Game Reviews

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Langrisser Re: Incarnation –TENSEI- is the latest title in the strategy role playing series titled Langrisser. Before the Japanese release of Re: Incarnation the most recent title in the series had been Langrisser V for the Sega Saturn and original PlayStation. Regrettably, North America never received localization of Langrisser III, IV, or V meaning the last game we got from the series was Langrisser II for the Mega Drive. After nearly 16 years the original Japanese release of Langrisser Re: Incarnation was published late July 2015 exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. A year later the game was published to North America by Aksys Games late April 2016. Just like the original Japanese release of the game all of the localizations of Re: Incarnation are exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS in both physical and digital formats.

Langrisser Re: Incarnation begins in the seaside city of Borcelaine where the young hero known as Ares lives. As Ares is going about his day as usual he gets caught up in battle when the town is suddenly attacked by Imperials. Ares and Maiya run into a group of enemy soldiers and find out that it is Ares that they are after. Ares and Maiya seek shelter in the nearby church but when they enter Ares finds a sword. Fully aware that the sword is actually the holy sword Langrisser Ares picks it up and uses it to fight back. After becoming the wielder of the holy sword the hero becomes even more of a target for those who wish to have the power of the sword and its wielder. Ares makes his escape with Maiya and a young girl named Elma who is with the Army of Light. After escaping from Borcelaine the Imperials quickly track down the hero and once again attempt to capture him. More troops from the Army of Light arrive to help Ares escape a second time. After making an escape you will soon be able to make choices in the game which affect the characters path. The story is unfortunately the strongest part of the entire game and is also what makes it a part of the series. Naturally to be part of the Langrisser series it has to include the holy sword Langrisser which it does.

The gameplay mechanics are terribly simple with nothing that truly makes the game stand out from other recent titles such as Stella Glow or Fire Emblem: Fates. Even more disappointing is the fact that the gameplay doesn’t stand out from older titles since the game seems to use the most basic mechanics for everything.  While I was initially excited about the game the most disappointing part of all was the very simple battle system which was literally the bare minimum when it comes to Strategy role playing game. The controls were a bit of a mess at first until I quickly figured out that the B button is used for carrying out actions instead of the usual A button. Aside from that small bit of confusion at first with the action button the controls are actually quite simple but sadly leave a bit to be desired.  The worst part about the battle mechanics was the fact that there was nothing special about it at all when it comes to the field itself or battle actions. Many strategy RPG games include special fields or obstacles on the tactical battle field but this one doesn’t do much in the way of making battle more interesting. While it was interesting to see what a Strategy RPG is when left to its very basics this wasn’t the right game to show it due to being lackluster in most aspects. The game’s battle did have just one highlight though. It was great to see a bit of a change when it comes to recruiting more units to use in battle. While many Strategy RPGs allow you to recruit more units this one takes a slightly different approach when it comes to the units themselves. While most Strategy RPGs let you recruit a unit which only includes one character in Langrisser Re: Incarnation you instead recruit a group of allies which count as one unit. The units are hired to accompany the main characters in the game but they can move and attack independently which makes them vital in battles. Overall the battle is the weakest point of the entire game due it being so basic and lackluster.

The overall art of the game isn’t particularly awe inspiring but it does just manage to get the job done. The characters have some flaws that are bit unbearable to look at and it seems like the developers were perhaps trying too hard when it came to some of the designs of the game’s characters. Overall the character art isn’t terrible but it could have used some improvements and a few minor changes to the designs of some characters. The chibi style avatars for the character’s battle animations are actually very charming and have a bit of a retro feel. It seems the use of chibi characters in battle animations is quite common and has even been used in other recent Strategy RPG titles such as Stella Glow. The backgrounds are actually where there is the biggest problem. The backgrounds in towns and cities are about average but when it comes to the battle animations they are severely underdone. The battle animation backgrounds are very odd looking and don’t even manage to compliment the cute chibi style characters. The backgrounds with trees are the worst since the trees look very deformed and don’t blend into the game very well. Another issue in the game was actually the graphics of the map. Maps don’t really need to be complicated but should be clear enough to see some detail. The map was very unclear and looked extremely pixelated for a game on the 3DS. Even though there are some artistic issues with the game it still managed to meet the minimum of graphic quality to be considered at least decent.

The game’s soundtrack and voice acting are actually very good and help improve the overall tone of the game. The game’s soundtrack is simple but makes the game a little bit more upbeat and adds a small range of emotion. The tracks don’t always fit with the situations in the game but for the most part it works well enough. The music does not provide the same range of emotions that many of the other recent strategy RPGs do but it does have a bit of a retro feel and does well to provide just a little emotion to the game. While the music is great it is still not quite on point but the voice acting is. Unlike many other games with Japanese voice acting the character voices in the game sound natural and fit the characters well. One of the biggest problems with the voice acting in games is that the developers tend to overdo it and give characters squeaky and obnoxious voices that often don’t quite fit right. For once most of the voice acting is bearable to listen to. After the story the music and voice acting is another strong point of the game.

While the game has many issues it still has potential as a strategy RPG and as part of the Langrisser series. The game has more potential if you can look past the minimal battle system and uninspiring graphics. This game would probably work best for someone who is new to the genre since many of us who know the genre well are spoiled by high quality graphics and emotional soundtracks. The game might also be good for someone who is a fan of the original Langrisser games and retro games altogether. Overall Langrisser Re: Incarnation at least has what it takes to be a true part of the Langrisser series.

Pros: Solid Voice Acting, Good Soundtrack, Engaging Plot

Cons: Uninspiring Art, Lackluster Gameplay

 

SCORE – 6.5/10

This review is based on a digital copy of Langrisser Re: Incarnation –TENSEI- on the Nintendo 3DS provided by Aksys Games.  

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