I've seen lots of discussions regarding the story and gameplay of these 2 games and how they compare to each other but I rarely see people talking about the MC, the playable character, us in game basically. Now this might seem unimportant since they're both just characters for us to play and they don't even really have any dialogue other than the ones we select to choose the path of the story and such. That's the thing though. I notice Rejuvenation's MC doesn't really feel like a total blank slate character but also not a fully fleshed out character either. It kinda feels like somewhere in the middle if that makes sense. Quick disclaimer, I haven't finished Rejuvenation and am just at the part where we just got Magma Drift but I just feel like talking about this point and I think my arguments here should still be valid since it's not entirely related to the plot or progress of the story.
In Reborn however, our character feels way more like a total blank slate. Emotions aren't explicitly being forced upon us during the story. On the surface, our character is just there to put ourselves in a spot where we can progress the story, whether that be linear progression or in certain times, branching plot lines, if that makes sense. This sort of allows us to put our own emotions and feelings into our imagination and interpretation of the character since the MC is basically indifferent to everything on the surface. You actually like Fern? Well we can imagine our character feeling or responding positively during interactions with him. Don't actually care when a character dies? That's fine since our character is acting indifferent to it anyways. Actually sad that someone died? You can also "imagine" your character being sad since it's not like they're responding to the situation with anything.
Now I'm not saying these blank slate characters are always the way to go but IMO, but I think the Rejuvenation MC is still obviously trying to pass as that blank slate model but still has some form of default character to them. As in it's not 100% blank. This feels weird because I wanna think that character on the screen is me, but this me is feeling or doing things I'm not or wouldn't. I think ideally, we either have a fully blank character like your classic Pokemon game, or have a clear pre-written character, and not somewhere in between as that kinda leaves us in an awkward spot as the player. A good example of a pre-written playable character in Pokemon I think is Red in a Fire Red romhack called Pokemon Adventure - Red Chapter, where the game follows the story of the manga version, so we play as the character Red from the manga. The story itself isn't exactly a masterpiece of course, but it shows that playing as a pre-written character in a classic RPG works. If you want another example, then The Witcher series is an obviously great example. It's an RPG, role-playing game, but we don't necessarily need to role-play as a new character. We role-play as Geralt, a character clearly written by the story writers.
Basically what I'm trying to say is I think it's better to just pick one.
On a side note, the upside to a blank character is that you'll never end up with a badly written character. I mean, that's not really possible if it's blank right. Basically a safe option, The thing with a pre-written character, however, is that you can create something really excellent but also risk creating an unlikeable character than the player has to play throughout the game.
Just some story related discussion I'd like to have, what do you guys think?