Japanese SRPGs have come back in a strong way in the Western market with the help of recent releases like the rise of the Fire Emblem series. Developer Zlongame comes into the fold with their launch of Langrisser Mobile out now on iOS and Android. The developer aims to present battles that are fast and fluid with a ton of extra content to jump into. For the most part, they pull this off, but there are a few questionable design choices. I will start by saying this game is relatively massive and doesn’t have a lot of what I call “throwaway” mechanics that games like this often have. So for now, these are my first impressions of the game.
In the game, you’re put in the role of Matthew, a young warrior who…okay let’s be honest the story here is practically forgettable and couldn’t hold my attention for more than five minutes. Matthew is joined by his comrades Grenier and Almeda, who were minding their own business one day when all of a sudden, they’re attacked by some baddies who want to capture Almeda. She’s then imbued with the power and memories of some goddess, which I presume is why they want to capture her. Matthew and the gang then set off on an adventure after running away, while recruiting the power of past Langrisser heroes to help them on their relatively vague quest.
While the story is forgettable, where Langrisser really shines and grabs my attention is the actual gameplay. You’re set up on a grid, Fire Emblem style, fighting off soldiers and demons with a wide variety of characters at your disposal (quite literally). Each of your heroes is tied to a specific class, again a-la Fire Emblem style, and you have to maneuver your troops around the field as you fight favorable matchups to come out on top.
Heroes and enemies have smaller foot soldiers that act as a kind of shield and additional attack resource since you have to get through them to get to the main enemy in the backline. Battle animations are probably some of the crispest and most active I’ve seen, even more so than Fire Emblem Heroes. There just seems to be a lot more to do in Langrisser than Fire Emblem Heroes, thanks to the larger maps and substantially more villains to take on in each fight.
You get more heroes to join your team by, you guessed it, gacha mechanics! Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t mind “loot box” mechanics especially if they aren’t the pay-to-win kind. From what I’ve noticed, I’ve progressed a fair amount in the game so far with just the heroes I have on my team. I’ll let you know in the future if I do run into an issue with the gacha mechanics because if that’s the case, we’re going to have a whole new other problem.
The heroes you get from what I can tell are characters from past Langrisser games. To be fair, I haven’t heard of the Langrisser series up until this game came out. However, just looking at how cool all of these characters look really makes me wish Matthew looked a little bit more epic and less like a default Maplestory character. Even Grenier and Almeda have way better designs as original characters.
Speaking of design, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this “banter” chat is. Randomly throughout the game, text will fly across your screen from other players speaking in the normal chat room that’s filled with expletives, comments on how much they like Fire Emblem better than this game, Donald Trump jokes…you get the picture. It’s highly annoying to just watch that fly by during gameplay. It took me a second to figure out how to turn it off since the game doesn’t tell you how to get rid of it. The normal chat room is fine. I don’t need to see “HEHEXD” fly across my screen every few minutes.
The weird design issues don’t end there. Most JRPGs or any game of this nature allow you to skip through the text and voice by quickly scrolling through the text and having it fill in automatically if you press a button. For some reason, tapping my screen once skips all of what was said altogether and I can’t go back to see what was said. You might inadvertently skip key parts of the story altogether just because of this design choice.
Many of the different gameplay elements are locked until you reach a certain level which is somewhat annoying. I know other games like this have similar features, but it just feels a bit too long to even wait to unlock a feature where characters interact with each other. Dragalia Lost and Fire Emblem Heroes allow for those interactions and side stories to come up much earlier.
Aside from these design issues, there are plenty of missions and side missions to do to level up your heroes. There’s even a section where you can play through key story points of past Langrisser titles to get a better understanding of the world, which is cool. All in all, fans of the Langrisser series and even fans of the SJRPG genre will find a lot to do here if you can get past the strange design choices Zlongame decided to go with. We’ll recommend the game for right now, but this might change when I can get much further into the game.
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