Brigandine is back after 20 years in the shadows, in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia. A tactical RPG developed by Matrix Software, published by Happinet for the Nintendo Switch.

In Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia, you take control of one of six different nations, with your goal being to invade neighboring nations and take over their outposts until you rule all of Runersia. You organise your command of both heroes and monsters, leveling them up, sending them on quests for weapons, armor and items, and using them as both offensive and defensive pawns in your game to rule the world.

The game is fully voice acted, which sounds great, but unless you understand Japanese fluently you will be reliant on reading the subtitles. The game is very text-heavy, even outside of the story itself, needing a lot of patience to understand the minutiae of the game’s mechanics. It is not a game someone new to tactical  RPG’s should jump into lightly.

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia

In saying that, I’m no stranger to this type of play. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is probably one of my favourite games I’ve ever played. When it comes to real time strategy, a similar genre, I know my way around a game of Civilization. Not to mention my countless D&D encounters. And yet this game could not hook me. I found it clunky, with it not being clear why some teams could fight and others not, and the battles themselves excruciatingly long with little pay off. Yes, I captured this base. But, now my forces are spread even thinner. Getting new allies felt random, linked to a plot that appeared disjointed.

One thing I will say for this game is that it is pretty. Care was clearly put into the character design, though the skimpy outfits of many of the female characters were certainly a choice. Leveling up the classes of your monsters is fun and interesting, seeing what they will become next as they grow under your leadership. However, once your monsters fall in battle that’s it, unless you have a revive item – something I obtained only once in my playthrough, meaning that my poor wolves that I’d leveled up and had landed many a good hit on my opponents are now gone for good. They were good boys, Brent.

Something I didn’t realize until my second or third battle is that you should focus on your opponents heroes – yes, the monsters hit hard, but once a hero is downed, every monster in their command goes too.

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia

I played on easy, for the sake of spending as much time as I could with the game, as any other difficulty has a time limit on your conquest. Playing in those modes will mean you have to balance between fighting, training, and sending your teams on quests in order to win within your limited time frame. And training is certainly essential, as most of your fighters begin really weak. You can gain experience through those battles, but you don’t want to waste precious monsters fighting in losing battles when you could have them unleash their potential once they’ve leveled up a few times

In short, if you’re a fan of the series this may be something you’ll be interested in, I can’t say as this is the first Brigandine I’ve ever played. However, when it comes to tactical strategy, there are better games out there, and I’ll be spending my time building up those forces instead.

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