Tactics Ogre is a landmark game in the evolution of the strategy-RPG genre, yet it’s never quite received the appreciation it deserves outside of Japan. Part of this has to do with the long shadow cast by its directly-inspired and much-beloved younger sibling, Final Fantasy Tactics. Despite receiving an incredible remake in 2011, PSP exclusivity once again limited the audience for Tactics Ogre. Now, with the release of the HD and massively revamped Tactics Ogre Reborn on every platform under the sun, Square Enix is taking steps to correct a long-standing injustice–though some quibbles with presentation and gameplay changes keep this from being the definitive version of the all-time classic.
Our story follows young Denam and his sister Catiua, two siblings of the Walister clan. The Walister have suffered under the oppression of the ruling Galgastani for years, and a resistance movement has begun to form among them. What begins as a plan to avenge the death of the siblings’ father snowballs into a mission to rescue Duke Ronwey, leader of the resistance. But as Denam becomes part of the growing resistance force, he discovers the lengths that Duke Ronwey will go to advance his cause, forcing him to make very difficult choices. As the struggle expands to involve neighboring states, Denam will need to find his own way to put an end to the conflict.
If you’re familiar with previous works by director and writer Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy XII), you’ll find similar themes here: intertwining politics, moral quandaries, class struggles, and idealism gone awry. Depending on the choices you make (including some absolutely gut-wrenching, life-or-death decisions) the story’s path–as well as which special characters you can recruit–will change dramatically. There are plenty of twists and surprises to experience, enhanced by a combination of a superb English script from famed localizer Alexander O. Smith and the addition of voice acting for cutscenes. The World Tarot system from the PSP remake also returns, which acts as an enhanced New Game+: Upon completing the game, you can go back to previous points in the story, exploring different outcomes and routes while keeping your current character roster.
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