Langrisser I & II Review (Switch)
Release Date: March 10, 2020
File Size: 1.6GB
Publisher: NIS America
Click here to view on the Nintendo eShop.
Langrisser is a series with a long history, shifting developers and platforms throughout the years. With a mobile game that recently launched, fans were happy to see the HD remaster of the first two games come to modern systems. Originally known in North America as Warsong, the first title was similar to Fire Emblem with its tactical combat and RPG mechanics. What is featured in this compilation are the first two stories in the series, with Langrisser II available officially in English for the first time. Both titles have been enhanced with upgraded art assets and full Japanese voiceovers. The original art set is available and can be swapped in the menu, where you can also find an array of other options to customize your adventure, including quality of life features like the ability to speed up skirmishes between units.
Langrisser is set in a world of gods and goddesses, rich in lore and magic. The beginning of each title has the player answering the questions of a goddess of the world, and each decision made by the player will impact the entire story. All actions have consequences, be they positive or negative, and your companions will hold you responsible for the choices you make.
As the story of Langrisser I unfolds, you learn of a tale involving legendary swords and Prince Ledin’s heart-wrenching desire for a revenge for the death of his father. As the Prince comes to terms with all that is going on, he journeys to reclaim the legendary weapon Langrisser, a sword that his ancestors sought to protect for generations. The decisions that Prince Ledin makes on his journey will decide not only his own fate, but that of the entire continent.
The sequel follows the tale of a wandering warrior, Elwin. Getting himself caught in a fight where a girl is being abducted by the Rayguard Empire from her village, he can’t turn a blind eye to a person in need. Doing the right thing is usually a one and done type of experience, but Elwin gets swept up in a story of political intrigue that involves two legendary weapons of immeasurable power. If there’s one thing that’s certain, Elwin knows he needs to get his hands on Langrisser before the Empire does.
This title sets itself apart from most other tactical RPG’s due to the sheer volume of playable units on a map. Players can give orders to upwards of thirty units per turn, helping this series stand out with its large-scale battles and unique systems. During each fight, players will need to complete various objectives to come out victiorious, such as protecting certain NPCs, routing an enemy army, or defeating a key enemy leader.
Before each fight, each character has the ability to hire a platoon of units to fight alongside them, using their leadership skills to provide passive bonuses as long as those units are within a set distance of their commander. The type of recruitable unit depends on the leader’s class, with magic-classes capable of recruiting monks and sword-based classes capable of hiring lancers or generic soldier-type units.
Combat is played out in a grid-like map, where leader units can move a set distance per turn to attack enemies or stay stationary to use a special skill or command. The abilities of each leader change as they acquire a new class or level up, giving a wide variety of tactical advantages, such as a long range magic attack, the ability to buff up stats, or the ability to heal an ailing ally.
As you place your units on the map, take care to keep in mind the distance from a unit to its commander, the bonuses or debuffs afforded by the terrain you place them on, and other fine points of battle. These units will disappear at the end of a battle, meaning you’ll need to recruit a fresh set at the next map. The decisions you make can impact the flow of the fight very quickly: will you sweep toward the enemy leader quickly, disregarding the safety of the weaker constitutioned mages and monks in your army, or will you hang back defensively and allow the enemy to engage you on their own terms?
Grasping the advantages that units have over one another depending on their type is one of the easiest mechanics to pick up, and the game aids you by displaying weaknesses before a skirmish. You’ll see your forces clash against the enemy in a fight sequence, watching as soldiers fall from their unit one by one, the depletion of their force readily seen as the sortie ends. This is one of those little things that makes Langrisser stand out from other strategy RPGs.
Leveling and Systems
Commanders will level up as EXP is accumulated within certain thresholds, resulting in a boost to their stats. Since Langrisser gives commanders access to their own squadrons, when those units fell a foe, commanders will also net EXP gain from their accomplishments, adding a bit of spice to the regular formula that many tactical enthusiasts usually grapple with.
Along with a boost to stats, commanders are granted a currency titled CP, which allows them to be promoted to different classes and gives them further access to different spells and abilities as they level up. This system allows for multiple possibilities when choosing the next class for a character, allowing a player to customize their battle experience as they see fit. Bonus CP is awarded to commanders that take out the most enemy units, allowing them to reach their next class change a bit more quickly than others. Being able to test out these class changes and switch between them definitely makes for another welcome change, giving players the freedom to test out play styles to see what really works and what doesn’t for their particular method.
While you can simply zoom through the main story, there are optional sidequests that can be played, taking the player through skirmishes for additional EXP and items. Players can experience these- and any story quest- as many times as they want, allowing them to bolster their party with EXP and resources if they find it hard to advance in the main story. While this wasn’t a possibility in the first renditions of the games, I did find that it really helped prevent issues with pacing, and though there is the potential to make things a bit too easy for yourself by over-leveling, I never really found myself in a place where the gameplay felt too easy.
This collection is a fine example of what can be done with the port a long-standing series to modern consoles. With the quality of life improvements and the inclusion of a New Game+ feature, Langrisser I & II shows that new life can easily be breathed into an old series with a little love and care. Both of the adventures boast at least thirty hours of gameplay each, and with the freedom of choice in these titles, replayability is incredibly high. While graphics can look a little cutesy with their mobile inspiration, the original assets are available to purists. While I didn’t mind the new art, going back to the old way of things was kind of nice.
Langrisser is a series that should be on the radar for any strategy RPG fan, and one that we should keep an eye on. With good sales, we may see the other entries cross the sea for the first time, and with the improvements to art assets, writing, and gameplay mechanics, we can see them really shine. If you are itching for another foray into the strategy genre after completing WarGroove or Fire Emblem: Three Houses, definitely take a look at Langrisser I & II.