Tactics Ogre: Reborn Review

Tactics Ogre: Reborn by developer and publisher Square EnixSony PlayStation 5 review written by Nick with a purchased copy.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Tactics Ogre: Reborn might be an update on an older game, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s some outdated relic of a bygone age in gaming. The original game was ahead of its time, and Tactics Ogre: Reborn is far more than just a fresh coat of paint to pretty things up. There is a ton of depth here for strategy RPG fans to lose themselves in, whether you are coming back to the title again or experiencing it for the first time.

For those unaware of the origins of this title, Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a remake of a remake, which seems silly at first glance, but thankfully at both stops along the way, the title has soon additional polish and features along the way. The original Tactics Ogre released on the SNES way back in the mid 90’s, with an updated release in 2010, with the subtitle ‘Let Us Cling Together’. This third and latest iteration is the best yet, with touched up visuals (that still retain their pixelated style), voiced cutscenes, newly recorded music, updated combat (both the system itself, the UI and the AI). So this is far more than a simple port.

For those unfamiliar with any of these versions of the game, know that Tactics Ogre: Reborn a turn-based strategy game with a lot of RPG elements sprinkled in. You have characters on a grid-based field, using melee, ranged and magic attacks to try and beat the other team / complete level objectives. This in turn leads to earned experience, money and items that can then be used to improve the characters in your team. Some of your army is made up of specific created characters, others might be mercenaries you purchase and have the option to rename. Most maps will require a balance of classes and abilities to help deal with what the computer throws at you.

Stages are well-designed, often having elements such as chokepoints, differing elevations and varying topography that impact how well your characters perform. It’s also very tactical. If you have a character who uses a bow to sling arrows around the map, you do need to be mindful of your own troops, since if they are in your line of sight as you shoot, may get inadvertently peg your teammate instead. There’s a heavy emphasis on elements with a rock > paper > scissors type of vulnerability / resistance mechanic. You can put an enemy into a worse spot by putting them between two of your own units. There is a lot of depth here, and Tactics Ogre: Reborn benefits not just from improved AI, but also some streamlined UI and mechanics.

These elements won’t matter to those who haven’t played the prior games, but there’s a nice bit of polish on the more optimized UI. This is a game where you are mostly operating out of menus, so it’s appreciated that some time went into improving this. There were some mechanics that have been cleaned up as well, providing more streamlined gameplay that keeps the action just a smidge brisker, focusing on the ‘fun’ that Tactics Ogre: Reborn provides.

It helps that the writing is solid, and I appreciate the voice acting during major scenes. The presentation is excellent, and it helps with the immersion, especially with regard to the overall narrative. I also appreciate that you have some control over the story and not just the combat. This allows for you to make a handful of important choices along the way, and they have some ramifications on the story, the possible endings and even things such as available classes. I love that sense of ownership over the story (the Bioware games are among my favorites ever, largely due to this element).

Combine this with the various progression elements like earning levels and developing characters into new classes, and there’s a great feedback loop that kept me coming back for more. It is worth noting that as great as this title is for fans of the genre, it’s probably not the cleanest of entries for newcomers. There are simpler examples of the hybrid strategy RPG genre, and there are times that this series still shows its age in a handful of places.

While the graphics are better than the original, the pixelated style might not be for everyone. Ditto the slower pacing of this style of game. Personally, the nuance and micromanagement of building up characters (I took the time to customize the names of my purchased units, for example) and the thoughtful pace of place appeals to me a great deal.


Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a fantastic update of an already excellent game. The strategy of combat combined with the RPG progression elements are incredibly satisfying. Sure, the original game is nearly thirty years old, and there are times that it shows its age, but thoughtful work was put into streamlining the gameplay and improving the interface in ways that reflect more modern times.

Tactics Ogre: Reborn is absolutely worth playing, whether you are revisiting the title or experiencing it for the first time.

Score: 9 / 10