[Review] Langrisser I & II – Nintendo Switch

Written by Thomas Haroldsen
  • Developer: Chara-Ani
  • Publisher: NIS America
  • Release Date: 10/03/2020
  • Price: $49.99 / £49.99
  • Review code provided by NIS America

Video Review

Introducing: Langrisser I & II Review

I still recall my first foray into strategy role-playing games. Back on the PlayStation One I played a little game called Final Fantasy Tactics. I approached it just like a normal turn-based RPG and though there are similarities, its a vastly different sub genre of role-playing game and I failed time and time again. At least until I took the time to understand the tactical mechanics. Having played many SRPGs since that time, I daresay, Langrisser I & II make the easiest jumping point if you haven’t tried this genre. There isn’t a standard tutorial and it doesn’t hold your hand but it is a simplified experience.

Baldeans Unite!

Langrisser kicks things off by introducing you to Lucilis, the Goddess of Light. She starts with a brief introduction and then fires a few questions to determine the starting stats for Prince Ledin, the main protagonist who you’ll be controlling. The story was actually a bit underwhelming and didn’t take any risks. I’ll avoid spoilers but this is a tale so over told that if I didn’t, you really wouldn’t miss much.

One thing I did enjoy from the narrative is the option to change the outcome by making alternate choices. For example, If you allow an enemy commander to live, it will set you on a completely new path. There are a lot of story branches, and exploring various outcomes is a great way to get extra mileage out of the experience. At any point you can view the story time line and go back to try something new. Be warned, doing so will alter your trajectory and can limit experience gained for certain commanders. Though it does say you keep any experience and items gained, if you go back to a time before you had a specific hero, they won’t time travel and thus will lose any stats gained or items equipped.

The gameplay follows typical SRPG norms and does a few things differently but it never deviates a great deal. For someone looking for a great strategy RPG, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I had more fun with Langrisser than some of the current tactic games on the market today. Combat is straigtforward, following the rock-paper-scissor method with some variances. 

Along your journey, you’ll be joined by a variety of commanders. When you enter combat, you have the choice for each commander to recruit mercenaries to fight alongside them. This presented unique options as you could make the game more challenging by just fighting with your heroes. Or you can spend a chunk of change and build up a huge army to smash your enemies to bits. I found the latter gave me more troops than I ever needed. 

Finding the right balance is part of the fun. Your opponent will likewise have troops acting as fodder by protecting their commanders. You can take your time trying to eliminate each unit for extra experience, or you can target and surround the commander. If you kill the commander, all other units they control are lost. This changed my strategy quite a bit as it allowed me to take my time with some scenarios and grind. Or I would target the commanders and clear a board relatively fast.

Tactical Retreat!

One difference to many SRPG’s is that spells only affect the enemy so you don’t have to worry about your troops being caught in the crossfire. In the same way, buffs will only boost your team. In Langrisser, the buffs actually matter and make a huge difference. Often turning the tide of battle. So many other role playing games that I’ve played I nearly ignore buffs as they can be ineffective. That said, my spell casters for attack magic were hardly used as I seldom got them within range to do damage. Once I had the enemy surrounded and moved a mage close enough to help, the battle was already over. Magic can’t be cast if the character moves that same turn so the levels between my melee units quickly outpaced them.

Langrisser was rarely over challenging, and that counts the times I brought limited support. Not to say I didn’t see the game over screen from time to time. If you don’t pay attention to the scenario requirements or you make a blatant error leaving Ledin exposed, you’ll face the consequences.

Unlike other tactic games I’ve played, Langrisser removes side quests and the world map is static. You’ll never move your character around the world to enter additional battles. After one scenario is cleared it just shows your avatar on the next location with the option to resupply, change character class or deploy for the next story segment. I actually didn’t mind this as I got the the meat of the story quicker. I’m the type of gamer who likes to search every nook and cranny and can easily spend hours exploring outside the main campaign. This approach let me partake of the story without distractions.

Find the Langrisser!

The remastered graphics are beautifully done. For those looking for a retro experience you can opt for the original presentation. In fact, you can even mix and match. Want remastered character graphics with the old maps? You can do that. Or switch it up and use the current map backgrounds with the retro characters. You can change these options at any time, even in the middle of a scenario. 

I really enjoyed the chip tune music in Langrisser 1 but the music in Langrisser 2 didn’t match the story and came off as a bit chinsy. The dialogue is voiced in Japanese but everything can be read onscreen so you won’t miss out on anything. 

From a technical standpoint, I didn’t run into any frame rate drops or bugs of any kind. I did notice some of the load times seemed a bit long. Especially in Langrisser 2. Not a huge deal but enough to draw attention. The AI was occasionally ineffective, especially when casting magic. Certain characters are immune or nearly so to magic but that didn’t stop high level enemy commanders from continually targeting them to no effect. The only other thing that bothered me was some of the area of attack spells from enemy commanders. There were a few times when these spells would be cast off screen so I couldn’t see what damage was dealt.

Final wrap

I had a blast playing Langrisser. Despite a few issues with the game, it’s well polished and plays smoothly. Being a remaster from an older game, I’m not surprised I thoroughly enjoyed the classic experience. Langrisser is a bit easier than other games of this genre and the story doesn’t take a lot of risks, but it’s presentation with branching paths and gorgeous artwork was more than enough to draw me into the world and provide hours of entertainment. The fact that you get both Langrisser one and two with several story arcs makes this worth the asking price and should be added to any SRPG fan’s Switch. Additionally, the accessible gameplay with the option to bulk up your army also makes it a great jumping point for new players who want to try this genre.

Pros

  • Classic Strategy RPG
  • Two Games in One
  • Multiple Story Arcs
  • Beautiful and Lovable Characters

Cons

  • Simplified Gameplay
  • Predictable Plot

Verdict
Langrisser I & II strategically pack an abundance of tactical role-playing in one exciting bundle.
4/5

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