the PSP, and is currently available in a Reborn version. Yasumi Matsuno, the designer of the Tactics Ogre, clearly intended for players to experience the full severity of war in each fight by making the stakes high with strong, strategically intelligent opponents and a skirmish system that puts the fate of your preferred troops in the balance. It's the kind of game that keeps you glued to the chair, thinking carefully about your next move until you find the one that will bring you victory.

In Tactics Ogre: Reborn, we are sucked into the never-ending wars that rage over the Valerian islands. There they are, the Valerian Islands in the Obero Sea. A hub of commerce since antiquity, but also a battleground for wars that never seem to stop. Dorgalua Oberyth, often referred to as the Peace King, was the guy who finally stopped all of the fighting. He brought the conflicting communities together, and for fifty years, Valeria flourished because of his excellent leadership. However, after his passing, war broke out once again, this time between the aristocratic Bakramer, who dominated the islands, and the populous Galgastans, who made up half of Valeria's population. Also involved in the conflict were the enslaved Walister. Things settled down again, but that didn't last very long.

Denam, Kachua, and Vice, the protagonists of the game planning their own kind of vengeance against the people who have wronged them, in this case, Balcrum's supporters, who are backed by Lodis and his black knights. The very same people who have no qualms about slaughtering innocent people and destroying whole towns. The three protagonists set out on their journey for liberation and, more importantly, the ability to bring the Walsta to other regions and, if necessary, rescue their fellow captives. To that end, they'll rally supporters for the cause and receive aid from rebel commander Duke Ronway, who will send them on specific tasks to help bring his people's cause to victory.


If you have yet to play the original, you won't be lost in the transition, as the core gameplay is rather similar to any TRPG adventure. After the death of the king, Dorgalua. Denam, her sister Kachua, and Vice, an old friend from their youth, join a resistance organization to fight for problems that affect their everyday lives rather than the world's redemption. When faced with a moral dilemma, it's important to remember that there is no clear right or wrong answer and that even seemingly villainous persons have their own honor and reasons. Tactics Ogre: Reborn will reintroduce many people to the joys of JRPGs, thanks to its engaging story, well-rounded characters, and expansive environment that never seems small.

Tactics Ogre is well-known for being a game that requires careful micromanagement and precise decisions. If you want more options, this place has plenty more. We have access to many different class options, we are free to recruit whatever characters we find appealing, we have a number of customization options, etc. Because of this, it is much simpler for novices to get disoriented, which was much more prevalent in the past. The game is able to better illustrate the choices, both via its menu and through the adjustments that have been made, even though there is still an overwhelming amount of complexity.

Despite its best intentions, the game relies too much on narrative flooding. Several times I entered a fight after entering a chase after a target for reasons I couldn't entirely remember. It is nevertheless the case that these heated arguments have a profound effect on the audience. Some phrases are so powerful that they stick with you long after you finish a scenario. The reasons given are articulated with compelling eloquence, and we often witness our hero Denam share heartfelt revelations with individual party members. There will be betrayals. The cutscenes that occur between conflicts continue to include political intrigue.


Every part of Tactics Ogre: Reborn's plot is carefully crafted to provide you with engaging story development and a sense that you're getting your money's worth. Take into account that this is a war game of political infighting. You'll get to know the main characters rather well as the story progresses, and that's an integral part of the whole. The political underpinnings of the story, though, virtually make it such that most of the individual tales just kind of breeze through toward the end with nothing more than interludes. The final findings don't really stand out or have any big moments of revelation or excitement; rather, they're presented quickly, one after the other. The game's last act accomplishes a lot, but it comes at the expense of being told rather than shown the outcome.

The gameplay is very typical of this kind. You'll have greater leeway in constructing your army thanks to more fluidity in character classes, where distinctions between abilities and choices are less strict. Certain characters will have more powerful weaponry or more varied assaults than others. Previously, we needed a particular character level to equip various weapons, but with this update, we can equip weapons at any level. Of course, there are still limitations, but they are easier to accept and comprehend. In addition, they now have the capability of transporting more weaponry than ever before.

If there's anything else worth stressing, it's competence. They form the foundation of the battlefield and can be broken down into four groups. Some are always performed, others provide assistance, some are unique, and the remainder is either special or action. This knowledge is crucial since it determines how the pieces move on the board. The stakes are high in every fight in Tactics Ogre: Reborn, and if you enter a skirmish unprepared or with a less-than-ideal party composition, you might very well meet an untimely end. Some foes are very hard to overcome without the proper tools.


You can access the villages and their associated side objectives through a map you'll uncover as the story progresses. This map covers a big area, yet it's simple to navigate. From this hub, you can decide whether to advance the main storyline, grind your skills, do side objectives, learn essential game mechanics, or engage in battle. You can decide how to approach each conflict and the different activities the characters can do inside it, such as moving, fighting, and utilizing items and abilities. The enemy won't make things easy, and you'll have to fight the same battles again and over, but that's part of what makes this franchise so great. The nature of the game is that even a single encounter might go on for many minutes, so we must remain patient.

The difficulty of Tactics Ogre: Reborn is high enough that even seasoned players of tactical role-playing games will find it difficult. In combat, if you make a mistake or forget something important, you may rewind a few rounds and try again. Because of the many potential courses of action available to you at any one moment, this is very useful. Each turn is a thrilling strategic challenge, but it can be exhausting to assess your choices for every strike, including how to counter the enemy's elemental type, what weapon to employ, and where to stand to maximize your impact. Due to the sluggish nature of fighting, engagements might last more than an hour. Even trying to play more than one at once may be taxing, even if you're having a great time doing it.

You may have as many individuals in your unit as you want, but only twelve can actually participate in the battle. Denam, our protagonist, must be consistently arranged; beyond that, we leave everything up to your imagination. This is made feasible by the fact that new members may be recruited at no cost, and their classes can be altered at will using seals that can be bought. Classic classes such as Warriors, Archers, Magicians, and Healers are featured early on, along with more exotic options like Rune Fencers and Valkyries.


Knights, Dragoons, Witches, etc., are just a few of the occupations you unlock later in the game. However, supporting players with strong class-based roles can also join the team. After deciding on a formation, the next step is to gather the necessary tools. Choose from a variety of weapons, full body armor, and a variety of accessories. A wide variety of automated talents, like pincer attack, HP and MP boost, and many more, will be taught to your characters when they use certain items.

Denam's obstacle is an abyss that challenges his faith at every turn. There is no one individual responsible for what's going to happen; rather, each person must be able to envision a positive future for themselves and work to make it a reality. This not only adds credence to his decision but also draws attention to the precariousness of his situation in light of the larger geopolitical setting. As long as Denam is alive, however, you can always find new recruits to join our group, so you only have to start over if he is killed.

It impacts the game's progress, but gathering experiences is everything but monotonous. Since it was decided to give each unit its own level, inexperienced soldiers may be overwhelmed by more complex battles. Implementing several training techniques will help them improve faster without putting them in harm's way. Although the troops we enlist seem to be nothing more than tools for our plans, we get attached to each and every one of them, and it has been more than once a source of regret to lose them in battle or witness their heroic deaths.


Every fight features optional goals that, when completed, provide access to unique loot and experience boosts. While players may level up their talents via practice fights and side missions, the Union Level is there to guarantee that this isn't absolutely essential. Previously, only the units that made it through the combat would level up, but this has been changed. There are additional story-related limits on the Union Level that can only be passed later on. The game's regard for the player's time is evident in the simplified nature of Reborn's mechanisms for generating new troops and changing existing ones, which eliminates the need for grinding.

It's a fact that Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a challenging game, while the remake included a number of improvements that made the game more approachable, such as an auto-equip and streamlined leveling up for support troops. Moving and acting can be done in any sequence you choose during a unit's turn, so long as you stay within the bounds set by the unit's abilities. Players can get bonuses to their troops from cards that drop as they maneuver their units about the battleground.

These enhancements may increase your character's physical, magical, or critical damage, heal their magic health, or even activate certain passive abilities on your next turn. As these cards provide significant bonuses to both sides, it's crucial that players work hard to amass them throughout combat. There is a maximum of four buffs that can be used at once, and many opponent leaders begin the game with all four boosts already activated.


There are a few more considerations in mechanics that are worth mentioning. When casting a spell, the strength of the spell is determined by the weather and the elemental affinity of the caster. In contrast, the effectiveness of a physical strike is enhanced via practice. Each character has a total of eight slots available for customization, which may be divided between up to four consumables, four spells, four methods, both passive and active, and up to eight finishes. When an opponent is killed, either his items emerge in a bag or a tarot card is revealed that grants players a permanent boost to an ability. Missions often entail removing a boss or other group leader rather than a random assortment of enemies.

Visually, Tactics Ogre: Reborn has been updated, although only marginally. The creative style used to create the characters is stunning, and the character images are top-notch. Having aesthetic choices like a CRT filter wouldn't have hurt, although the graphics appear a little less interesting because of the smoothing effect. All the visuals have been remade in HD without losing their pixelated look in homage to the source material. Since all of the visuals have been upgraded, they now seem a lot crisper as the game is being shown in high definition on a 16:9 aspect ratio screen.

Like the environments, the characters have been run through a smoothing filter, which seems about appropriate; nevertheless, the pixel-art vibe from the original games has been toned down a little bit; whether or not you like that is, of course, a matter of choice. In the same vein, the music for this version was recorded live, which lends it an air of quality at the appropriate times. The game's complete voice acting is another great feature, along with the excellent music. The English voice cast does a fantastic job evoking the game's tale, with each actor bringing just the perfect amount of passion to their part.


Aside from being a great overhaul, it also preserves the game's highly enjoyable fighting with hard difficulties, as well as an engaging plot that keeps players interested as it develops. Despite its length and difficulty, Tactics Ogre: Reborn is never tiresome. The game's later stages suffered from missions that were either too lengthy or too repetitive, but the game as a whole was well-balanced and enjoyable throughout.

It's incredible to think about how detailed the game must have been back in 1995 when it was initially published. Among the technical enhancements, like support for high-definition displays, improved audio experience, etc., are a number of improvements that fans will enjoy. Even if there were a few hiccups with the visuals and gameplay, Tactics Ogre: Reborn's technical decisions were sound, making it undeniably one of the greatest TRPGs out there.

Sarwar Ron (@SarwarRon)

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Switch
Publisher(s): SQUARE ENIX
Developer(s): Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Genres: Turn-Based Strategy
Themes: Tactical, Role-Playing, Adventure
Release Date: 2022-11-11

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