The gaming world is constantly evolving and revamping its technological ecosystem with games and systems that are both innovative, and entertaining. While all that is certainly something to marvel and be a part of, sometimes the traditional way of enjoying games is all we really need, instead of all the improved visuals and aesthetics. This brings us to Brigandine - The Legend of Runersia, the latest traditional tactical turn-based RPG for the Nintendo Switch, developed by Happinet. For those who prefer the more slow and methodical approach to playing games, with a large dose of challenge to stimulate the brain, Brigandine - The Legend of Runersia is the quintessential pick! It’s no 4K 60FPS next-gen experience, but it’s beautifully designed fantasy world, hundreds of hours of gameplay, and a splendid cast of characters will keep you engaged so long as you remain invested.
What to Expect
Brigandine - The Legend of Runersia is very slow paced and should be played as such. This isn’t going to be a game where you make swift decisions which result in over-the-top cut scenes or immediate victories, it’s a game that rewards very meticulous analysis of the enemy and retaliating when you see the advantage. In this title, you get to choose from one of six countries to assume the role of the ruler who aims to conquer Runersia, and control hundreds of powerful Rune Knights in order to seek victory. These include things like dragons, magical unicorns, fairies, and ghouls, which you can take with you into battle and use their unique abilities to your advantage.
As Kazuhiro Igarashi, the producer and game designer behind this title states, this is a “Grand Strategy War Simulation,” and so there’s certainly a lot to expect when playing a game with a great deal of depth. As a fun fact for those who don’t know, the first Brigandine title, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena, was released back in 1998 and so this new journey for the series is one that will take new and devoted fans of the series to new levels of advanced tactical combat, that you’ll be greatly rewarded with down the line.
Kenji Terada, the famed scenario specialist who worked on titles such as Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, along with Batman: Dark Tomorrow will be the one creating the narrative.
Once you boot up the game and start to pay close attention to the overall art and design of the game, you’ll notice that it resembles a bit of design that stems from the appeal of Raita Kazama. Raita Kazama will be the one focusing on the art/character design and he’s notable for working on titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles X, Puzzles and Dragons, and Border Break. You’re immediately drawn (no pun intended) to the overall design of each character, which are all distinct in their own way, creating a tone that feels very sophisticated. The cut scenes are very well crafted and truly give players a sense that they’re watching some sort of fantasy-themed anime, as each scene explodes with emotional depth and lures you in the deeper you go. It’s a wonderful game to look at even for its simplicity in terms of menu design and UI detail, which is actually a good thing. Everything is organized and places more of the attention on the battles at hand, rather than throwing you into a cesspool of options that confuse and throw you off.
The music is very fitting for the concept and really does help to solidify the fantasy aspects, drawing your attention not only to the gameplay but the overall immersion. It’s not the greatest soundtrack in the world, to be honest, but Tenpei Sato, the man behind the Disgaea series, really made sure to capture every musical angle and leave you with a strong impression while you’re engaging in battle.
Brigandine - The Legend of Runersia is pretty straightforward in that it’s your typical traditional turn-based strategy game, with some elements of grand strategy that allow it to feel a lot deeper in terms of tactical development. Those who’ve never played these types of games before will be happy to know that there’s a pretty solid tutorial that guides you through every aspect, ranging from pre-battle organization, what each character is capable of in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, along with actual battle techniques to ensure that your experience remains constant.
Most of the game in its initial gameplay focuses more on trying to get you to really get a feel for how all the mechanics work, before throwing a bunch of challenging situations at you. This isn’t to say that things are easy from the start, but it helps to reinforce all of the information you’ve learned through the tutorial, in order to create a much richer experience down the road. There’s certainly a lot to learn and for some, it may come off as intimidating, especially when there’s a lack of familiarity with how strategy games work, but taking things one step at a time will help you build comfort.
The story mode allows you to choose from 6 countries, with their own respective leader, along with their signature strengths and weak points. As you venture through the story mode you’ll come to understand their backstory, and engage in challenging scenarios that will put you to the test every step of the way. We ended up choosing the Heirophant, The Mana Saleesia Theocracy, who focuses more on magic and long-range power, and boy does he do some serious damage. His units provide a lot of coverage on the battlefield, and when you unlock more summon spots it becomes increasingly more difficult for the opposing side to take him down. The only caveat is that every country and their respective leader has a certain amount of mana it can gather, and so it becomes more imperative as you play, to control more bases in order to increase your mana output.
Each summon you have contains their own mana usage and so for example, if you summon a powerful dragon, you’re more like to sap more of your mana and so that in itself becomes another strategy.
You’re also able to dispatch knights on quests during your organization phase in order to earn armor, weapons, along with other items to aid you on your journey. Once you feel comfortable then you enter the attack phase where every decision matters, and learning how to master your summon placement will become ideal long term.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Once you’ve completed the main story, which will likely take you a good while, you can jump straight into the alternate chapter (challenge mode) in which you choose ten epic hero’s, one ruler, and nine knights to charge straight into chaotic battles. This adds a lot more value to the gameplay as this mode really tests your wits to see just how capable you are of dealing with constant threats, while you have to deal with the resources at your disposal. Once this is all done though, that’s pretty much it for the game, unless you intend to replay everything under a different country and challenge yourself.
Solid visuals for a turn-based title, which often places more emphasis on gameplay.
30+ hours of truly exciting gameplay that rewards players for their methodical and well-planned plays.
The challenge mode adds more hours of gameplay even after the long campaign.
Truthfully, if you’re not really into the turn-based strategy gaming sphere, then this game will likely not grab your attention.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Aside from that, the game serves its purpose as a very tactical game that rewards very patient play and close attention to detail, as every decision counts along the way. Is it the best tactical RPG on the switch platform? Probably not, but for what it’s worth it definitely stands out as one of the best for the summer lineup.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!