You may or may not have heard of the Langrisser franchise before but the fact of the matter is that it has been around since the early 90’s. The first two entries released on the Mega Drive back in 1991 and 1994 with several more releasing on the Sega Saturn later. There haven’t been many entries since with the exception of a mobile game that came out last year which is why you may not be familiar with it. For those people, Langrisser is a strategy RPG that is very similar to games such as Fire Emblem. If you’ve never played them before and that comparison has drawn your interest then you’ll be glad to know that NIS America has just recently remastered Langrisser I & II on PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC. Is it worth your time to dive into these?
Upon starting up the game you can choose to play either game you want from the main menu. I never played either of these games before so I of course dove into Langrisser I first. The story in the first game follows Prince Ledin, prince of Balthea, who has fled his castle after an enemy attack. He then has to recruit some friends to help him return and take back his throne from this enemy force. It’s a pretty run of the mill story that we’ve seen countless times over the many years since this game originally released so it’s not that interesting in 2020.
Langrisser II meanwhile follows the story of Elwin who is a warrior who will decide the fate of the world. The main enemy force in this game is Rayguard Empire who is trying to use the Langrisser and Alhazard swords to conquer the world. The sequel features many different branching paths through the story and you can get different endings depending on the choices you make during your playthrough. There is a handy story chart as well so that you can see exactly which way the story might go from chapter to chapter. I thought while the story in the second game was still kind of generic the choice to affect things did make it more interesting than the first game.
When it comes to the gameplay both Langrisser I & II play very similar to each other. Both are tactical RPGs and so when you go into battle you’ll have to really think on how you want to move and attack with your troops. Just rushing in and mindlessly attacking is going to be a sure way to fail. Every battle in the game takes place on rather large maps and both sides will have tons of units on the map at once. The map variety in the games are generally varied but there are times where I found myself fighting on ones I’ve been on before. The first thing you’ll want to start learning is that certain units and weapon types are better against others so learning your advantages and disadvantages will be key in winning.
Another factor in fights to watch out for are the commanders on the field which are always the named units. Each commander has a certain class and can bring in a number of mercenary troops depending on said class that they are. These mercenaries get stat buffs when staying close to the commander and can even be healed while staying close. Needless to say that keeping your troops close to your commander is a very good strategy. Another important thing to note about them is that if you kill the commander then all of the mercenary troops go with them so it can be a good idea to target the commander first.
While both of these games do take some patience to learn and aren’t the best at explaining things to newcomers they aren’t overly hard so long as you think. Part of that is because the AI in the game isn’t the brightest bunch you’ll encounter. That whole part I mentioned about certain units being better against others is something that the enemy AI frequently ignores as many times they went after units of mine that they were weak against. Overall I enjoyed the combat system in these games and had a lot of fun thinking up the best ways to triumph over the AI. As far as playtime goes both games give you a lot to experience making the price of the game justified. You can easily spend over 30 hours with each of these and New Game+ allows you to carry over character progress and items to a new playthrough to get even more time out of each game.
Visually both games have seen some improvement from the original versions thanks to some redrawn artwork. The game also offers the option to switch back and play with the original version’s visuals should you choose. While it does look better than it did back then the pixel art still sort of reminded me of some mobile RPGs that I’ve seen in recent years. I imagine the budget on this remake wasn’t very large so that might explain it. As for the audio you are getting a pretty great sounding game here. The soundtrack has also been redone and it was a joy to listen to. Just like the visuals you can also switch back to listen to the original version if you want. There is even a separate downloadable content pack you can purchase that will add music from other Langrisser titles to the game. The voice acting in the game is great but it is Japanese only with subtitles so those of us like me who were hoping for an English track will be disappointed. As for the trophy list the game has 42 in total with a Platinum to chase after. Many of them come naturally while completing each route in both games but some will require you to clear certain routes under specific conditions. Just like the main game you’ll have to put dozens of hours in to earn this Platinum.
While Langrisser I & II might not stand out quite as much today compared to other strategy RPGS on the market both still have a lot to offer fans of the genre. While the story in both games didn’t impress me the gameplay and combat system provided me with many hours of fun. They reward those who like to think and plan their attacks and seeing a well thought out strategy bring success was always a great feeling. The touched up visuals and new and old soundtracks are just icing on the cake. If you weren’t familiar with Langrisser there has never been a better time to acquaint yourself with it.
*Langrisser I & II is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.