Langrisser I & II Review – A Return to Form
Title: Langrisser I & II
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Sometimes it’s crucial for a series to return to its roots. The Langrisser series has had a tough time in the west. Sure, it’s been around for the last 30 years, but western fans of the genera seemed to gravitate more towards Fire Emblem, leaving Langrisser to try and keep up. Well, developer Chara-Ani is attempting to introduce the series to western players once again with Langrisser I & II. By returning to where the series started, this is the perfect opportunity to jump into the series. It also helps that this is an excellent remastered collection.
Langrisser I & II is a collection of the first two titles in the Langrisser series. The collection is a complete overhaul of the two classic titles, but with modernized visuals and balanced systems. At face value, Langrisser I & II can’t really do too much wrong, considering the classic games are already regarded so highly. Still, the collection could have definitely hurt the series’ reputation, but that’s not the case here.
Each game tells a self-contained story that focused on a mighty sword named Langrisser. Players can quickly jump into either title first and have a good idea of what is going on. The developer did a great job of making the two titles share similar mechanics and systems while introducing additional characters and classes to make them unique. Also, each title offers a starting bonus to begin the game will a little bit of monetary help, and might assist new players just starting this adventure.
Langrisser 1 tells the story of Ledin, a young prince who has just had his kingdom overrun, forcing him to escape. Throughout many battles, he’ll learn more about Langrisser as he fights to reclaim his lands and avenge his loved one. The developers have also updated the story with optional paths that don’t really have the same weight as the events in Langrisser 2.
Langrisser 2 follows Elwin as he finds himself in the middle of a heated fight against Leon of the Blue Dragon Knights. This escalates to him, leading the resistance against the empire with the help of many other commanders. Given that he was just pulled into this, he does have some liberty on which faction he lends his aid too. However, it is possible to travel back and in the timeline to check out other branches within the story.
Both titles are tactical RPGs where players move one unit, who makes up a whole group of other units. At the beginning of each campaign, players will purchase units that will surround the commanding character. These mercenaries aren’t particularly strong, but they get the job done. In the later parts of the game, you’ll have access to more units for hire, but sadly you’re only able to hire one type of unit for each commander at a time, so mixing up unit types isn’t allowed.
This does affect the battles since some units are stronger against others, so if your going up against a group of spear enemies and only have horse units on the field, well, you’ll probably lose. Understanding these unit types and making the best judgment is key to victory because these campaigns aren’t always straightforward. The enemy AI is aggressive, but sadly the same can’t always be said for friends units. Relying on the Auto move and fight options don’t still work as some units simply move next to an enemy and end their turn. Other times, AI units make strange choices like not moving towards the goal or attacking random units. This doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it’s annoying.
One of the best things about the mission structure of Langrisser I & II is the variety of mission types there are. Sure, you’ll get the “defeat this enemy to move on” mission every now and then, but most of the missions require the player to do things like assisting a unit in need, stop an enemy from retreating, or get to a specific area without your units dying.
I will say that the environments within the missions are vast and only add to the layer of strategy that players will have to take into consideration during any given mission. However, between both titles, you’ll encounter similar designs, and they don’t really change too much between each title. Given the amount of time that has passed in the world between each game, I would have like that the environments to reflect the time difference, but instead, they just look like the same game with different characters.
When it comes to the remastered versions, the game’s graphics are fitting of the classic RPGs that they are based on. I enjoyed the simplistic yet, stylish appeal of the design direction as well as the character illustrations. There’s also a way to switch between classic and new visuals within the game for those who want a more retro gaming experience. I’ll also mention that the soundtrack for the game is full of hard rock ballads to get your heart racing for tactical battles.
However, I wish the developer would have taken more liberties with the story itself. Making romance events in the game more promote or adding in a few more story events to help the flow of the delivery would have made the convenient rollout of events easier to digest. Still, regardless of the path that you take during the game’s story, it’s possible to backtrack and try new things. New Game Plus encourages this by allowing players to retain their level to experience to a new campaign.
Langrisser I & II is a faithful remaster that brings together two of the most important titles in the history of tactic RPGs. The updated visuals and illustrations of the collection make it accessible for new players, but the mechanics stay loyal to the originals for long time fans. Still, I would have enjoyed more differentiation between the two games because the similarities can be jarring at times. Regardless, this is a great game that offers hours of fun with unique characters and story that is affected by player-choice to dictate the tide of war. I could easily recommend it to anyone looking to scratch the retro SRPG itch.
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