Langrisser I & II

Simple and strategy generally aren’t two things I expect to find together, but I can’t think of another way to describe the sort of RPG that Langrisser is. The strategic breadth of the game can be figured out within a battle or two, and ganging up foes to their death works in almost every scenario.

Effectively you have types like infantry or cavalry that have distinct weaknesses and strengths, such as cavalry being weak against spearmen or sky knights being able to fly over terrain. Leaders recruit a small group of soldiers, automatically heal their recruits if they’re next to them and can cast abilities. For a game from the Super Nintendo era it feels like it is right in the middle in terms of complexity, having less depth than Ogre Battle or Final Fantasy Tactics and being closest to Fire Emblem in terms of game play.

langrisser1

Even for an SRPG though, simple does not mean bad, and as a remake it feels like it does it right. It includes both remastered music, and the original soundtrack which could easily pass for being from Mega Man and quickly endeared itself to me. It also includes modern maps and portrait art style, as well as modernized versions of the old map and portrait art. Personally, I prefer the 90s style art for its resemblance to Lodoss War, but it does have to be noted that this is not actually what the maps or art looked like in the original game. You can change the map and art separately, so if you want to use modern looking maps and remastered classic style portraits that is possible. Regardless of your choice the battle sprites only come in modern, and I did not find any of this nearly as jarring as one would expect a clashing of art styles to be.

langrisser2

The story is almost exactly what you would expect from an early 90s fantasy anime, for both games included, Lodoss War again coming to mind. Each game is easily forty hours, but due to branching paths and story choices to see it all you could spend well over a hundred hours if you want to be a completionist. This is very much light versus darkness, with a hero that starts off heavily in the light, at least in the early stages before there are any choices to be made. Do not expect deep character growth or surprising twists and a complex political backdrop.

The straight forward nature of the game keeps it very quick paced for a long SRPG, and while the size of your combat units seem daunting at first the ability to have recruits follow their leader’s, well, lead fixes what could have easily been the most annoying issue. Gearing and promoting your leaders takes minimal time meaning micro management doesn’t slow the game whatsoever.

langrisser3

If I have a gripe it is the tendency for enemies to show up mid battle and get a turn before there’s any chance to react, as well as NPCs I’m required to protect deciding to run into the enemy cluster after my turn.

On the whole though, the game plays smoothly and is enjoyable, I love the soundtrack and the retro art style, and it definitely is not short. If you enjoy this sort of game and don’t mind it being fairly simple in most regards, I think it is an enjoyable pick up.

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~~Alex Cumming~~

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