Here’s a remaster of a remake, a revisited version of 2010’s Let Us Cling Together, itself a remake of 1995’s Let Us Cling Together. Simple, huh? I have absolutely no history with this series, I just like tactics games and boy is the one to sink my teeth into. Maybe too much for some. Tactics Ogre: Reborn looks both classic and new, with pretty simple graphics set within some pretty impressive turn-based mechanics, all covered in a layer of remastered music and fully voiced new performances. Given the industry’s penchant for the “classic game” look, I wouldn’t blink if you told me this is a brand new game from 2022.

Knowing that the base game is from a previous generation, I am impressed with how much there is here, with the game showing an incredible amount of foresight in the genre and, no doubt, the subsequent influence on the tactical games that followed it. When I saw a member of the AI ​​team use a healing spell against an undead opponent to damage him, it was so unexpected that he gave me an exciting new tactical mindset when I battled those enemies and the other undead filth that came with it. is followed. Similarly, when my wizards and archers failed to make what seemed like easy shots, their spells or arrows bounced off intermediate geometry – or even other members of my team – I realized this game was the real hardcore deal.

A realistic approach to tactics follows, with the height of the tiles, the type of terrain and both the position of your team and their orientation play an important role in whether or not to reach the enemies. Frankly, I wasn’t quite ready for how intense each battle was, but I can appreciate the dedication to meticulous management. Battles are slow, arduous, and often result in the death of group members or near annihilation. But then, after a 40 minute slog on a map, you could perform that finishing move that kills the opposing leader and the resulting relief color to see the word “Victory” will make it all worthwhile. And if you lose, there’s a chance to go back through recent moves and pick a spot to change your destiny.

This is a peanut game. There is no (as far as I know) auto equip button, so after each fight you will spend half an hour selling things, buying equipment, items and so on, and then scrolling through your list one by one, updating their class , weapons, armor, items, skills and more. If it sounds laborious, then this may not be the tactics game for you. Initially, I thought I was going to fall into that camp, but I have to admit I got into it after a few battles, and my lunch breaks at work just melted: forty minutes for a fight, twenty minutes for chatter, lunch over!

I can’t say that I connected very much to the story, which is told with impressive enthusiasm through dubbed performances. It’s all very fantasy, with angular place names and competing realms. You can have some group members acting on their own accord from the AI. These are generally referred to as “guests,” but you can also manually place members of your party according to general AI guidelines, which may or may not bring positive results. However, if battles take too long, it’s a great option to give half your team control and create quick turns.

There’s no fear of being locked up in a class here, as you can use the store items to simply switch classes, so experimentation is strongly encouraged (another thing to ponder for hours). Level up is limited to make your squad more even and you can wander around some towns to fight in hands-on battles to level up between missions and make sure you keep up with everyone up to speed. This mechanic replaces the random encounter battles of the previous version. Any bonus XP is converted into charms which can be used later for bonus XP. Other charms created in this process allow you to change the elemental affinity of the characters.

A new element here is that different cards spawn between turns on the field. These are aligned to specific classes, so it’s worth grabbing a melee damage boost for your sword and ax swingers, while a staff card invites a wizard to pick it up and receive a boost of their magic. Other cards may increase certain stats for the duration of a battle, and there are red cards that will remove buffs if you wish.

The fact that so many of these show up during a fight, that they pile up on each other and that your enemies can grab them too, makes this element a kind of minigame in itself, where it becomes more important to calculate the value of changing where you want to move if that means that you will earn a card or simply to take it so that nearby enemies cannot.

Permanent death is one thing here, but it only happens as a last resort. In addition to the ability to rewind battle turns, downed characters show a 3 turn countdown which is often quite generous. I often had two or three fewer characters and decided to kill with the enemy leader and managed to win the battle before they were permanently removed from the board. I haven’t reached the point where I am so attached to a character that their death would upset me.

Terrain plays an important role in how you progress to victory, with some units unable to cross certain ranges, such as ravines or rivers. Whether you win or lose will often depend on your retirement planning when it comes to spending valuable shifts going long roads or splitting your forces. With so much success and battles taking up to an hour or so if you’re micromanaging, I’ve often found it difficult to tell which of the low-fidelity sprites on the screen was on my side and which ones were enemies. Usually, your opponents have different colored armor and robes than you, but this isn’t always evident, and I’ve had many confusing rounds where I couldn’t remember which units to attack, because it’s possible to damage yours.

Your enjoyment will depend on how well you are in the mood for a truly addictive turn-based tactical game. If you prefer a simpler, less time-consuming option, then Tactics Ogre: Reborn may prove to be a bit much. At first I was reluctant to dive in, but I soon became interested in the combination of AI control, quick battle options, and the fact that you can switch classes quite easily. I really liked the look of the card spawn, as well as the way the friction of the fights made it seem like I was going to lose, only to snatch the win in a final moment of daring all-in.

If you are already a fan of this series then this is probably the most complete version to play. Adding random cards is almost a new game in its own right, and elsewhere there are simplified changes that create a more enjoyable experience. This is a serious drop in time, however, and there are certainly more friendly tactics headlines out there. If you’re in the mood to look through loadouts and menus as much as actually take part in battles, then this is the game for you.

A tactician behemoth, only those with spreadsheet minds will come out victorious. Tactics Ogre: Reborn shows that a good old game can be gracefully edited and added and remain impressive in its field.

Rating: 4/5

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