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Tactics Ogre: Reborn Review

Tactics Ogre: Reborn

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Switch, PC
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $49.95 USD – Available Here $69.95 AUD – Available Here


There was once a time where the strategy RPG genre had begun to fade away with only the occasional release from mainstay series keeping it afloat. Now in 2022 we have seen a resurgence of sorts with Square Enix leading the charge with not only two brand new IPs released earlier in the year but now the return of a classic that has seen quite a lot of love over the years, Tactics Ogre: Reborn. Originally released back in as a Super Nintendo game back in 1995, ported to PlayStation in 1998, and then given the full remake treatment in 2010 for the PSP, this game has seen a number of releases and now Square Enix is ready to give it one more. Tactics Ogre: Reborn has seen a number of refinements for its release on modern consoles but does this aged SRPG still hold up?


Denam, a teenager living under the rule of Galgastani after a civil war tore apart the land decades ago, has grown tired of living under the oppressive rule of the government and has planned to join the resistance. Along with his best friend Vyce and sister Catiua the three hatch a plan to attack a Dark Knight squadron that had previously burnt their hometown to the ground. After encountering the group, they quickly realize that they are not the same enemies and instead a band of mercenaries willing to teach them the ropes of fighting as well as assist them in helping the local Duke, giving Denam a chance to gain a foothold in the region before he is fully thrown into the political turmoil and morally gray landscape that is this war torn world.

Going too much further into the story would begin to reveal some of the bigger twists that players can expect to happen fairly regularly as they progress through Tactics Ogre: Reborn as this is a gripping tale that will keep players intrigued from beginning to end and eager for more once the credits begin to roll. That being said, this is a very dense game that throws a lot at the player right off the bat with political infighting, backstabbing, and various nations being mentioned with little context long before they actually come into play in the story. That being said, players will eventually feel as if they are getting the hang of things after a few hours but be ready for at least some confusion regarding everyone’s motivations and the various relationships between certain organizations at start.

On a smaller scale, players will find that the character development in Tactics Ogre: Reborn is handled fairly well with a lot of attention being paid to the three starting characters of course. This means that while large-scale turmoil may be happening around them; Denam, Catiua, and Vyce are almost always affected in some way. A large number of side characters are also given a lot of attention and some solid story arcs but it is a bit disappointing that other characters, including some that can be difficult to recruit, receive very little actual development compared to some of the simpler side characters.

Thankfully even though this is a grand tale of fantasy with dark events happening quite often, this is not a story that players will simply be along for the ride for. Instead players will be able to make a number of key choices throughout the game as Denam that will drastically change how events play out. Certain events may not happen entirely while characters that have been longtime companions will leave forever or simply die on one route while entirely new characters or battles may lay down a separate path. Thankfully, as added in the PSP version, the title offers the ability to revisit the story once the game has been completed once, allowing players to go back to key decisions and make a different choice and play from that route on instead and making other choices along the way while aiming for a different ending from what was originally seen, allowing for far more replayability than one would expect for an SRPG and something vital for fans that want to get the most out of Tactics Ogre: Reborn’s expansive storyline which is taken an extra step further thanks to the addition of voice work for the first time ever..


As usual with a strategy RPG, players will take to battlefields on an isometric field with various elevations to worry about as well as terrain types as difficult terrain can affect various stats. Elevation plays a role in fighting as enemies on top of a cliff may be hard to hit with a ranged attack while attacking from a heightened position will allow players to strike from even further away. While Tactics Ogre: Reborn may not feature some of the more intricate elements that have worked their way into many modern SRPGs it still does feature an element system where every character is strong vs one element and weak vs another and can gain various bonuses while attacking using their preferred element. Along these same lines, flanking an enemy can gain various advantages and certain classes can take advantage of pincer attacks to deal follow-up blows to really lay into an enemy.

Battles are turn-based affairs with players moving their characters around each time it is their turn, choosing to move, use a skill, or attack with everything handled through a clear menu system that can display the turn order, hit chance, and more. It is interesting to note that the game does now offer something that may be a bit controversial for those looking to grind their hearts away as Tactics Ogre: Reborn now makes use of a level cap system that prevents players from pushing their characters far past the levels of the next fight. It is still possible to hit the cap to make certain fights a bit easier but the inability to simply level grind to try and get past any particularly difficult fight is a strange alteration to make. This is especially true when one considers just how varied the game’s difficulty can be, with some encounters playing out fairly easily and suddenly spiking up for the next battle.

To help alleviate a little bit of stress however, Tactics Ogre: Reborn has made swapping a character’s class incredibly easy. Rather than require a complete reset of the character, the player must simply use a consumable class card to swap any character to the class they may need, immediately bringing the character to the same level they were originally and helping to reduce any worry about grinding at the same time. Another element added into this version of the game comes in the form of Buff Cards. These cards will randomly spawn on the battlefield and can really help turn the tides of a fight should players need them. These cards will boost a stat for the character that picked them up for the rest of the fight and occasionally these buffs can be permanent. Sometimes players will need to step a bit out of the way of combat to acquire a card but they are almost always worth it, especially since the enemy can grab these cards and grow stronger just like the player can.

Should players find themselves either making a poor choice such as moving into the attack range of an entire enemy team, accidentally letting the enemies pick up a powerful card, or any manner of mistake then Tactics Ogre: Reborn isn’t afraid to let players have an option to re-do things. Players can make use fo the Chariot Tarot to rewind as many turns as the player needs in order to alter their choices and avoid the previous outcome. In fact, even if the player continues to make a mistake they can still rewind and try yet again, giving players plenty of chances should they find themselves making a stupid mistake.

It is nice to note that the game also offers the ability to speed up combat a bit by accelerating the pace that characters move and unleash skills. This eventually feels like a vital mechanic as some battles in Tactics Ogre: Reborn can become so large scale that they feel a bit more tedious than actually enjoyable. These types of fights can see players needing to waste multiple turns just reaching an enemy and while some battles can feature a fairly impressive number of units on the field at a time, having to have these fights play out in turn-based action can drag the pacing down quite a bit even with the accelerated pace.

Visuals & Audio

With the release of Tactics Ogre: Reborn Square Enix has done their best to try and “improve” the way that the game’s sprites and environments look and the result is something of a mixed bag. The environments that players fight in feel fitting for a game of this era and have been given a proper upscale while the actual character sprites are unfortunately a bit too smoothed out from what many would prefer. These smooth sprites are more than a little rough looking in places and it would certainly have been nice to offer some type of option that would turn off the smoothing filter and restore the more detailed, albeit rougher, sprites that the series was once known for. That being said, while the sprites are a disappointment a lot of attention to detail has been spent to ensure that the character portraits are still as lavish looking as ever with plenty of detail for key characters, be they party members or enemies, and even generic portraits given a lot of care as well.

Previously, even when released on the PSP, Tactics Ogre was never released with voice work of any kind but now with the release of Tactics Ogre: Reborn that has finally changed. Every single line of dialogue in the game’s story has now been given voice work that not only fits the theme of the game but also fleshes out these characters immensely. Before players would watch lengthy scenes reading only text and now can hear these characters speak and add inflection and emotion to scenes that otherwise may have fallen a bit flat. The voice work is even implemented in battle with characters barking as they unleash attacks and suffer damage. Considering the size of the game, the addition of voice work had to be a massive undertaking and it is one that is certainly appreciated. The soundtrack features a great collection of re-recorded sounding music that fits the fantasy theme perfectly with a wide range of orchestral music making this title fit right at home with other Square Enix mainstays.


Tactics Ogre: Reborn may drag in some areas and Square Enix’s attempt at enhancing the character sprites with a smoothing filter have done more harm than good but it still remains an incredible SRPG. Between an engaging storyline that has been made all the more impressive thanks to the addition of full voice work and a number of quality of life updates to make combat feel a bit more fluid, those looking to revisit a classic or maybe try it out for the first time will find this game to be just as impressive as its contemporary rivals.

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Tactics Ogre: Reborn remains an incredibly impressive strategy RPG with new enhancements making it all the better, though Square Enix’s smoothing filter does a bad job with the sprites.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Tactics Ogre: Reborn</i> remains an incredibly impressive strategy RPG with new enhancements making it all the better, though Square Enix’s smoothing filter does a bad job with the sprites.Tactics Ogre: Reborn Review