Released a little less than a year ago in digital format, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia for Nintendo Switch is the sequel to a 1998 PlayStation RPG that we could never officially enjoy here … A title that, like many other exponents of the genre, it joined the RPG tsunami that titles such as Final Fantasy VII caused, opening its own niche with its different approaches.

Thus, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena enjoyed moderate success and was liked by fans of the more tactical strategy, almost typical of a board game, and it is precisely the same concept, as we will see in the analysis of Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia for Nintendo Switch, which has taken over by Matrix Software, the developers of the sequel (they did not create the original). To whet your appetite, a trailer …

As you can see, Brigandine remembers many games that we have seen before, such as Fire Emblem or Risk, and from all of them, she takes some ideas and mechanics and adapts them in her own way. But, in the same way, it also differs in quite a few concepts, especially if we compare it with the also long-lived series of Intelligent Systems.

The first big difference is that the backstory here is somewhat anecdotal. The kingdom of Runersia is divided or composed of six nations, and you can choose the one you want to start playing the campaign. Here there is no supernatural power, no powerful enemy, no villain of that type, it is a more mundane story with problems and quarrels caused by men.

Opinion Brigandine Legend of Runersia

Thus, each nation has its motivations to roll the blanket around its head and try to expand its dominions by invading the rest. Some, like the Shinobi tribe for breaking free from the yoke of other nations and becoming a sovereign state; others for economic interests that allow them to have greater wealth. I said fights that have quite credible ground in many cases.

And basically, that is what the story can be reduced to yes, there are dialogues, we are getting to know more motivations for each kingdom … but don’t expect a story like that of a linear or more classic RPG, because you won’t find it. Of course, you will have to know English, Japanese or Chinese, which are the languages ​​in which the texts of the game arrive, in order to understand everything.

Although we have said that there is no “powerful” enemy, the elements of fantasy are not lacking in this warlike context. The most important comes from the so-called Knights of the Runes, who have the ability to command small armies of monsters capable of annihilating legions of human soldiers in a jiffy.

Very good, interesting … but how do you play? Well, as we have advanced, it is a game of strategy and tactics, in which once we have chosen the nation with which we are going to play (be careful, some start with disadvantages, such as being surrounded by all the other nations and being the target of all them) our goal is to conquer the rest of the territories within a time limit (or stations, as they call it in the game).

Brigandine Legend of Runersia analysis

In this way, each station is made up of two phases, one of planning, in which we move and manage our troops (we can move them to enemy strongholds, reinforce one of our bases or send them on expeditions to return with objects, new knights of the rune, etc.), as well as equip the units with better objects, change the monsters of our army or revive the fallen …

The second phase is the attack phase, in which we can attack any adjacent enemy stronghold with the units displaced to our neighboring base (which can house up to three knights with their respective armies). If the enemy’s stronghold is empty, or ours, it will be conquered without a fight … If not, it will be time to wage turn-based combat on the classic grid (with hexagonal tiles, in this case).

Brigandine Legend of Runersia PS4 analysis

These fights have their own rules, such as the effects of the terrain in which we fight (swamp, meadow, mountain …), that the monsters deployed must always be within an area of ​​influence of the rune knight in order to be commanded, or that some units cannot attack after moving, as is the case with mages.

If we defeat “ruler” or rival leader, the territory becomes ours, together with the monsters that have been left behind. Thus, the player has total freedom to decide which bastions to attack, if they prefer to focus on one nation (which is usually the smartest thing to do) or diversify and engage with more than one rival …

This is, broadly speaking, the basic mechanics of Brigandine: Legend of Runersia … but it goes without saying that there is much more behind it. In addition to the complex menu and sub-menu system, there are tactical and strategy options, various items to equip, expeditions, and many other options that will take time to master.

To this is added that the AI ​​can make totally different decisions each time we load a game and that it can also vary in response to our decisions. That is if you do not know the original game, and you are new to the genre … well, we are not talking about the friendliest game in the world.

Brigandine PS4 review

Although the game has a tutorial that reviews the general options of the game, in favorable contexts (how to move, attack, some tactics …), the truth is that when we start playing, Brigandine for PS4 and Nintendo Switch lets go of your hand … and there you manage. This has a good side and a bad side.

The good thing is that it triggers the replayability: not only because of the 6 nations that we can handle but also because based on facing difficulties, we will learn things that you will almost certainly use in subsequent games.

On the other hand, the negative is that this rough start can be frustrating, especially if you are not used to the more tactical role. In the same way, some of the rules that govern the game, for example in the combat facet, make some moments tedious for some palates, although it should be noted that the combats tend to be agile.

Completing the Runersia campaign can take more or less hours, depending on various variables (in the easy mode we have unlimited time, while in normal and hard, we have a closed number of seasons, as well as an AI of increasing difficulty), but it can easily leave 30 hours, about 100 if we want to complete everything, including the additional chapter that is unlocked at the end of the campaign.

Brigandine Legend of Runersia PS4 analysis

In the same way, although the Brigandine: Legend of Runersia has beautiful art, by Raita Kazama and her team (and as you can see below, it has its own art book in the limited edition of the game), where the character design stands out on its own merits, it is not fully exploited. For example, during the game, only the characters appear, with static designs, without animations, during the dialogues.

Afterward, these characters are rendered in 3D, along with the monsters, with a good design, but which again leave quite basic animations. The scenarios, on the other hand, although they have colorful and beautiful details, have some details that seem more typical of a game with a procedural component … but this is not the case.

But all these elements do their job, and as in other games of the genre, they may not be the most important part of the experience, although they always help. In the same way, the soundtrack accompanies without highlighting, perhaps because being an experience less directed by history, it has rather generic themes.

And what about the physical edition? Well, without a doubt the extras it brings are those that will delight fans of the game and the role in general. The illustration book comes with the texts in Japanese, so as not to alter the annotations of the sketches, without forgetting that it also includes the soundtrack on CD, a set of postcards, and a beautiful cloth map, all contained in a large box the size from the book.

All of this makes our opinion of Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia clear and crystal clear. This is a game that the most die-hard fans of RPG strategy will especially enjoy. It’s not a first-rate “friendly” game, like Fire Emblem The Three Houses may be, and in fact, it can be a game that you love or hate, in equal measure. But if you take the bait and connect with its formula, you will enjoy a game with enormous possibilities and very replayable.