Could it be old age or indifference from playing too many games? That’s the mild dilemma I face when tasked with learning the lore and control systems of strategy games and Brigandine The Legend of Runersia was one such hurdle.
It’s not that there are walls of text per se, but tooltips and menu screens that frequent play so often that the game feels 50/50 action and planning. Naturally, that’s what you expect in a strategy game, so if you’re short on time, you may find that you’ll have to put this off for a bit.
To simplify this game from Happinet in a few words, it’s command and conquer. Not the classic 90s game, but the process of commanding and summoning units to achieve utter dominance of the land before your time is up.
Brigandine The Legend of Runersia PS4 Review
Without diving too deep, you choose a country each with an agenda for control. Whether you feel their motivations are justified or not depends on your interest in the many storylines and which of the leaders takes your fancy on a cosmetic factor. They’re aptly dressed, including one leader moonlighting as a ballerina.
The storytelling is quite overly dramatic, and if you’re a fan of anime, you may enjoy these parts. Character portrayal resembles a narrative like Kessen or Dynasty Warriors, only Brigandine The Legend of Runersia gameplay is more in tune with a traditional board game, featuring tactical combat as the driving force.
Brigandine The Legend of Runersia gameplay consists of six nations (without the rugby), and each ruler’s motivations seem in harmony with their subjects. It’s a bit like a Studio Ghibli story in that there are no baddies as such, unless they get in the way of your aspirations. Chop and change the nation you play, and you’ll find that each ruling party’s belief system is the right one.
Each army has a limited supply of mana that they can use to summon entities that will help them crush their enemies. At times they can feel underpowered, but if you’re able to seek all five pieces of the Brigandine armour set, you’ll be the cat’s pyjamas.
There are two stages to the campaign: plan and attack. The first step is preparation, and once you slowly digest the options at hand, you’ll discover that you can hire or summon monsters to go into battle and move these units into position on the map.
Each pivotal tile on the map consists of a fort where your unit leader, or Rune Knight, will hold and defend the vicinity or will function as a B&B for your forces as they move into an offensive position on the enemy.
Tactics in Brigandine The Legend of Runersia play out like a chess game as you move your forces to take out an opposing fort. Three units can attack one position, but if you plan on going on an all-out attack, bear in mind that it exposes your bases.
The world map is relatively uneventful as you plan each move, attempting to read your opponents strategy ten moves before they’ve taken then. Once you’ve claimed all the spots on the map and wiped out the other armies, or time runs out, it’s game over.
Let The Battle Commence
Once planning is underway, you can engage the enemy up close. This takes place on a tile-based map, over many terrains, where you lead your Rune Knights and whichever monster units you summoned/recruited beforehand.
It takes a bit of time until the battle begins regardless if you march your troops in for a rumble or play the defensive game, protecting your assets. There is a focal point on keeping your favourite/most important units alive as it’s a permadeath situation if you lose them.
There are the odd items that will revive a unit, keeping all their experience and levelling intact. Still, these are a rarity, and it’s encouraged to venture out and complete quests between battles to scavenge for items, and even the occasional unit to join the ranks.
That’s right folks, there are RPG and rogue-like elements to Brigandine The Legend of Runersia, and if you’re into levelling up a character and developing classes, this side of things is a lot of fun and one of the standout features in the game. Alas, the battles not so much.
Is Brigandine The Legend of Runersia Worth It?
Pacing in the game feels a bit sluggish. The narrative scenes have a decent dynamic to them, resembling an anime scene or two, and once familiar with the UI, and you’ve read through the sometimes excessive text, getting stuck in feels quite elusive.
In its defence, the character building and skillsets are excellent, and there’s an enormous amount of units you can acquire. As they level up, their input can feel indispensable. With that in mind, it’s not unthinkable to have your best knights or deities on the fringe, to save them for the finishing move. Losing them is incredibly disappointing.
Though the tempo is a bit hit and miss, and the process of learning the controls and lore can be arduous, it’s this fundamental level of interaction that is the least appealing. For me, Brigandine The Legend of Runersia lacked the charm to entice me into the land of Runersia. Whether that was down to the melodrama or the sometimes disconnected battles, I’m not entirely sure.
The production feels good overall, however. The game doesn’t break new ground in the visual department, but it works given the game’s context. Voiceovers are in Japanese with English subtitles, and as a fan of the source soundtracks, this works. Still, after reading so many subtitles to then go through a series of UI panels, it slowly takes a toll on your eyes, assing a bit of fatigue and, dare I say, boredom.
Brigandine The Legend of Runersia Review Summary
Despite it’s pacing and overuse of text, Brigandine The Legend of Runersia is an in-depth game that will fulfil the appetite of those into the tactical combat genre. Strategies are critical; for every battle, there’s a good deal of planning. Easily the best part is developing your units, but equally upsetting should you lose your favourites.