If you are a fan of strategy role playing games (SRPGs), then you probably heard of the Langrisser series. If you haven't play the first and second game in the series, you are in luck, as the games are coming to the PS4 and Nintendo Switch as a bundle.
Both games play very similar, and the game play is easy to learn, yet complicated enough to make it interesting and challenging for seasoned players. Both games start off with you answering some basic questions about how you view the world or what you value in life. Your responses will influence the stats of your main character. If you don't like how the stats turned out based on your answers, you can decide to answer the questions again to "re-roll" your stats.
After you character's stats have been defined, you get to select the difficulty level of the game. The difficulty doesn't really affect the enemies you take on, but rather, the amount of gold you start with, which you use to buy your mercenaries you bring with you in battle and items in the game. The easy path starts you off with quite a bit of gold. The easy path also has you start off with some CP (character points) that you use to level up your characters.
The game then places you in the first scenario. The first thing you do is select the mercenaries that will accompany each of the characters you control. As you level up, you get to unlock different mercenaries. Each unit has advantages and disadvantages, some units can fly, which makes it easier to go over terrain like mountains or walls, while others have better attack or defense stats.
Each scenario spells out the win/loss criteria. Some scenarios have several different ways to win. A fantastic aspect about this game is that you can plan your attack any way you want. You don't feel railroaded into a certain way to play the game. That doesn't mean that a poor strategy will work in the scenario, but even when mistakes are made, it doesn't necessary mean that you'll lose.
The battles in the game are epic. When you move your units into attack, you get a prediction of what the outcomes could be, but that's not necessarily what will happen. And when the units battle, a short animation occurs, with both sides clashing. This is fun to watch, as you can watch the units dwindle down as the battle rages on. The terrain also comes into play during these battles, as you will get bonuses or negative affects based on the surroundings your units are fighting on.
You also have spells that your characters can cast, some of the spells are buff spells, some are heal spells, and some are damage spells that you can cast on your enemies. The spells you can cast are based on the class of your character.
Speaking of character classes, during and after the battle, you are awarded CP points, which you use to level up your characters. Each character has a class tree, which allows you to select which branch you want your characters to go down. Each class has different skills, spells, and mercenaries types. And you are not locked down to a specific branch. If you want to spend your points opening a path you didn't select, you certainly can.
Another RPG aspect of the game is the fact that you can find items or purchase items in between scenarios. You can purchase or find items like weapons, armor, or trinkets that will help increase your character stats. You can find items on the map, and they are pretty easily found, as there is a shimmering spot on the map where the items are found. Some of these items are out of the way, and it's up to you if you decide you want to risk sending units to go and get the mystery item.
Another great aspect of this game is the voice acting. The game is in Japanese and the voice acting is fantastic. And each time any character talks, all the dialog is voice acted, unlike in some games where only certain dialog is voiced. The dialog is subtitled, of course, but having the voice acting added to the game really adds to the character's persona and brings them to life.
Both games have a very interesting story and each game has multiple endings, based on the choices you make, which provides for a high replay value. And if that's not enough, there is a New Game+ after you beat the game.
If I had one complaint about the game is that there isn't any tutorial. Instead you are thrown right into the action. The mechanics are not complicated, so you'll be able to pick up on the game pretty quickly.
Final Grade: A
If you have never played a SRPG because you are afraid of the learning curve, this game bundle is a really great way to get introduced to the genre. If you are already a fan of SRPGs, this game is right up your alley. The game play mechanics are great, the story is fantastic, especially with the multiple endings based on your decisions you make in the game, and the battles feel epic. Couple that with the stellar voice acting and you got yourself a must have game in your collection.
The Tip and The Top:
Interesting story with multiple endings
Easy to pick up game mechanics
Voice acting is great
Easy to understand leveling mechanics
The Flip and The Flop:
No tutorial, but has a lower learning curve
Review copy provided by NIS America