My Investigation Of Langrisser

langrisser-re-incarnation-tensei-2

I’ve been writing just a little bit about 3DS tactical RPGs on this blog, and a few weeks ago I thought Langrisser Re:Incarnation looked like another fairly interesting one, so I put it on my GameFly que and it just came in. I played a few hours and basically nobody seems to have talked about it in the month since its release. I knew nothing about the game or the franchise before putting it in my 3DS.

Some quick Google searches seem to indicate people panned Re:Incarnation for many reasons. Personally the few chapters I played seemed like a fairly playable SRPG with some baffling user interface decisions and maybe some serious design flaws compared to the competition.

The one unique feature I could discern was the “mercenaries” system which allows each of your main characters to have expendable helpers on the grid with them. This introduces two main differences compared to the game it semes to take after — Fire Emblem: it increases the size and length of battles with potentially dozens of units in play, and the expendability of those extra units brings things a bit closer to Advance Wars. I think it’s an interesting take I haven’t seen in other tactical RPGs. For me it enhances the feeling of simulated warfare. However, there’s something deeper behind the reception to this game in particular.

Almost as soon as I started Re:Incarnation I started to wonder if it was part of a series. I’d never heard the name “Langrisser” before, but some elements of Re:Incarnation seemed to be from a time apart from other elements of the game. The art direction is pure modern anime/JRPG –plenty of moe character designs, ridiculously scantily clad women, or mixtures of the two. It even tries to have a romance system like practically every RPG today. Some UI elements though like the map screen and pre-mission selection options looked as if they might be hold-overs from a tradition started in the 80’s or 90’s.

Googling the franchise immediately brought up a Hardcore Gaming 101 article — a dead giveaway that I’d just stepped into an old and storied franchise. Re:Incarnation is apparently the first Langrisser game released outside Japan since the original in 1991 for the Mega Drive/Genesis, which was called Warsong in North America. It seems like during the 90’s the franchise was another pillar in Japan’s SRPG market alongside Fire Emblem and Shining Force. After the turn of the millennium though (and the death of the Sega Saturn), Langrisser was apparently put to sleep in favor of the spin-off series Growlanser, of which only one entry was officially released in English.

Overall the games look pretty similar to Fire Emblem, with the main difference being the larger scale of the battles in Langrisser. This seems to be how Re:Incarnation differentiates itself from modern Fire Emblem. An apparent criticism of Langrisser is that this can cause battles to drag on, but I personally didn’t mind it in Re:Incarnation. As I understand it the older games had even larger numbers of units fighting. If nothing else, playing Re:Incarnation has made me aware of its predecessors and interested in investigating them.

Old school Langrisser fans probably see Re:Incarnation as a Fire Emblem Awakening hanger-on wearing the skin of their old favorite SRPG. It is interesting though if the last couple Fire Emblem games really have reinvigorated SRPGs. We’re still not where the genre was on the PSP, but there’s definitely a lot of life in it. The best sign of health has probably been BioWare asking on twitter if people would want to see a sort of “Dragon Age Tactics” in the style of Fire Emblem and XCOMXCOM probably justified turn-based strategy games in the western market more than anything else.

BULLETS:

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One thought on “My Investigation Of Langrisser

  1. Matt says:

    I had never head about it either. The fact that it is the first version of the game released outside Japan in a long time means it was probably trying to surf on the wave of success of Fire Emblem over here in the West, which is not a bad decision at all. The problem is that it came out way too close to Fates.

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