Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is a roleplaying turn-based strategy game, developed and published by Happinet Corporation, coming to the Nintendo Switch.
In Brigandine, you take the role of a country’s ruler, equipped with a piece of armor infused with a mana stone that has been passed down through the generations. These stones represent the ideology of each nation that holds them. They have become known as the Brigandine of Justice, Sanctity, Freedom, Ego, and Glory. War has come to Runersia, as five nations and a tribe have incompatible ideologies. Depending on which nation or tribe you control, once you unify the land, the truth of Runersia will be revealed.
When it comes to strategy games, I’m no stranger. I enjoy games in the same vein such as Fire Emblem and Disgaea, where you control a band of characters and either best your opponents or fulfill an objective. Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia, is no different. Booting up the game, you get the backstory of the continent of Runersia, the mana stones, and the war on the horizon between the five nations and single tribe.
The nations consist of the Norzaleo Kingdom, the holder of the Brigandine of Justice, the Republic of Guimoule, the holder of the Brigandine of Glory, and the Holy Gustava Empire which holds no Brigandine. There is also the Mana Salessia Theocracy who holds the Brigandine of Sanctity while the Brigandine of Ego is held by the United Islands of Mirelva. And last but not least there is the Shinbi Tribe, holders of the Brigandine of Freedom.
When choosing which nation or tribe you want to start as you get information on how many bases they currently hold and how many knights (your forces you get to control in battle) and the total number of monsters at your disposal. Upon selection, you get to choose your difficulty, which scales from Easy to Hard. Each difficulty tells you the behavior of the enemy AI and the amount of time needed to unify the land of Runersia.
Time passes in Runersia in seasons. You have a set of actions to complete and once completed a season passes. I thought this was a pretty neat feature that gives you a sense of time as the battles rage on. For each season you begin with your organization phase. Here you can move your knights to different bases, summon monsters, or send your knights at a base on a quest for equipment and experience. If you move your knights to another tower, they can not aid troops that you plan to invade within the attack phase. Also, any knights that partake in a quest are also unavailable and disappear from the tower for the remainder of the season.
Once the organization phase is done, you can commence the attack phase. You can attack any number of bases that are adjacent to the base you are attacking from. Each base, allies, and enemies, have a combat power. This is calculated by the level and stats of your knights and monsters summoned at the base. You can also see how many knights and monsters you will be fighting. This can change at any time. While you organize your troops at a given base, so does your enemy. You can attack with one or multiple bases. The base with the highest combat power will initiate the invasion first. Regardless if you win or lose, once all battles are over and you gain or lose territory, the season is over and you are right back at the organization phase.
In battle, you have your knight and the monsters, they command. If you’re invading a nation, your objective is to make the enemy forces retreat by defeating them or taking their castle within twelve turns. Maps that the battles take place on range from medium to large maps. Characters have a certain mobility score which lets you know how many spaces you can move at a given time.
Battles are simple, however, the game throws a lot of aspects at you when considering how to attack. There is a tutorial that you’re allowed to revisit in the options menu but it can be overwhelming. The way that the character’s strengths and weaknesses are displayed does not help matters either. I found myself going back into the tutorial to familiarize myself with what element was strong and weak to what. Battles felt drawn out and no matter how well I equipped my characters or leveled them up, I did not feel powerful. I started the game on easy on multiple occasions and the game did not feel forgiving or hold my hand in the slightest.
While the gameplay is overwhelming and frustrating, Brigandine is a pretty game when it comes to its hand-drawn characters and scenes when conversations are played out. While you can choose different languages to display text, the game’s voice acting is in Japanese. I would spend minutes reading through conversations and cutscenes, falling in love with characters and the lore of each nation and tribe. I wanted more and you do get that from playing the game and progressing through the seasons. But sitting through half-hour to 45 minutes battles just isn’t worth it.
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is available for PS4 and Nintendo Switch on June 25th, 2020.
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia
I would spend minutes reading through conversations and cutscenes, falling in love with characters and the lore of each nation and tribe. I wanted more and you do get that from playing the game and progressing through the seasons. But sitting through half-hour to 45 minutes battles just isn’t worth it.