Langrisser Re:Incarnation -TENSEI- Review

I played it so you wouldn’t have to.

Have you ever gone into a store intending to buy a specific game that you know will be fun but changed your mind and purchased a different game that you didn’t even know existed before getting there?  This recently happened to me. I went to EB Games to buy Bravely Second: End Layer, but walked out with Langrisser Re:Incarnation Tensei. My thought process went something like, “Hey, I’ve never played a game in this series, but I know that it was pretty foundational to the SRPG genre. I want more quality SRPGs, so I’m going to show it with my wallet.” I have never been more wrong. The game is a muddled mess. My review could stop there, but I’m going to explain a bit more, starting with the positive, because very few things are all bad, including this game.

 The “Good”

Aksys Games would have done us a favor if they would have released the soundtrack alone. I really enjoyed the different tracks, and actually left the game running for a bit so that I could listen while I played Salt and Sanctuary. The game has a branching story with multiple endings, some well-made cut-scenes, many diverse classes, some fun characters, and some interesting ideas that could have made this game pretty fantastic. Sadly, it’s not fantastic.

Pre/Post Battle

langrisser-2
This menu is seriously ugly.
This is the main menu. It’s where you save, manage items/equipment and your party, hire mercenaries, view the map, and have your relationship-building conversations. It is important to note that this is the only place from which to save. You cannot save mid-battle, even if you miss out on valuable experience because a friendly AI killed an enemy. More on that later. Items/equipment do not have descriptions that help in any way. Is this new accessory better than the one you have equipped? Price is usually a good indicator, but attack/defense attributes are not shown to you until after you purchase it. If it turns out your new piece of gear is garbage, you can take the hit and sell it back at a penalty or reset to your last save and try something else out. Here, it is worth mentioning that there is no soft reset, you have to quit the game and start it fresh. One cool (in theory) feature of this game is that each character is technically a commander who can use hired mercenaries that act as a separate unit during battle. You hire these mercenaries from the guild, which is run by a typical anime “cool guy” and a talking hedgehog. The types of mercenaries are different for each class, and there are usually a couple of different options that come at different prices. You get currency for mercenaries after completing battles, and you will be refunded the cost if the hired hands survive the battle. The trouble is that there is some randomness to these mercenaries–sometimes they are awful and get steamrolled by enemies and other times they seem too powerful. May the odds be ever in your favor.

The relationship building in this game is handled via multiple choice dialogue. Three options are presented to you and if you pick the wrong one–no progression for you. Either save before you enter dialogue or be okay with messing up. But be warned: you may only converse with one person between each battle. You want your relationships levelled up because there is a romance aspect that some people like, and the relationships give help in battle. The closer the relationship, the higher chance there is for a buff to initiate. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is no free-roam map where you can grind for gold or experience, so making sure that you have every character that you want to level up in your party is key.

Battle

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This is what the battle map looks like. I’m not even joking.

I have mentioned that the battle prep menu is not very easy on the eyes. Battle mode is even worse. I don’t understand why the graphics are so terrible. We’re not talking Stardew Valley type retro graphics, Minecraft simplicity, or anything like that. It’s just plain bad. Everything looks so old. The battle map is a grid-based system that looks/plays like something from a GBA version of Fire Emblem, just not as polished. Once one character engages with another, you are brought into a battle sequence where big headed and horribly rendered characters clash. If the fight contains mercenaries, the graphic is a large group of stupid looking soldiers. If it is a commander, the graphic shows the commander unleashing the attack. There are attacks and skills that can be unleashed from a distance. These are usually acted out on the map without a battle sequence. Skills are determined with MP, which can be regained if you just sit and wait. You may spam experience for some characters/classes by just waiting, getting attacked and healing, then doing it all again. It isn’t fun, but you get to listen to the lovely music.

There are hidden items on the battlefield, usually off in some obscure corner. If you want them you can inch your way across the annoyingly huge maps or use a guide, which is what I did. There are some maps where NPC characters fight with you and sap the experience that you need if they get a kill. (A note on mercenaries: if they kill an enemy unit, their commander gains the experience.) There are also friendly NPCs that seem to be in danger but are not engaged in the conflict. This is a typical scenario with the Fire Emblem games and you are usually rewarded nicely for making sure they don’t get hurt. But this isn’t Fire Emblem so I wouldn’t worry about them in this game. The enemy AI is ridiculous. You can beat the game with one or two characters being levelled up and advancing slowly. While this is cheap, it is less frustrating than having your party blocking each other when advancing. That’s right. You cannot pass one character through another player’s occupied space. This makes the game (which has no battle speed options) long and very tedious.

Conclusion

There is much more I could complain about. I have glossed over a few features that others may like, but for the love of games and your precious time, don’t buy this game. If you must have it, take my copy. I’ll gladly sell or trade.

Something I want to mention is that almost every female character needs more clothing. This isn’t apparent from the box art, so if you struggle with that sort of thing just stay away.

I’m not even giving this a score. I mean, just look at these screen shots. You don’t want this.

GG & Amen

 

10

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