Tactics Ogre Reborn changes give us a Fire Emblem for PS5 and PS4

By Lee Brady,

Tactics Ogre Reborn is getting tweaks from Square Enix that will see the classic PS1 title following the success of Nintendo's Fire Emblem series, which is good news for PS5 and PS4 players.

Tactics Ogre Reborn is definitely more of a PS1 remake than a remaster, with the game seeing massive changes to its art and mechanics as it makes its way to the modern PS5 and PS4 consoles. Looking at some of these changes in isolation, you can see the influence Fire Emblem has had on Tactics Ogre Reborn and modern strategy games in general.

Tactics Ogre Reborn Fire EmblemTactics Ogre Reborn x Fire Emblem.

Tactics Ogre Reborn mechanics remind us of modern Fire Emblem games

Much like with Square Enix's upcoming Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core Reunion, it's clear that the company wants to keep the core of Tactics Ogre Reborn as close to the original PS1 release of Tactics Ogre as possible, yet do not want to alienate fans of modern strategy games who are used to their titles being a little more user friendly and forgiving. So, it makes perfect sense that Tactics Ogre Reborn's changes remind us so much of more recent Fire Emblem games.

Fire Emblem games, particularly those that have followed the template of 2013's reinvigorating Fire Emblem Awakening, have seen massive critical and commercial success on Nintendo's 3DS and Switch consoles over the last ten years — something that a company with a back catalogue of tactical RPGs like Square Enix will have surely been keeping its eyes on. It would be no surprise if Awakening was a particularly strong influence on Tactics Ogre Reborn's development, as some of that title's user-friendly tweaks have been adapted in some form in Square Enix's remake.

Tactics Ogre Reborn Fire EmblemThe art isn't a million miles off the modern Fire Emblem style either, to be fair.

For example, Awakening introduced to the west a tradition-breaking mode that allowed players to enjoy the game without permadeath on, meaning they would not lose characters from the story or gameplay if they died in battle. Tactics Ogre Reborn similarly introduces a new permadeath-easing measure with the game's revive system. When a soldier falls in Tactics Ogre they are now rendered 'incapacitated' instead of immediately dying, and should players be able to revive them before a countdown runs out, they can prevent permadeath for their soldiers.

While not the exact same system, it does show Tactics Ogre Reborn following Fire Emblem's lead in giving players less punishing options in how to play the game. Similarly, the original tarot cards from Tactics Ogre on PS1 have been changed to 'buff cards,' which are now available more readily in battle and give far more generous rewards to the soldiers who pick them up. This matches up with Fire Emblem Awakening's 'event tiles,' which would sparkle on the battlefield and grant buffs or improved weapon proficiency to soldiers who manage to stand on that spot.

Tactics Ogre Reborn Fire EmblemItem interface comparison: Reborn x Awakening

This system changes how both Awakening and Reborn feel compared to their forebearers, as it incentivises players to spread their troops across the battlefield more often, rather than dogpile near one another to overwhelm the enemy. That's not nearly all of the comparisons though — for example, one glance at Tactics Ogre's newly reworked item menus will stand out immediately to modern Fire Emblem players. Players being able to tell at a glance which troops have which weapons is a much-needed user-friendly change that is very reminiscent of Fire Emblem Awakening's interface.

Getting to scout ahead of the battle to see terrain and enemy formation, more easily being able to change character class and buy items from the shops, the introduction of permanent stat increase items to level up and alter your favourite soldiers — all of these changes help give the player more options and reduce the hostility that players of the original Tactics Ogre may have faced on the PS1. Yet, these are also all changes that echo features present in the more streamlined, popular Fire Emblem series strategy fans know and love — which is why we're hoping Tactics Ogre Reborn borrowing that template lands it on our best PlayStation RPG list, at least until we make a 'best strategy' list.

Tactics Ogre Reborn Fire EmblemThose buff cards kind of look like Bomberman though, so maybe we're wrong.

Tactics Ogre saw plenty of changes when it was remastered for the PSP in 2010, reflecting design changes that were introduced in this remake's precursor, Final Fantasy Tactics. However, with FF Tactics being absent for so many years, it's clear Square Enix is looking to the modern games that have taken its own series' place — and if all this influence from Fire Emblem helps make Tactics Ogre Reborn a more challenging, yet more accessible title, then we can all be grateful it having done so. Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are on these comparisons.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium, recent Sony news), and his secret third eye on the junk he really likes (Sonic Superstars, Final Fantasy XVI). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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