Title: Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia
Publisher: Happinet Corporation
Developer: Matrix Software
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy RPG
Official Site: https://www.happinet.co.jp/english/
Release Date: June 25, 2020
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (December 10, 2020)
Where to Buy: Nintendo Switch Store
Released back in June on the Nintendo Switch, Brigandine: The Legend Of Runersia is the sequel to a PlayStation 1 game of the same namesake. However, with Brigandine: The Legend Of Runersia, the game is set in an entirely new location and conflict. Along with this, the sequel retains the same core gameplay and offers up some meaty content, an engaging plot, and intriguing characters for you to enjoy.
Brigandine’s War to Win the Peace
Brigandine: The Legend Of Runersia’s story and setting are perhaps the major selling points currently offered by the game. There is no shortage of intriguing characters and plotlines, all of which are highly enjoyable to encounter. Before delving head-on into that subject, let’s start with the plot and premise.
Brigandine’s story revolves around an ever-approaching war for control of the land of Runersia between the six nation-states and control of powerful armor relics called the Brigandines. In this war, it is up to you to command mystic warriors called Rune Knights along with a whole host of creatures with varying skills, spells, and strengths. They will also fight for control over various forts across Runersia and watch as the story unfolds before them. The game and story end when you control all fort areas in the game.
This plot is simple and drives the narrative effectively while also being an engaging premise, but this is not where it shines. Where it shows its most charm is within the many stories told throughout the game. Each faction has a driving force and story narrative that thrusts each nation into this war. Throughout these faction story narratives, you encounter many characters and stories.
In these narratives, you will learn the motivations behind characters, such as why they wish to fight and their relationships with other characters, along with some fun and engaging dialogue. To conclude, Brigandine’s story, while not the greatest in the world, is nonetheless charming and positively presents the game. The story elements are also fun to see as they are showcased in a well-thought-out way that is as highly engaging as it’s premise.
An Excellent Art Style and Cumbersome Controls
From a visual standpoint, Brigandine is excellent. Everything from characters to backdrops are superbly drawn and help bring life into the world of Runersia. However, the game tends to lack in regards to its 3d models, which is especially evident with the game’s hero units called Rune Knights.
Whereas Rune Knights will have excellently drawn character artwork, their models will remain the same with slight armor color differences. To me, this lessens the overall visual appeal of the characters within battles. Honestly though, this isn’t the worst thing I encountered, nor does it hold the game back in any significant way.
What does hold Brigandine back is its often cumbersome controls during battle. Controls in battles are thankfully good, but that is only when it comes to performing actions like casting spells, attacking, and such. Movement is where things begin to crumble, and the controls make the game feel like a chore. It takes what feels like an eternity at times to move units across large battlefields, which results in long periods of boredom and annoyance. Luckily there is an option to speed character animations up, so the problem is mitigated slightly, but remains a sizeable annoyance.
Engaging Tactical RPG Battles in Brigandine
When it comes to the gameplay in Brigandine: The Legend Of Runersia, it succeeds in nearly every aspect. The highest of these successes is its strategy and combat systems, with how both provide a highly enjoyable and fun experience. The core combat is in a tactical turn-based format which is akin to other games on the Switch, such as Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Mercenaries Saga Chronicles.
If you are a fan of these or similar titles, you will likely feel at home with Brigandine: The Legend Of Runersia. But where there are strong similarities with other games, there are also prime differences. One of these is the way combat functions in Brigandine. Instead of a focus on wiping all units on a single map, you instead are incentivized to take out the opposing side’s leader.
When done so, you can potentially win battles with ease, due to the fact when the other side’s leaders or heroes go down, their units also retreat from the field. This adds depth and strategy to the mix that is great to see in action. The tactical battles are also decent on their own with just their base functions. Along with this, there are more strong elements of strategy you can perform. These include things such as flanking maneuvers and a whole array of spells and skills.
Units in Brigandine also have high-quality animations, and it feels satisfying when they perform their intended actions. Units and Rune Knights have an excellent variety in classes and types. Each class has specific weaknesses and strengths, which makes building armies interesting as you can create endless combinations. With that in mind, you have to be careful as certain monsters are stronger against others. If you use too much of one type, you can get wiped out by other armies with ease. I highly approve of the core combat mechanics, unit customization, and management.
However, these great combat mechanics are often overshadowed by the clunky movement controls I previously mentioned. During long playthroughs, the game’s combat and battle elements can become uncomfortably repetitive as well. Much of the maps are reused which I feel factors heavily into this repetitiveness. A lot more speed in movement and map variety could’ve gone a long way.
It wouldn’t be a turn-based strategy game without strategic elements though. To go with tactical battles, there is also a strategic overworld map portion of the game. In this overworld mode, you have two phases. One is called Planning and Movement, and the other Attack or Invasions. The Planning and Movement phase is where you will spend the majority of your time when you’re not fighting. In this phase, you can summon monsters, send heroes out on quests, and manage armies on the world map.
This section of the game adds decent elements to the gameplay. I especially enjoyed quests but wish there was more variety to them than what was on offer. Despite this, the quests in the game are still a great feature in the game as they offer opportunities to gain items for your heroes, new monsters, or even more heroes to join your nation.
When it comes to the Attack and Invasions portion, it can feel a bit lacking in the strategic elements as it seems the AI on certain difficulties won’t attack your forts or lands under your control. Despite this, the Attack section has some great depth to be explored. You have to be strategic with how you build your armies and where you attack, as depending on what the other side’s army is made up of, you can get easily wiped out. Both elements of the overworld portion I feel function well enough and add some enjoyable aspects to the game, even if they aren’t as great as they could be.
Verdict: Brigandine: The Legend Of Runersia is a fun experience with some faults but none too major to hamper the experience as a whole, besides the movement controls. If you are looking for a strategic game akin to titles like RISK and Fire Emblem, I highly recommend picking up Brigandine: The Legend Of Runersia on the Switch.
- Engaging tactical battle systems
- Vast number of unit variations
- Intriguing stories and characters
- Cumbersome movement controls
- Repetitive battles
- Lackluster quest feature