Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia

While Brigandine at first glance may look like a remake of a PSX game, it is a sequel to a game made twenty three years ago that sticks very close to the original. You will need to have a nostalgic yearning for old school turn based strategy to even consider this, but if you want a trip back a few generations this may be for you.

The first noticeable aspect of the game is going to be the aesthetic. The artwork is beautiful, character designs are varied and vibrant, and the music charming. While the animation is very basic, and battle models capture that retro feel it doesn’t detract since that’s the intention.

The simplicity of every other aspect of the game is definitely going to be felt. There are no social systems for things like trade or diplomacy, shops or reliable way of getting new heroes. The grand strategy aspect of the game is limited to moving troops, invading, summoning monsters to assist your heroes and doing quests for xp or random gear rewards.

The story basically boils down to ‘go conquer’ like we’re the villains of a child’s cartoon, and while each character has personality and story behind them everything is focused on world building instead of character development or interaction. It effectively makes everything other than the combat a bit of flavour, and there’s no sense of engagement or wondering what will happen next.

The combat itself is decent, abilities are limited and class or monster specific with a solid range of ailments, support and attacks. Monsters and heroes level fairly slowly, so you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time questing or fighting to build them up which is generally fine, but monsters don’t resurrect. If you lose a monster in combat, it’s gone, and you’ll be stuck summoning more at level one which will, again, require a great deal of time to get back up high.

This leaves you generally with a lot of very weak monsters, unable to really utilize the upgraded tiers and more powerful abilities that make the game more interesting, while making building a solid team feel grindy. You can eventually get a resurrection item from a specific quest, but it’s a very low chance of dropping and if you don’t know it is there you could go the full game without getting one.

This kind of provides a rather unfortunate clash in the game- which otherwise is very simple and easy to play, and could be recommended as such, but will require you to basically look up a guide if you want the pivotal ability to regain powerful monsters you’ve sunk dozens of battles of growth into.

This also causes the difficulty to be flung about on a whim, if you come against a foe without leveled monsters they’re a joke, while if you’re on the side of having recent summons it’s like scaling a mountain. Speaking of mountains, terrain is flat with some bonuses, such as water snakes gain healing in rivers, but the AI does not seem to utilize it much.

Overall, a simple and straight forward game, if you have a retro itch this might scratch and since it’s pure combat those who don’t want to bother with anything else could really enjoy this one.

~~Alex Cumming~~

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