Tactics Ogre has often been compared to the more well-known Final Fantasy Tactics. The comparisons are apt. We won't get into it here, but consider that creator Yasumi Matsuno spearheaded the development of the former before joining Squaresoft and crafting the latter, there's a basis for it.
But whereas the original Tactics Ogre is commonly considered somewhat harder than FFT, Tactics Ogre: Reborn ramps things up considerably. It's still the cult classic strategy-RPG fans know and love, but with enough tweaks to challenge even seasoned players. Whether the game's old hat for you or an all-new experience, here are a few tips for Tactics Ogre's newest iteration.
Consult The Warren Report
Granted, our first tip isn't combat-related. Or rather, it's only tangentially combat-related, and then only sometimes. But we can't stress this enough: the Warren Report will occasionally be your gateway to new quests and even cutscenes.
Here's how it works. The 'Talk' tab is used throughout Tactics Ogre to cover rumors and reports that are spreading among the citizenry. Oftentimes, this will pertain to the main plot, including a number of tidbits about Denam (many of which will be narratively incorrect, but propaganda is a powerful tool).
Sometimes, entirely new locations will appearon the map. This won't happen much in the earlier chapters, and it will only go into overdrive in Chapter Four (and technically, many of the new quests will pop up at preexisting locations). But a good relatively early example is gaining access to the optional Phorampa Wildwood, which only happens once you consult your 'Talk' topics roughly midway through Chapter Two.
Furthermore, several cutscenes are only accessible through the 'Tarot Wheel' tab. This is rare, but we've counted at least four, maybe more. The earliest instance we've noticed thus far involves a scene that's accessible right near the start of Chapter Two on one of the two branching routes following the end of Chapter One.
Monsters Make Excellent Allies
Many first-time Tactics Ogre players will be familiar already with Final Fantasy Tactics, director Yasumi Matsuno's spiritual successor (of sorts). In that game, there are a limited number of monsters worth recruiting to the team. An argument can be made for, say, a Red Chocobo. We can think of a couple more.
In Tactics Ogre: Reborn, several types of monsters make great additions to your party.They're often bulkier than most job classes; their defenses are rarely as sky-high as, say, a Knight's, but their massive HP pools make up for it. We'd go so far as to say that Dragons are among the very best tanks in Tactics Ogre: Reborn.
Monsters frequently come packaged with terrifically powerful abilities, too, many of which operate under an area-of-effect parameter to help you weed out multiple foes at once.
You Can Upgrade Equipped Gear
At a certain point in Tactics Ogre: Reborn's second chapter, you will gain the highly helpful crafting feature. It will pop up at shops, and here's the gist: by combining weapons, armor, and items with specific materials, you can create more powerful versions.
Cool, right? And seriously welcome in a game that's this tough. The crafting opportunities will expand at set points, as more 'codices' are listed for purchase.
There's one thing the game doesn't firmly establish, and while you might notice it quickly, you might not realize it until you've wasted tens of thousands of Goth. In order to upgrade gear that your party members are presently equipped with, you must select the 'Equipped' option when crafting. Otherwise, you end up purchasing a new piece entirely. Those unnecessary doubles (and sometimes triples!) of swords, bows, even helmets, can really drive a hole through your wallet.
Saddle Your Squad With Restorative Items
Clerics are crucial. Restorative healing magic like Major Heal and Resurrection will never go out of style. Having at least one Cleric is basically mandatory.
You know what else is basically mandatory? More so, even? Give all your units ample healing items to take care of themselves whenever necessary. For the bulk of your Tactics Ogre: Reborn journey, items will outclass spells in restoration strength. A Mending Salve regains exactly half of a unit's HP. A Mending Seed +3 provides a flat 300 HP gain.
Your Clerics are there to save everyone round after round when needed, and to top off HP, cure status abnormalities, or even use Swiftness Boon to hasten your fighters (!) otherwise. But unless they're right there on the front lines, which is not the most genius approach, they won't always reach everybody. There will be countless times party members will have to take care of themselves.
This is even true of tank classes like Knights. What happens when their pools of health have finally been whittled away, or a stronger-than-average enemy unleashes a surprisingly devastating Finishing Move? Heal yourself, shrug it off, and keep on keeping on.
Don't Get Stuck At Awkward Elevations
You might be familiar with the old saying,'what goes up must come down.' As it happens, the reverse is not so ironclad. In Tactics Ogre: Reborn, there will be maps which permit every unit to descend to a lower elevation, but prevent them from ascending afterward. This is most common on maps with water tiles notably lower than land tiles, but it can even happen on rooftops.
Mind you, this isn't a particularly common occurrence. Most often, your units can swim their way to land somewhere, or you'll find a way to leave the top of some poor civilian's house. And this will only tend to happen to units with especially low jump capabilities. Unfortunately, that includes Clerics. Just double-check. Better to be safe than sorry. And possibly dead.
Make Your Denam A Melee Master
You may think Denam can become anything you choose him to be. And you'd be right. Depending on how you respond to Warren's tarot inquiries at the beginning of Tactics Ogre: Reborn, you may well find yourself with a Denam who excels at spellcasting at the expense of more physical stat bonuses. That's fine.
You can go ahead and train him in every class you like. You can train him in them all! But whether his starting stats are a perfect fit or it's an uphill struggle, always keep Denam reasonably powerful in a physically bulky class.
The reasons are twofold. First, you may encounter instances in which you don't have any other units capable of taking more than a handful of punches. Arguably even more importantly, there are a few parts of Tactics Ogre: Reborn that pit Denam one-on-one against a dangerous opponent.
When this happens, you'll need to be careful even with those bulky classes. If all your Denam knows is how to be a Wizard, or heaven forbid, a Cleric, you may find yourself up against a wall with no recourse but to reload a save from prior to the engagement.
Skill Cards Are Game-Changers
Speaking of those one-on-one duels, your best approach to them is to kite the opponent around the battlefield, scooping up as many Skill Cards as Denam can get his hands on, until he's strong enough to mount a mighty counterattack. ('Kiting' means luring your enemy around, sometimes keeping safely out of harm's way in the process.)
That should drive home how useful Skill Cards are, so you can imagine how vital they must be in regular fights as well. Ability Cards are better than they may appear to be; boosts to passive skills such as Phalanx and Concentration can turn the tide.
Physical and Magical Cards can quickly stack to transform a mediocre hitter into someone capable of striking for several hundred damage. MP Cards don't just give magic-based attackers more oomph and healers more restorative prowess — they also give melee fighters more frequent chances to use their Finishing Moves and other flashy fare.
Don't Obsess Over Defeating Every Unit
In most of your battles, you're going to be told from the jump that to claim victory, all you must do is defeat the enemy's leader. While that's often far easier said than done, it's usually still substantially easier than attempting to take down all of their flunkies along the way.
In earlier versions of Tactics Ogre, when there was no Union Level in place to prevent players from overleveling, it was common practice to maximize experience points gained at the end of each conflict by going after the entire army. Now, not so much. Sure, you'll get Experience Charms, helping to make the process of grinding to the next Union Level a bit easier, but training battles will level your team up swiftly.
Ergo, save your very soul by not obsessing over this. If you see a path forward to the boss, take it.
Canopus Is Seriously That Good
The first few battles with Canopus playable will make the sassy Winged Vartan seem like a powerhouse. This does not change with the passage of time.
Canopus is fantastic, and should never be left out of a battle he's eligible to partake in. You can fiddle with his class, though honestly, Vartan is outstanding as-is. The combination of flight, range, spells, and axes is superb, and Canopus even has enough hit points to endure a tough scrape.
Your Guests Are Not The Brightest Bunch
It quickly becomes apparent in the early hours that Catiua, a 'guest character' who cannot be controlled directly, has less regard for her safety than would be ideal. Vyce is no different. Both characters will charge forth, though at least Catiua will sometimes hang back long enough to provide some much-appreciated healing.
Throughout Tactics Ogre: Reborn, players will be given a revolving array of guest units, and they don't fare much better. Some, like the tanky types, will at least be able to withstand any ill-advised early rushes. Others, like Wizards and Enchanters, may need some guidance on staying alive.
In many cases, a guest who perishes deprives you of an upcoming opportunity to recruit them in full, so keep a constant vigil on their aptitude or lack thereof.
Be On The Lookout For New Abilities
At battle's end, and following the loot and experience point screens, there's a blink-and-miss screen that will show you any new skills your characters have learned. But the images are rather small, and the icons for those skills, even smaller. It's easy to miss the whole affair.
That's why you might want to keep a close eye on every active teammate's list of skills. New skills will have a plus mark on their icon, as well as skills like Constitution that have leveled up a stage. Not every new skill is going to be a winner, or work well with your play style. But plenty of them will, and it would be a shame to miss them for a few rounds because you missed their message.
Scout Before The Bout
Before your party and the enemy attempt to kill each other or die trying, there's a screen that lets you adjust which units you'll be bringing along. Several tabs on the left-hand side can be clicked on, including a 'Scout' option that lets you view the map and opponents before deploying.
Certain information about your opponents will be obscured, but not much. Mainly, it's their names, to avoid spoilers for the arrival of major characters (though their avatars are often telling enough). Take note of the opposition. What classes are they? Are there monsters, and if so, what sort? What about undead?
You can also devise an idea of what route(s) your team will take to reach (or avoid) enemy units. And that last bit, about undead, is especially poignant. Knowing they're out there gives you the chance to equip your party with Grimoire Exorcisme items vital to fully destroying them.
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