For many in the West, the first time that Langrisser appeared on the radar was through a spin-off 3DS entry in 2016 or a mobile game released in English last year since the only game in the core franchise to ever be released in the West was given the name of Warsong back in 1991. Now after letting the core series rest for many years, it seems like Langrisser may be making something of a return through a remake featuring both the first and second game in the series coming over to the West in one package. So with a tactical RPG that once rivaled the greats making an appearance after all this time how does it hold up?
In Langrisser I players find themselves taking on the role of Ledin, a young prince that finds himself on the run and exiled after an enemy invades his kingdom. In an attempt to regain what he has lost, Ledin must join with those who support him but it quickly becomes clear that something far more sinister than a simple invasion is afoot. The storyline for Langrisser I is fairly straightforward though players will be able to enjoy a few extra scenarios even if the majority of the cast is a bit flat in terms of development.
Langrisser II on the other hand is where things get a bit more interesting. The story this time follows a lone traveler by the name of Elwin who will shape the fate of the realm depending on the choices that players make and who they choose to align with. This type of player choice and the fact that the characters, and the plot itself, are far better written and detailed help Langrisser II really stand out between these two games. It is also worth noting that, since player choice does play a role here, there are multiple endings and various developments that players won’t see depending on how things play out, creating quite a bit of replayability in the second entry.
Although the sequel may feature the better storyline, both Langrisser I & II have the same mechanics as one another, making it fairly understandable as to why these two entries in five entry series were bundled together. Both entries are a fairly standard grid-based strategy RPG that features turn-based battles where the player’s team moves and attacks before having to weather the attacks from their opponents.
Various classes, of which characters can change into by leveling up and obtaining “Combat Points” that can then be allocated into improving their combat abilities and slew of unique skills, are strong against certain classes and have their own weaknesses. These combat points can even be used to change to another class entirely with very little loss to the player, allowing for some experimentation at times to find out the best skills and class layout to best fit their playstyle. Alongside this the points can be used to unlock additional types of mercenaries that can provide a number of additional bonuses as well, some of which can be quite unique.
What helps Langrisser I & II stand out here is the aforementioned mercenary system. Players can bring with them a band of mercenaries that can cost a bit of gold but will aid the player’s units in battle. These mercenaries can provide a number of status boosts depending on how well they are paired with the main unit allowing for them to grow quite strong. As a result a lot of the strategy can come down to making sure that the player’s team is properly equipped and assigned the proper mercenaries in battle.
It is worth noting that Langrisser I & II is far from an easy game even once players get the hang of things as the enemy AI can be extremely aggressive here, and should a commanding unit die, all of the mercenaries they have with them will also vanish. Thankfully this remake of the two games does allow players the option to replay a previously cleared mission, allowing for the player to strengthen their team should they find themselves struggling.
Visuals & Audio
Players will have quite a few options open to them when it comes to how they want Langrisser I & II to look as both the modern and retro options are available for character portraits and backgrounds. All of the character portraits have been redrawn with a smoother and more modern art style and with this art style come a number of new CG scenes that help add a little extra flair to some of the major events that occur in the series. Oddly enough however, should the player choose to use the original art that fans of the original franchise loved then all of these new scenes are removed entirely which is an extremely odd choice. Along those same lines, while the option to choose between the retro style maps and backgrounds are a nice addition, the actual character sprites remain the same. This leads to a massive clash in presentation as the character sprites are, unfortunately, quite awful looking in their new design to the point that a few look worse than the mobile game sprites.
For all of its graphical problems Langrisser I & II manages to excel when it comes to its soundtrack and voice work. While there is only the original Japanese voice track accompanying the game the English subtitles are quite fitting and the soundtrack features not only a number of newly arranged tracks that sound amazing but players can also choose to listen to the original tunes instead should they want to change things up.
There is a reason that the Langrisser series managed to hold itself together so well in Japan back when it originally debuted. While the story for the first game may not be the most endearing, the sequel is far more entertaining and with both games featuring solid strategy RPG mechanics players will find this collection offering a lot of classic gameplay. It is a bit unfortunate however that outside of bringing Langrisser I & II to a modern audience, most of this remake doesn’t really improve upon the original outside of the soundtrack. The visuals often feel out of place and while the new artstyle is pleasant with roots close to the original, the punishment the player receives if using the classic portraits is an odd one.