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Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 29 - 2020

When all you want to do is conquer a fantasy world.

 
While I have been playing video games for far too long, and being a fan of all things strategy, I must admit to missing out on playing Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena back in the PlayStation days. It wasn’t a well known title at the time, but it still managed to build up a following among tactical RPG fans. Those fans, and anyone else with a passion for the genre, will be excited to hear that, more than 20 years later, Matrix Software have released a sequel on the Switch. Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia offers player a fantasy world in conflict, ripe to be conquered by any Switch-wielding commander.

 


 
Taking place in a magical fantasy land, there are six different factions that control different areas of the map. Five of these factions are in possession of magical artefacts that are desired by the other factions, and this is as good a reason for war as any. The good news here, for fans of a good story, is that each different faction comes with their own characters and their own motivations. While the narrative can become somewhat bland at times, it is nice that so much effort has gone into each of the different factions and their own stories. As the player can choose which faction they wish to play as, this means six different stories to enjoy, each seeing the conflict from their own point of view, and players will have to play through the entire game at least six times to see everything that the game has to offer.

 
The narrative in Brigandine is impressive, but the gameplay is equally intriguing. Whatever the starting motivations of the chosen faction, or their relationships with the other factions, the goal is simply to conquer the entire land by capturing the bases of opposing factions, and defending held bases. The game is played out with turns known as seasons. Playing Brigandine on the easiest difficulty level will give the player as many seasons as they need to conquer the land, but turning the difficulty up will mean a fixed number of seasons to achieve the goal, forcing players to take more chances.

 
Each season is split into two phases, with the organisation phase coming first. This is the management side of the game in which the player prepares for the battles that will come in the attack phase. Organisation can be a little overwhelming to start with, but quickly becomes easy to manage. It is here that the player will decide what they want their Rune Knights, the powerful commanding characters in the game, to do. As the player will be controlling a fair few of these knights, there are different jobs for them, aside from jumping into an opposing factions land and starting a fight. As important as going on the offensive, ensuring key lands are defended well means moving knights around the map. However, the player can also send knights off on quests, to gain experience or find useful new gear. Questing knights cannot be used for attack or defence, but the rewards of having them out of action for a while can be well worth it.

 


 
Knights, of which there are many, do not fight alone though. What makes these knights so powerful is their ability to summon monsters, and the player will build up a small squad around the knight. Each knight has a points value that can be assigned to summoned monsters in a similar manner to choosing armies in a tabletop war game. Each monster has a different points value, with the more powerful monster being substantially more expensive. This means that the player will have to carefully manage their points and choose the monsters by the abilities that they bring to the table, rather than going all out on the most expensive monsters. Monsters are also more or less effective depending on the environment, adding further considerations, and when a monster dies, they are lost for good, barring any magical intervention. As monsters level up and become more powerful, that fear of permanently losing a beloved, long living monster will also guide the players tactics.

 
Once the player has finished with all of their organising, it is then time for battles to play out. For this, the player is transported onto a hex-tiled map with up to three knights and their accompanying monsters. The battles take place in turns, with the idea being to either wipe out the opposing knights, which will result in their monsters disappearing, or less preferably to make them retreat. Again the player will have to think carefully about their unit placement, taking advantage of any environmental bonuses and choosing which units to attack, as defeating monsters is good for experience, but defeating knights will lead to the battle being over quickly. These battles are very enjoyable, especially considering the cool special moves that can be performed by knights and the variety of different monsters that can be deployed, but they can drag on a bit if the player is focussing on the monsters over the knights.

 
Visually, Brigandine looks quite nice on the Switch. The art work used to depict characters and the like is very nicely done, while the actual gameplay visuals are perhaps of a lesser standard, but still look nice. Audio-wise, the soundtrack is nice enough, and the voices are well done, although only in Japanese.

 


 
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is undoubtedly a niche game, one that fans of the genre will maybe have heard of and seek out. The game is perhaps a little too lacking in variety to serve as a good introduction to tactical RPGs, but those who know what to expect will find a solid, enjoyable game that throws in a massive amount of replayability through the different entertaining stories. It may take a while to get to grips with, but Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is the sequel SRPG on Switch fans have been waiting for.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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