Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia on PC
Oftentimes, gamers don’t really have to wait too long for a possible sequel to their favorite games, but for fans of the Japanese strategy roleplaying game that was 1998’s Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena, the surprise arrival of Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia ends a 24-year wait for a similar experience. Finding itself competing against the likes of the Fire Emblem series, this sequel holds up quite nicely without necessarily breaking out of the mold.
Having not had the pleasure of playing the first game, the immediate comparison that came to my mind was that of Dragon Force for the Sega Saturn. With warring nations led by various Rune Knights, the quest to dominate the continent of Runersia will see players embark on a journey that involves conflicting ideals, beliefs, histories, and even faiths.
After making a selection of your nation of choice, the game kicks into gear, illustrating the objectives and aims of the various powers and their willing or reluctant leaders. Naturally, whether you buy into their quest depends on your personal preference, but all in all, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia does a good job at drawing the player into this growing conflict.
As a ruler, there is much to do once you have set your sights on world domination. The gameplay is largely broken down into two distinct parts, the first being the organizational phase. Here, players will need to make a few important decisions for their nation. Armies need to be moved so you’ll have to decide which troops to send on what quest, and you’ll need to ensure that you have both the numbers and the right types of troops to handle what comes next.
It can be overwhelming, especially for those new to this genre, and making mistakes early on is an excellent way of teaching you the intricacies found in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia. The options available make for flexibility that can be both a boon and a bane. Do you wish to have healers standing by, or do you go with raw power? Does your mage need troops that can tank damage to be efficient, or should you try to wipe out your opponents before they even have the chance to strike?
Seeing how the different troops match up and creating strategies on the fly can be satisfying, and progress made in terms of leveling them up and upgrading them reveals a depth that is quite unmatched compared to other titles. Of course, it requires you to make the right decisions, and the tug-of-war between staying aggressive or maintaining a more defensive outlook brings much strategic joy, that is, if things go your way once the action unfolds.
Once you enter the action phase, it is time to sound the drums of war. Rival nations have bases that can be invaded and taken over, and it requires smart thinking and able-bodied combatants that just so happen to be a collection of monsters including dragons, ghouls, fairies, and more. Against the enemy, it will take all of your tactical acumen to win battles that take place on a hexagonal grid. Deciding where to move, attack, and defend will be vital, and victory is attained once enough damage is done to force a retreat, the opposing leader is vanquished, or you retreat with your tails tucked behind your legs.
Unfortunately, the action often doesn’t match up to the premise. Invasions are meant to be intense and often fast-paced events, but that isn’t the case in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia. The distance between opposing forces is often quite vast, and it can take a few turns just to clash. The game also stresses that different terrain types will affect your troops, which is true, but it never really plays a part big enough compared to sheer numbers and levels.
The best commanders know that positioning is key, and it applies to battles in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia as well. Catching your foes in a pincer attack is always enjoyable, but having it happen to you can be downright frustrating. The loss of units due to permadeath is a harrowing experience, with the time spent on grinding and upgrading gone in a flash. There are items that can remedy that, but as you would expect, they can be hard to come by.
Between the sluggishness and frankly, repetitive nature of battles, the clashes in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia are the antithesis of the vision being sold by the game. When you are seeking to gain control of the world, the feeling of more being at stake and a general sense of urgency should be the baseline. Yet, that is never truly present as you slowly conquer the lands and grow in power.
Despite that hurdle, players who are accepting of Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia’s slower pace can look forward to immense replayability, with each of the six playable nations likely to take up 20-25 hours of your time for a successful campaign. If that is not enough, the Challenge Mode that pits players against non-stop missions that get harder each time around will give you the opportunity to show off with the highest score. The Titans of the Iron Front update also ensures PC players get even more variety of high-level monsters, as well as increased customization options for difficulty, playtime, and XP gain, to craft your own adventure.
At the end of the day, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is a good addition to a genre that is gaining popularity. While it may lack the accessibility or even the swifter pace of other titles, it still manages to deliver a strategy roleplaying experience that is largely good on all fronts, supported by six distinct kingdoms and storylines. As long as you can accept that it might feel repetitive in a long game, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is an experience worth trying out.
- Excellent character art.
- Battles often test your strategic nous.
- Plenty of tactical decisions to be made.
- High replayability with six nations and a host of units.
- Environments can be improved.
- Battles are slow, with pretty insignificant terrain effects.
- Can be overwhelming for new players.
May 11, 2022
PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4
- Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Announced for PC via Steam
- Brigandine Interview: Producer Discusses Feedback, Platforms, Free Update, and Future Plans
- Brigandine Developers Considering Releasing on Other Platforms and Updates for PS4 & Switch
- Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia for PS4 Gets First Trailer & Screenshots; Confirmed for the West
- Former Nintendo Switch Exclusive Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Releasing for PS4