Langrisser I & II (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 27.03.2020

Review for Langrisser I & II on Nintendo Switch

Langrisser shares a fate somewhat like Fire Emblem, in that the series was generally unknown outside of Japan. To make things worse, the two most recent examples players saw were the absolutely disastrous 3DS game, and a mobile game that had outstanding graphics, but was marred by "gatcha" mechanics. This Switch package is a remake of the original two of the series, and is a very faithful one, with even options of leaving old artwork in. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is a grid-based battler, again very similar to Fire Emblem, with the biggest difference being that you are commanding a horde of underlings to fight alongside you, resulting in very large engagements.

People might be understandably wary of a new Langrisser entry given the very odd recent ones. The first was the absolutely bad 3DS game which soiled many gamers to the series, although it bore little true resemblance. More recently was the mobile game that among its modes had a remake of the first in a sort of accelerated mode. This had a terrific art style, and was fairly playable with the major criticism of having pay-to-win mechanics. The Switch version bears a lot of resemblance to the accelerated mode of the mobile version, but is a complete remake of the actual core titles.

Screenshot for Langrisser I & II on Nintendo Switch

Langrisser, the true source material anyway, is a series of strategy games focusing on a few commandeers and a group of mercenary groups under their command as they battle out in huge fields. The stories revolve around the titular sword that grants unlimited power. The plot can be dark at times - as an example the first game opens up with your castle being sacked, and your father likely being killed.

It plays out like a typical turn-based strategy game on a grid, and the similarities to Fire Emblem are obvious. The major difference is that each character at the start of a level can use gold to hire various mercenaries, which are based on their class choices up till now. Given the size of battles, it is nearly impossible to win without them, so on average every person needs to come loaded with four or more mercenaries under them. Each unit has its own health bar, which represents how many soldiers are still alive, and the more health they have the more damage they do; a similar mechanic with Advance Wars.

Screenshot for Langrisser I & II on Nintendo Switch

Additionally, units within a narrow range of their commander get a bonus to their stats, and are healed at the start of the turn. This gives an interesting, and actually refreshing twist to the battles, that instead of over-powered heroes just battling each other, and someone with 1hp slaying whole armies along with a loss of even one of them resulting in a player reset, the battles feel much more "real," as losses mount on each side. Additionally, because many of the characters do not permanently die, the battles feel much less risky, opening up a more casual feel to the experience, rather than the often stress-filled matches of Fire Emblem. Not to say it takes away from strategy, but it is important to emphasize the battles felt much more fun because of this difference.

Screenshot for Langrisser I & II on Nintendo Switch

Between battles players can do some quick things, like buy new gear, but the coolest is class changing. Each character has a type of tree that they can progress down - this might be something like going down the cavalier route, compared to an infantry commander route. These offer new mercenaries to hire, and a new skill to equip. While very stylish, this represents the extent of tactical choices. One thing that deserves a lot of credit is the art style choices. The art has been remastered, meaning it's completely redrawn to reflect more modern anime conventions, while being accurate to the original characters. While some players may not like this, this went absolutely above and beyond, and included both the old level design, as well as the old character artwork if so desired. The developer even saw fit to have the old artwork's mouths move while they talk or scream.

There is very little to criticize with this. It is a completely solid package, with tremendous polish. The only thing holding it back from being truly great is that game itself is somewhat dated, and there is little beyond the main gameplay loop. As a result there is little else to do between the battles. As an example, there are no complex builds to try for, no dating sims, no mini-games, and so on and forth. These two titles come from a simpler time when such things did not exist, and for that reason alone, it is somewhat refreshing to play.

Screenshot for Langrisser I & II on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Even one amongst the games included is very enjoyable to play through, and having two in the package makes it that much better. Despite the huge battles of so many characters, it actually goes quick and, gives a much more chaotic yet satisfying experience rather than the "perfect" style Fire Emblem requires to play. This lacks many newer conventions, like managing relationships, as an example, and feels somewhat aged, but despite all this, it is still fun to play. The bundle is just so polished, that it's hard not to recommend.

Developer

Chara-Ani

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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