Beginner Tips for Tactics Ogre: Reborn
Tactics Ogre: Reborn is the one of the latest tactical RPG releases from Square Enix. While its bones are well over two decades old now, this version will undoubtedly serve as many folk’s first foray into Matsuno-san’s classic tactical RPG. Since I just recently finished the main campaign myself, I figured I’d share some quick tips that I learned over my 55-hour adventure so far.
While many of these tips may be no-brainers to veterans, it is my hope that they will nonetheless act as a refresher for returning fans, and potentially prove useful to newcomers. Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out my detailed, spoiler-free Tactics Ogre: Reborn review here once you’re done!
Scout The Map
Most story battles allow the player to “scout” the battlefield ahead of the actual conflict (done via the deployment screen). Doing so allows you to look at the placement and variety of units in the battle to come, providing insight into whether you need to adjust your own units to better suit the task at hand. This can be especially useful in certain scenarios, such as when facing the undead (to insure at least one or two units can exorcise them) or against debilitating enemies, like the cockatrice (to add a “resist petrify” passive to units). Use it – it’s free information.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Sometimes the best offense is defense. There will be times where some units can’t make a great move, whether it be due to being out of ideal range, or only being able to target elementally-opposed units (thus less potent attacks). If a certain action isn’t going to be all that impactful, it can be useful to simply not do anything at all for that turn. This is due to how the turn order is decided, where every action – outside of doing nothing – is going to delay your next turn to varying degrees. Oftentimes, if you skip a turn, that unit’s next turn will come up much more quickly and the enemies could very well place themselves in a more advantageous position in the meantime.
Moreover, do keep unit elements in check for further optimization. The game will clearly show whenever you are targeting a unit that is strong or weak against the currently controlled unit, so always make your final decision for a turn based on that knowledge. Unit elements are especially important for spellcasters and element-infused attacks, since bonuses do get applied to them when dishing out the same type of commands that match any given unit’s element (ie. fire spells on a fire-oriented wizard) – this is on top of the aforementioned strengths and weaknesses of opposing unit elements.
Control The Crowds
As the campaign matures in Tactics Ogre: Reborn, buffs and debuffs become increasingly more important. Well timed status effects can turn the tide of battle in a pinch, and sometimes are even more useful to prioritize over raw damage. Stuns will periodically fumble turns, poisons are excellent against high health enemies, silences can lock down frustrating enemy spellcasters, and petrification completely removes a unit from play for a period of time. Surprisingly, some of these can even be applied to boss units! White Knights, Ninjas, bow-wielding characters, and certain Monster units are particularly efficient at temporarily locking down foes and making for a much smoother battle overall.
One of the best ways to not only fill out your roster, but also to make extra money, is to recruit units in battle. Most classes have the ability to recruit a certain type of enemy unit, and while you can always hire some generic troops at shops, recruited units come with leveled up weapon skills, equipment, items, and are already at or close to your current max level. Recruiting is also the only way to get access to certain unit types, such as additional Winged folk and many Monster units. And even when you’re happy with your current roster, it can be advantageous to recruit here and there to strip the new recruit of their items, sell them at the shop, and tell the now naked troop to take a hike. Valeria is a dog-eat-dog kingdom, after all.
Recruiting is a simple, but potentially tedious process depending on the map (and luck). Your odds of success are best when the enemy unit is at low health, and the friendly unit trying to recruit them is as close to them as possible. But even then, your odds are generally around 30%, so it may take multiple turns to coerce the enemy unit over to your side. Additionally, most non-story battles (with the exception of certain side content) do not allow for any recruitment to be done, so always keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to poach units from the enemy’s side.
Pinch Those Pennies
Tactics Ogre: Reborn does not throw a ton of money at you, and this is especially true in the early hours. Outside of a few cases, you only get money from story missions, so it’s better to not go hog wild with spending until you have a solid plan. Only buy what you need, and make use of crafting once it’s unlocked since it can save you tons of money.
Things get a bit better once you’ve unlocked some of the optional dungeons, however, starting with the Phorampa Wildwood in Chapter 2 because it provides some currency (and recruiting options) despite not being story maps. Best of all, they’re repeatable, meaning you can jump into Phorampa Wildwood (and potentially other optional dungeons) as needed in order to catch up on funds whenever you’re running low.
Prioritize Buff Cards
In Tactics Ogre: Reborn, buff cards will randomly litter each new battlefield, and will continue to do so as the fight progresses. Each unit can hold up to four of these cards, whether they be friend or foe. Stacking buff cards with certain units can give you a huge advantage in combat, but the same applies to your opposition. It’s pretty common to have a mad scramble for buff cards early on in a fight, but the payoff of prioritizing their acquisition – which subsequently cuts off your opponents from collecting them for themselves – is generally worth the effort.
Tactics: Ogre Reborn includes an option to allow AI to control individual units, or the entire battalion at once. While the system isn’t smart enough (thankfully) to win the majority of battles completely on its own, it does come in handy at times, such as grinding out a newly-raised level cap. Find an “easy” map for your specific units (Rhime always treated my units well), unequip their consumables (else your units will literally throw them away), and let the AI get you to the new cap. Now that’s efficiency!
Mix It Up
Character classes are pretty well balanced in Tactics Ogre: Reborn, and because it’s pretty painless to change between them at any time (granted you have the required items and have unlocked the desired class(es) beforehand), don’t be afraid to do some experimentation. While this version of the game doesn’t have a cross/subclassing system, it does automatically give you all the latest class abilities (up to your current character level) any time you change classes, regardless of whether it’s your first time with the class or not (ie. no grinding necessary). Weapon skill levels aren’t quite as forgiving, but they’re easy enough to level up anyway.
If you don’t like a recent class change, all you have to do is change back to your previous one (or another class entirely) and it’s like you never missed a beat (outside of weapon skills, of course). It also isn’t a bad idea to have a Monster unit or two handy since many of them can make extremely efficient meat shields, damage dealers, and crowd controllers, especially when paired with a friendly Beast Tamer unit.
I hope you found some of these tips useful! If you have any other ones to share, or any comments or concerns regarding these, do share them below. Happy hunting!