I don’t know where to begin with Langrisser Re:Incarnation -TENSEI-, which for the rest of this review I will simply refer to as Langrisser. The game is a strategic RPG for the Nintendo 3DS and is very similar to the Fire Emblem series of games. Though while latest Fire Emblem game has a lot of style and polish, Langrisser feels somewhat dull.
That’s not to say that the game isn’t enjoyable. It does have an engaging story and has great character design, but some of the battles feel very drawn out and some of the in game elements are clumsy and awkward.
In the game you play as Ares Lovina, whose village Borcelaine is attacked by the Imperial Army of Light. In an attempt to protect his village he recedes to a church and draws a sword. Only the sword happens to be the Holy sword Langrisser, which only a true hero can wield the sword. Why has Emperor Autokrato IV ordered the army of light to attack the village? What happened to Ares’ sister Licorice? Ares goes on a quest to find these things out.
Langrisser Re: Incarnation -TENSEI- features branching story paths that present themselves during battle based on the choices you make. The balance of the story and your fate hangs in the balance as your choices define the course of battle.
As I mentioned earlier, this game feels very much like the Fire Emblem games. The game is a strategy role-playing game where you move your characters around the map, attacking the enemy on the way to a shared goal. That could be to defeat all of the enemies, reach a specific destination on the map, or fulfill another goal.
As an added bonus, not only do you have your main characters to attack with but you can also hire mercenaries at the start of each battle who will fight along with you. For the most part you can have one mercenary per character, though at times you can have more. These mercenaries are typically of the same class as the character they are working with. So if your party character is a pilot then so will be the mercenary. And the class makes a difference. One thing to bear in mind though is that if the commander character is defeated then so will all of their mercenaries. So it’s advantageous to try to defeat them first, while at the same time sending your own mercenaries out ahead of your commanders.
In addition to the attack and defense stats of each character, their class makes a huge difference. When you select to attack an enemy you will be given a message as to how successful the attack will be. If you get a positive message, like advantage or overwhelm, then your attack will do more than average. Additionally you’ll be less likely to take as much damage since conversely the enemy’s attack will be weak towards you.
Each instance of attacks contain attack and counter attack at once. So you’ll have the chance to be hurt or defeated with every attack. If you see “disadvantage” or “danger” then it’s best not to attack at all.
This brings me to one of my problems with the game. With each attack I typically have NO idea how successful my attacks will be. The odds message is the only thing that I find really useful in determining whether or not I should attack. The game doesn’t tell you how much your attack will do or how much damage you will take before the battle. On top of that while it shows both character’s attack and defense stats, I’ve been unable to figure out how to predict at all the damage that will be delivered.
And don’t get me started on the “normal” matchups that see both characters attack with ZERO. They could literally stand there throwing hands for hours and neither one would suffer any damage.
Speaking of the battles, if you’ve played Fire Emblem you’ll know how beautiful those battle sequences are. Not so much here. One of the first things I changed in my options was to turn off these optional animations. They are quite bad. Battles featuring bland, ugly, chibi versions of the characters jumping about isn’t fun to watch at all. They also draw out the lengthy battles as well, but that wouldn’t have been a big deal if they looked remotely as good as Fire Emblem.
Overall the battles, which is 95% of the game, feel somewhat drawn out.
The battlefields are huge. Sometimes they feel like they’re way too big. Add that to the fact that there are sometimes a dozen different characters on the battlefield, most with one or two mercenaries at their side, and one turn may have as many as thirty individual characters who need to move per turn. This can take forever. Also the battle isn’t structured so that one side goes followed by the other side. So the map is constantly shifting back and forth between sides. In battles where you are also playing alongside an ally team, who you don’t control, this can end up with even more motion on the map.
And I hate to say it, but the maps are also not much to look at. Like the switched off battle animations, they are also very uninspired and somewhat bland.
Before each battle you’ll get the chance to go to the shop, buy and equip weapons, armour, and other items. Another seemingly simple and common thing in virtually every other game is non-existent here. In the store you can see which of your characters can equip an item, however you CAN’T see if a) they already have it equipped, b) if it is better or worse than what you currently have equipped, or c) if you own any already. It’s maddening to purchase gear for your team only to find that it’s inferior to what you already have equipped. And the only way to see what they have equipped is to go into a mock set up for the next battle, or choose to remove equipment from the separate equip screen to open up what they have on.
It’s either a lot of back and forth between different menus or a lot of wasted money buying gear you don’t need.
Pretty much every other game has done this with seemingly no effort. It feels like Langrisser makes this needlessly difficult.
Before I get to what I liked about the game I have just one more qualm.
Virtually every game I’ve played on my 3DS has used the (A) button to select and the (B) button to cancel. For some reason Langrisser uses the exact opposite controls. For advancing the story dialogue it’s not too big of a deal, however when you’re in the heat of battle it can be a hassle. Especially if you make a choice by mistake when you really meant to cancel the action.
So with all that said, the game isn’t that bad. The music is well done, the character art is great and the Japanese language track is fun.
Overall if you’re looking for a top notch strategy role-playing game I’d steer clear of this one. With Fire Emblem Fates on the market that is definitely more worth your dollar. That being said if you do find the game on sale, and can get passed some of what I said above, the core game and the story is well worth playing.