Brigandine

     

Statistically speaking, there aren’t many of you who have actually played a Brigandine game, so it’s probably tough to nội dung the enthusiasm. Released for the original PlayStation, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena is a fantasy turn-based strategy game with an enthusiastic following. It was held back by its limited Atlus print run in the West, & the lack of a localization for its reworked Grand Edition that most praise as the best way to lớn play it.

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Still, if Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia seems lượt thích a kind of game you’d want khổng lồ play, you might want to ramp up your hype. It’s not the sort of game that’s welcoming to all kinds of players, but it’s rewarding to those who really want to lớn dive deep into tactical conquest.

In Brigandine, you take control of one nation on a continent full of them, training knights and summoning creatures as you invade và defend strongholds. It’s a little bit of Risk, a little bit of Culdcept và a heaping helping of Heroes of Might và Magic. It’s inherently thinky, but it gives you that time to lớn think.

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The resulting mixture ends up feeling a lot lượt thích a single-player game of Sid Meier’s Civilization. You’ll plan out all your individual actions & judging opponents’ strengths, và you’ll vì it over dozens of hours each campaign. Our plays were straightforward marches without a lot of time spent training, & they still topped 30 hours each. Once you get going, you can probably play some battles in downtime or while multitasking like the Switch is so suited to lớn handle. Most of the time, though, Brigandine demands your attention.

Getting started in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia might take some work. There’s a tutorial option in the menu that does its best, and it tries lớn explain itself as it goes along. This… only partially works, though. Lớn get comfortable with the game’s systems and menus, you really need to lớn learn through failure. (In many ways, the game’s demo isn’t long enough lớn let you vị that, and that may have led to some frustrated players.) Our recommendation: play your first chiến dịch on Easy, & bail & start over once you’ve gotten the hang of things. Still, a big reason strategy games have seen a rise in popularity is through better onboarding, và Runersia simply doesn’t bởi that.

Many of your most consequential decisions are made on the overworld map. You’ll move troops, summon using accrued mana and send spare knights out on quests for reinforcements & equipment. These activities are most useful in the early game, when you need more knights lớn expand the border you can defend, và in the very late portion, when it’s tougher lớn find ways lớn strengthen your main armies. If you keep your pedal khổng lồ the metal lượt thích we did in our 30-hour runs, you’ll often expand faster than you can recruit. That means fewer không lấy phí units to do these things. The more you crank up the difficulty, the more the AI will hold you back. That’ll give you more of these opportunities and a greater appreciation of their usefulness at the same time.

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Still, in terms of pure hours played, the focus is on battle. Each fight is limited khổng lồ 12 turns, but that doesn’t end up feeling very short. The first few rounds have armies marching from the edge of the map toward each other. This can be tactically interesting, in terms of formation and angle of approach. Still, though, it feels long. Maps that cut off, say, four rows on each edge would probably offer similar strategic opportunities & save a few minutes each time.

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There are good touches here, though. Invading from different sides leads to lớn different approaches, & marching through the mountains rather than the xuất hiện plains means different speeds and creature advantages. You can try a pincer attack by invading with troops from different sides. (Or you can, you know, not split the party.) Nations have home-team advantages, with access to units favored in their dominant terrain. You can stock up from bases as you’re invading, but those will be weak, unleveled units.

The sale of Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia has made a big khuyễn mãi giảm giá out of its writing, especially its feat of coaxing Final Fantasy scribe Kenji Terada out of games industry retirement. It is, however, not particularly good at conveying its narrative. Scenes pop up at the beginning và end, as well as when leaders level up or you capture a lot of bases. Still, there’s nothing about these that can meaningfully convey information about what’s happened, since… what’s happened is entirely variable. Is the leader a war hero, or did you just leave them at the capital for safety? The story can’t say. And the story can’t really do much lớn change the battlefield, either, so you’re generally not missing anything important when you skip it.

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A strategy game is only as good as its usability, & The Legend of Runersia’s to-a-fault focus on aesthetics and interesting màu sắc palettes sometimes gets in the way of that. There are options khổng lồ color-code units on the battlefield and zoom in to lớn get a better view, but having to vày any of that just to lớn get a base understanding of things is a flaw. Things could be clearer, but the trò chơi regularly makes art choices instead.

Each campaign tries khổng lồ pivot to lớn an endgame of sorts. It’s easy to see how this would happen: often the final fights are a given, as you have the resources of 90 percent of the continent, & it’s anticlimactic. We won’t get into the story elements of it, but we really wish it felt more integrated into chơi game and less like an afterthought. Still, if you’re looking for a true challenge at the end with the armies you’ve built up, it does its best to lớn offer that.

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia prides itself on its simultaneous release, but it does so without the care & polish you’d hope khổng lồ see on the English side. There are translation errors, including in ability descriptions that affect play. Does this magic spell hit all enemies in range, or just one? This stuff is important, & the game lies lớn you sometimes. Oh, & the whole thing uses a typeface that straight-up doesn’t fit with that all-too-important aesthetic, opting instead for one that’s awkwardly default. These are easily fixed. Maybe they will be? Who knows.

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The Switch is a great platform for games khổng lồ dip into for a bit when you have a few minutes, but Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia isn’t one of them. It’s a commitment. A rewarding one, perhaps! But it asks players to stick around và learn, stick around và strategize, stick around & grind through dozens of battle maps. It’s more of a hobby than a diversion, but players looking for just that will find a trò chơi that gels well with their sensibilities.

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is available June 25, 2020 on the Nintendo Switch eShop. A physical release was available through Limited Run Games.