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Langrisser I & II (Switch) Review

March 12, 2020 | Posted by Genna Boyer
Langrisser I and II
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Langrisser I & II (Switch) Review  

Langrisser I and II are remasters of the 1991 and 1994 games of the same title, each boasting updated graphics and animations while also hoping to impress western audiences. Western fans will rejoice to hear that the remastered versions of Langrisser I and II are in English. At least, the subtitles are in English. The voice actors still speak Japanese in the background, so I likened the experience to watching a subbed anime. The translations were straight-forward and polished and had no meme-worthy goof ups or weird phrasing.

Instead of thrilling intro cinematics worthy of remastered titles, our hero is greeted by a still, blinking image of the Goddess of Light, Lucilis. Her dialogue is a copy/paste situation, so both games begin the exact same way, the only real difference being when she names the protagonists. She gives the player an aptitude test which determines their character’s starting class. Once that’s decided, both games offer an Easy Start mode. It grants more gold at the beginning, more experience points, etc. I declined for the sake of having an honest first experience with the game, and I really didn’t have any trouble progressing without the boost.

Gameplay is structured around chapter scenarios. Chapters denote story location and scenarios are the playable bits. Every scenario has win/lose conditions that are influenced by the story. Story progression can change when certain conditions are met in a scenario; for example, if one of your party members fall at a specific time in the story, a new story route opens. Langrisser I has 20 chapters and 8 different story routes while Langrisser II has 21 chapters and 13 different routes. Out of the two, II has a stronger narrative and faster detour possibilities. Detours mean replayability, and I’m personally interested to discover how these different routes change story outcomes.

RPG stories are important, but the meat of these remasters is the tactical turn-based gameplay. You’re definitely going to watch units move way more than you’ll ponder why there are so many redheads in this universe. Unit classes are numerous, and each class has upgraded tiers. Generals possess one class, and that class can be changed or upgraded by using CP. All generals earn CP separately by killing enemy units themselves or with units they command. Kills earn experience points and level ups earn CP. At the beginning of scenarios, players can view the map, hire their desired number and type of mercenary dedicated to each general, and change their generals’ starting location. Hired unit types are based on a general’s class and what they’ve unlocked in the class tree. When generals fall in battle, their hired help retreats.

As a first-time player intrigued by the genre, I gradually picked up on unit strengths and weaknesses. Unit types stay largely consistent across the two games. However, mage mercs seemed considerably weaker in the first game compared to the second. It was nice to feel like those units could hold their own instead of just being fodder circled around my healer. Another thing, and it’s obvious, but a tactical game means that the order in which you move your units and where you move them is super important. It took a few chapters to realize that moving your general first and having your mercenaries follow would grant them buffs by being in proximity to their commanding officer. Let’s all laugh at my frustrating ignorance. In my defense, Langrisser didn’t have a tutorial like I assumed there would be. Instead, there’s a “how to play” tab when you hit the universal pause button. Silly me didn’t think to pause a turn-based game until I had conquered a few chapters. Langrisser II offers more tutorialization through dialogue, but by then it was a little too late to be helpful to me.

Time for the negatives. The camera made me nauseous. I love seeing the cute chibi characters, but when the camera is zoomed in too close and is always centered on the unit that’s moving, it’s a jarring visual. I had to look away from the screen during enemy turns due to the rapid zipping and switching of units. Another irritation was the music. It seems catchy at first, then you realize it’s a 30 second loop of the same thing. It didn’t take long for me to mute it. Lastly, the most frustrating part of my experience with these remasters was the AI. I’d be neck-deep in a scenario, defeat clinging to me, and the AI would suffer a brain fart and roll over. I recall one instance where I should have lost, but the merciful AI upset me by letting me win. Allied units are also considerably dumb. They like to keep things fresh by occasionally flinging themselves into avoidable danger.

It’s ultimately unfair for me to compare Langrisser I and II to other tactical RPGS like the Fire Emblem series considering my exposure to Fire Emblem is thanks to Super Smash Bros (I main Ike). What I can say is that my time with Langrisser was fulfilling. It’s a no-fluff kind of tactical RPG, emphasis on the tactics. The stories were engaging, albeit simple at times, and the scenarios never felt repetitious. It was nice having the story structure the scenario, giving meaning to every battle. At the very least, I recommend checking out the demo to determine if purchasing these remasters is a tactical decision.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Expect to revel in many hours of your own tactical genius in Langrisser I and II, where every move matters and redheads run the world of Light. Story detours strengthen the replayability factor and scenarios stay interesting. All it needs is a camera fix, AI difficulty options, and more varied music.

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Langrisser I and II, Genna Boyer