- Developer: Matrix Software
- Publisher: Happinet Corporation
- Release Date: 25/06/2020
- Price: £44.99 / $49.99
- Review code provided by Happinet Corporation
Introducing Brigandine Switch Review
Little did I know, the Brigandine series has a history dating back to the late 90’s on the PlayStation. Prior to my review, I hadn’t heard of the game and knew only what was displayed on the coming soon page of the Nintendo eShop. The premise seemed intriguing enough and the gameplay looked like it was right up my alley. Join me as I invade the lands in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia and see if this game is worth conquering.
A Tale of Justice
Six nations inhabit the continent of Runersia. It’s not long before events boil over leading to strife across the land. Each of the six nations have reason to join in continent wide conquest, not least of these seeking control of five powerful artifacts called Brigadines. These powerful relics are mystical mana stones imbued in armor and controlled by leaders of the various nations. For complete dominance of Runersia, the leaders seek to seize all five relics. The Brigandine of Justice, Sanctity, Freedom, Glory and Ego will change the fate of the land.
The story unfolds differently depending on which ruler and nation you select. As there are six different rulers and roughly a hundred knights to lead your armies, the story is seeped in deep history and takes multiple playthroughs to unlock everything. The various knights who join your kingdom have backstories and motivations which make the world feel real. Furthermore, the delivery of these cutscenes are accompanied by beautiful art and talented actors.
A Fight for Freedom
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is a grand strategy role-playing game. Its combat is carried out on a hexagonal map with various terrain which alters stats. The large maps went mostly unused and the turn-based movement made each battle slow to start. You take three Rune Knights into battle and each of them can control up to six monsters. Moving each unit toward the enemy was an arduous process which dampened the gameplay.
There are two main modes of gameplay broken out in two phases. The first phase is the Organization Phase where you can shore up your borders to prevent invading forces. During this time you can recruit monsters by spending Mana and move troops to any occupied base. Think Risk but you can relocate your army anywhere under your control in one move, regardless of distance. You only start with a handful of knights, so planning your invasions is critical to avoid overextending your troops. Extra knights can be sent on quests to find rare items or recruit other knights.
Second is the Attack Phase. During the attack phase you invade segments of land in an attempt to capture your opponent’s base. Combat itself was enjoyable as flanking techniques and terrain are important matters to consider when setting up the battlefield. With over 50 types of monsters with unique skills, the combinations are endless. Taking time to match monsters to terrain and leveraging strengths to weaknesses made each battle unique. On top of that, the Rune Knights each specialize in different classes. Both leaders and monsters earn experience, equip gear, level up and can eventually change jobs or type.
The gameplay had a certain level of charm for the most part. Planning which land to invade and allocating appropriate defenses added an engaging level of strategy to the overall experience. There were times, however, where I wished I could skip combat with far inferior forces. Since each battle can take quite a bit of time and the start was often tedious, Brigandine grew a bit repetitive toward the end.
Glory in Conquest
The graphics in Brigandine take a backseat, letting the gameplay and story drive the adventure. The knights seldom match their portraits and look rough around the edges. The backgrounds lack detail, though each nation has diverse settings. Where the art really shines in Brigandine is in the stylized cutscenes with gorgeous hand drawn characters and events. Each character is carefully represented with emotion and substance which helps bring the story alive. Luckily, as you play through the game, you unlock records which let you revisit some of the more beautiful scenes and locales. Likewise, the music can be collected during play. This will please fans of high-fantasy inspired songs. All of which fit well with the atmosphere and add weight to the battles and narrative.
The Test of Ego
From a technical standpoint, other than some bearable load times, I didn’t run into any problems. Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia ran just as well in handheld mode as it did docked. Both formats were pleasing and got equal attention from me. Having the story, art, music and bestiary was an added bonus as there’s a ton of content packed in this digital world.
Sanctity Above All
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is filled to the brim with history and lore. There’s a lot of content available and it requires multiple playthroughs to fully inundate oneself with. On the surface, that’s not a bad thing. The combat is fresh with multiple ways to tackle your objectives. However, that can quickly grow stale as the first battle and the last battle are ultimately the same. Slow starts to assaults will try one’s patience. One of the better game modes is unlocked upon completion of a full run which was nice as it adds more challenge and better customization.
- Gorgeous Artwork
- A Ton of Content and Replayability
- Fleshed Out Characters
- Grows Repetitive
- Slow Starts
- Poor In-Game Graphics
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia was pleasant to play but is overpriced for the casual gamer. This is a fantasy that only fans of strategy RPGs will appreciate.