Tactics Ogre: Reborn review: The classic Tactics RPG shows its age

Tactics Ogre: Reborn review: The classic Tactics RPG shows its age

There is no doubt about the historical significance of Ghoul Tactics: Let’s cling to each other. It’s a basic game – maybe The Keystone Game – In a specific and demanding genre, a tactical role-playing game. It’s also the cornerstone of an impressive career, but unfortunately not fully realized: the career of writer and director, Yasumi Matsuno, who has gone on to make cult classics. Final Fantasy Tactics And the hobo story before igniting midway through the tormenting evolution of Final Fantasy 12A personal and professional setback from which he appears to have not fully recovered.

in Ghoul Tactics: RebornThis 1995 game – which often ranks highly in polls for the best games of all time in Japan – got its second major overhaul. born again It is, nominally, an updated port of the 2010 PlayStation Portable remake (this time for PC, PlayStation 4, 5, and Nintendo Switch). But it also performs thorough, thorough reviews of that tweaking core design elements, adding features, fixing the interface, and restoring artwork. It says a lot about the game’s venerable stature that it received more loving patronage from Square Enix – who bought it ghoul tacticsPublisher Quest in 2002, having hired Matsuno away from them in ’95 – from Final Fantasy Tacticsa game in the flagship Square franchise, whose PSP and mobile versions aren’t nearly as well made.

New players should approach ghoul tactics With caution, though. (I’m one; I’ve known the game well by reputation, but had never played it before I started this review.) Despite the many thoughtful reviews and quality of life improvements, this is still a grueling game that’s slow to reveal itself. As an early masterpiece in a highly specialized genre that has seen a lot of innovation since then, it can feel archaic and inflexible. It is often just a chore.

Tactics Ogre Reborn isometric battle map with several visual units, large avatars on the left and right, and a row of many units across the bottom

Photo: Square Enix

There is a simple reason for this and a less obvious reason. It’s simple about the size of the party. This is a turn-based tactical game where you move the characters around a grid map, playing fantasy combat chess with an enemy force controlled by artificial intelligence. The standard party size for a get-together is between eight and 12 units. Roles take a long time to implement; The opening action round, when engaging the enemy is impossible and you are simply moving each unit to the striking distance, feels like endless. Full fights often take up to half an hour, and the preceding conclusions (which, to be fair, are not very common – it’s a well-balanced game) are painful.

Moreover, the number of units makes it difficult to keep the state of your troops and the general shape of the battlefield in your mind’s eye. While it’s not a great strategy, it’s not an easy game to parse, and battles can feel choppy and fragmented. It is worth mentioning that Final Fantasy TacticsMatsuno, who teamed up with veteran Square designer Hiroyuki Ito, reduced the number of units to a range of four to six, and gained a lot of focus as a result.

to be fair, born again Makes some adjustments to speed things up and ease the mental load. You can assign an AI to take over the actions of party members; There is a speed button. The skill and spell systems have been redesigned to provide access to better skills earlier in the game; Random encounters have been removed from the world map (and replaced with optional training battles if you feel the need to grind), etc. However, despite all this – and despite the 3D map design, which uses verticality to create some interesting spatial challenges – the game struggles to organize the kind of clean, complex logic puzzle that is the tactics genre at its best.

Tactics Ogre Reborn Party List Screen, with avatar, attributes, skills and inventories

Photo: Square Enix

ghoul tactics It is very clear that his design dates back to the earlier days advanced wars A game in a parallel genre but very closely related – it did a lot to illustrate the balance of rock, paper and scissors and the joy of problem-solving in tactical combat. These days, like indie games in the breach or Invisible, Inc. Finding ways to present complex strategic challenges to you much more quickly than ghoul tactics It can be managed, while confusing you paradoxically much less. But maybe it’s not just about age. Probably ghoul tactics It is also, by nature, less of a tactical game and more of an RPG – and what I like to call a background RPG at the time.

A backroom RPG is a game where the real action takes place outside of combat, in the depths of party rolls. (Final Fantasy 12with its competition programming system and game-like license plate, one of the best examples.) ghoul tactics It is the dream of a theoretical craft, with enormous customizability and depth, which born again Deliberately not doing much to simplify. In fact, it eliminates the class level leveling of the PSP version to go back to the single unit leveling. Party members can be recruited from far and wide, their classes can be reset, as well as their basic alignment, which is important in battle. Skills, spells, equipment, and items are customized and developed for each character, and there are ways to craft and combine more powerful equipment to boost stats.

There’s a tremendous amount of inventory and unit management to be done here while developing and refining your favorite team – as well as the satisfaction to have when that squad works effectively in battle. For a certain type of player, this would be heaven. I know I like this kind of thing myself. But in ghoul tacticsAll the busy work on the list seems to drain attention away from a battle system that is already struggling for strategic focus. Combat is definitely the focus of a game like this, and if you don’t sing, all that supports it can feel like a wasted effort.

Isometric view of a medieval town in Tactics Ogre Reborn.  woman says

Photo: Square Enix

But there’s another great design entirely at work ghoul tactics, One that has aged much better and will pay off your investment in the game in spades. It’s the story. Matsuno is arguably a more talented and influential writer than he is determined. Despite their fanciful settings, his games tend to be grounded, humanitarian works that map out intricate maps of political intrigue – which may seem dry and hard to follow at first, laden with filigree labels and fanciful jargon. But they turn into something personal, honest, and engaged in the real world. ghoul tactics no different.

Matsuno said the game’s devastating branching story is inspired by the wars of the early 1990s in Yugoslavia as that country disintegrated following the fall of the Berlin Wall. ghoul tactics He imagines the Valerian Islands, an archipelago riven by ethnic and class conflicts between its three main groups: Bikram, Galgastani, and Ulster. After the death of the unified king, a civil war broke out. During a period of uneasy peace, we are joined by a group of persecuted Wallist rebels led by young Dynam Pavel, his sister Katiwa and childhood friend Weiss. They are soon joined by a team of friendly mercenaries as the leader of the resistance, Duke Ronoy, leads them into a struggle between shifting factions, complex loyalties and dirty tricks.

This is a branching story where choices — judged on a scale from legal to chaotic, rather than good to evil — can be agonizing in their moral ambiguity, and the outcomes can be painfully bleak. Dynam’s willingness to follow the Duke and his level of commitment to the Alister cause were severely tested. As an exploration of the moral and political quagmire of war, born again So complex, Matsuno’s refusal to describe it in black and white terms makes the branching results luminous rather than reductive. The World Tarot feature usefully allows you to explore all the branches in parallel realities without holding back your progress. (There’s a similar in-battle rewind function that allows you to redo your options and switch between different tactical scores without overwriting them—a nice feature.)

There is genius and sincerity at work here. go deep enough ghoul tactics and begged its subtitle, Let’s stick togetherIt sounds a lot less foolish, more urgent and sad. How deep you get into the game depends on your appetite for detailed management and your patience with gameplay systems that, 27 years later, are beginning to creak, despite all the judicious overhauls that have been made to them. Ghoul Tactics: Reborn It’s a welcome, polished, and thoughtful update to a game that’s sort of identified – the kind he’s now leaving behind.

Ghoul Tactics: Reborn It will be released on November 11 on Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. The game was reviewed on Switch using a pre-release download code provided by Square Enix. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. you can find Additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy is here.

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