If you quickly glanced at the new Langrisser 1+2 remake on Switch, you may confuse it with another popular strategy RPG series developed by Nintendo. That would be doing this package of games a great disservice. Any fans of high fantasy tactical role-playing games should immediately put these games on their “must play” list.
Langrisser is a series has been around for nearly 30 years. The original Langrisser was released on the SEGA Genesis back in 1991. It was released in the west under the name Warsong, that same year.
The stories of the two games are your standard high fantasy. In the first game, you play as the prince Ledin of Baldea as he fights to reclaim the magical sword, Langrisser, left in his family’s care before the darkness it was holding back reawakens.
Langrisser 2 picks up two hundred years after the end of the first. Tensions are at an all-time high between the nations of the world as the Rayguard Empire pushes to grow its borders. The swordsman Elwin and his friend Hein move to intervene when Hein’s friend is being kidnapped. This decision set in motion another conflict that put the entire world of El Sallia in danger.
Both games in this remake package feature the same rich and refined tactical. You and your enemy will take turns moving units around on sprawling grid-based maps. From wide open fields to the high floors of grand castles, your forces will have to contend with a wide variety of situations.
Your troops are composed of command units and hired mercenaries. Your command units are your heroes and central figures of the story. These hero characters offer much more flexibility and options to customize. You are able to outfit them with different weapons and gear, leveling them up and unlocking various job classes for each character. Each job will net that character additional new skills, spells, and mercenaries that they can take with them into battles.
The mercenary units are what set these games apart from other similar titles. Each command unit is able to be joined by various types of mercenary units, for a price. The type of units that each hero can bring with them depends on what classes they have unlocked. The stronger the merc unit, the more they will cost. The only “customization” you have with the mercs is the choice of which one to take with you into a level.
Combat is more similar to that of Advance Wars than Fire Emblem. Each unit falls into a different type of unit, such as cavalry, archer, monster, soldier, with each one being strong against one and weak against another.
Both the command and mercenary units have a health value associated with them. The lower their health, the less damage they will do. Mercenaries that are in the immediate vicinity of their commander will regain a part of their forces each turn.
In order to help ease the burden of commanding so many troops, commanding units are able to give generic orders to the mercenaries they have hired. These orders are relatively simplistic, orders such as an attack, defend, and charge, which will give movement and control of the units over to the computer.
Magic spells are handled differently than players may be used to. Spells are actions that are separate from a units’ normal attack. In order for a commanding unit to use one of their spells, they will have to forgo both moving and normal attacking for that round. To help balance this out though, the spells are fairly powerful, and simply casting them will net a character experience. I took advantage of this fact to level up in some levels. Spamming stat-boosting spells netted me a bunch of levels as I held my troops back, waiting for the enemy to come to me.
For those players that enjoy the grind, you will be pleased to know that you are able to replay levels as many times as you like. The caveat to this though, is that if you want to replay a previous older level, your story progress reverts back to that point. You will retain your levels, items, and money, but once you go back to a past level, you will have to replay every level between where you were before.
This feature becomes especially helpful, allowing you to check out the various branching story paths. You won’t need to replay these games from the start in order to check out the different endings which is a really welcome feature.
One of the coolest aspects of this new collection is how much work went into the art and music. Designs of anime characters have evolved quite a bit in the 30 years between the original games and this new one. At any time you are able to swap between the original early 90’s art or the brand new more modern designs. A general rule of thumb between the two styles, the exaggerated proportions moved from the shoulder pads in the 90s to the women’s chests in the more modern designs.
The style shift doesn’t stop with the character art either. You can swap the look of the stages to the old pixel style to a new illustrated look for the maps. It’s a great feature that longtime fans will immediately appreciate, along with those of us who love good looking sprite art.
I was incredibly impressed and surprised by Langrisser 1+2. I had zero background experience with the series and went into this game rather blind. I will admit I was just expecting an off brand Fire Emblem game. I was very wrong. These games have a lot to offer that other titles should adopt, the expanded branching job class system for example. Fans of the tactical RPG genre owe it to themselves to play Langrisser 1+2, and should absolutely not miss out.
This game was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch system with a review code provided by the publisher.