Rebirth of Fortune 2 begins with a brief snippet of story that is so completely unimportant to the gameplay that five minutes after reading it I couldn’t recall a single detail beyond the fact that it was the thinnest pretext to deliver an endless stream of combats. Therein lies what is probably the greatest strength and biggest flaw of Rebirth of Fortune 2. Gone are the plucky farmboys-turned-adventurers and the pampered princesses in disguise. There aren’t even any characters in the truest sense of the word. If you’re the type who grows overly attached to your familiar player characters, there’s nowhere for your sentimental hooks to find purchase.
If you’ve ever played a tactical RPG many of the trappings will be immediately familiar. On each map your squad goes up against a mixed bag of humans and monsters with annihilation as the sole path to victory. You navigate your units around a square grid while unleashing attacks and spells on your opponents. One change I found refreshing was that the pacing of combat had a feeling of real time action despite its forgiving, turn based nature. Rather than moving all your units at once, you alternate turns with your opponent. This made the game more balanced as it becomes difficult to overwhelm a few enemy units all at once. Also adding a different challenge is that while each unit has access to a number of special abilities, most actions taken beyond the basic attack draw from a shared resource called ‘ether’. While you accumulate a minute amount on each turn, you also gain more when your units take damage. This encourages an unusual degree of kamikaze tactics as well as providing the opportunity for some nail-biting, last minute victories.
While Rebirth of Fortune 2 is a good looking game, the developers opted for the safe, familiar style made popular by the Final Fantasy Tactics series. There’s still a lot of detail and individual units are easily distinguishable, but they’re devoid of any unique inspiration. The same goes for the monsters; they are easily distinguished and recognizable but none are unique or especially memorable.
Eschewing any real sense of identity for your forces allows for a different style of preparation and strategy. There’s no equipment or cross class skills. The customization all comes down to what combination of units you take into battle. Starting with only a basic soldier and archer, you level up using gold won after each battle. The options run the gamut of traditional fantasy tropes, allowing you to field a force of agile ninjas and assassins or powerful armor clad warriors. Or you can forget the magical trappings altogether and deploy soldiers with cannons and rifles. The only limit on your choice is a points system. Lower tier units can be deployed in greater numbers due to their insignificant cost, but their base stats and special abilities pale compared to the more powerful options. One aspect of the game I especially enjoyed is that they allow you see precisely what is required to unlock any unit in the game, which takes the guesswork out of things and helps prevent you from wasting funds on units you’re not interested in using.
The biggest frustration of the game is just how long it takes to unlock some of the higher units. I planned out my spending goals from the very start which helped me greatly in achieving the specific tactical focus I had in mind, but for those fond of tinkering or completionists, Rebirth of Fortune 2 is going to require a significant investment of time. There is an option to purchase additional funds with real money which theoretically would allow you to unlock everything from the start, but as there’s no story to complete, if you don’t enjoy playing through the game and unlocking units in an organic fashion then paying for them seems unlikely to make the game more appealing.
Despite the fact that most of Rebirth of Fortune 2 seems like a pastiche of other games in the genre, it delivers a fun experience. Whether you’re spending just a few minutes on a single encounter or diving in for hours of combat, this game will not disappoint.
Taking all the best parts of a turn-based RPG and eliminating the need for a story, Rebirth of Fortune 2 is an experience tactics nuts will love.