Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Review

Tactical Customization

Release Date
December 10, 2020
Developed By
Matrix Software
Published By
Strategy RPG
Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4
Our Score

Twenty-two years ago, Brigandine made its debut on the original PlayStation with Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena. Happinet Corporation decided to surprise lovers of Brigandine with an unexpected sequel, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia. Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia lets you recruit and learn about your combatants as it puts your tactical combat prowess to the test. This game was initially released on the Nintendo Switch back in June, but PlayStation 4 owners can relive or experience Brigandine for the first time this holiday season. 

The story of Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia follows six nations battling for control of the continent Runersia. I found the overarching narrative for Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia to be difficult to engage with. Fortunately, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia makes up for this with a thorough explanation of what a brigandine is and provides an in-depth backstory of each nation. Along with the representation of each different brigandine, each nation’s different cultures and values are also presented in a much more distinct manner than Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena.

You begin your journey by selecting one of the six nations, each with its own leader, storyline, and strategic slant. I picked the Shinobi Tribe, a nation that has chosen a path to be ruled only by women. My leader is the daughter of the chief and must go to war determined to gain freedom from the influence of other major nations in Runersia once and for all. 

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The main goal is to occupy bases or strongholds while recruiting allies, gathering new weapons, and training your units. Units are split into two main types: knights and monsters. Despite the names, both units cover many different classes (e.g., healers, archers, etc.). As they level up, you can upgrade them to a higher version of their existing class or, if they are a knight, you change their current class to another that they qualify for. 

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia’s gameplay is split into two phases, an Organization Phase and a Battle Phase. The Organization Phase is an overview of the strategic map where you can search for items, recruit monsters, move troops, change classes or equipment, and complete other related activities. The Organization phase is broken down further into two sub-phases: organization and attack. The Attack phase-only confirms attacks on a stronghold you want to invade. 

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The Battle Phase is the second part of the gameplay. Each battle takes place on a hex grid, where you can bring up to 3 knights to a battle along with their monsters. Each knight can have up to 6 monsters, but keep in mind that knights have a limited number of command points, and the more powerful a monster, the higher it costs in command points. 

In the Battle Phase, different unit types take on different roles. These roles are also affected by the terrain system and elemental system. There are improvements to the terrain system in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia. The terrains much more influence the monsters you position them on, and you can even use spells to change a unit’s preferred terrain type. A unique feature of this game is that when a knight is defeated, all of their monsters retreat. Although monsters retreating is not always the case. I have lost a few of my monsters who did not retreat along with their knight in battle and were captured by an enemy nation. Also, if a monster has died in combat, they die permanently. 

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I noticed a few things that were different in the Battle Phase in comparison to Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia’s predecessor, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena. First, I noticed the removal of the insert battle animations, which have been replaced with quick and short attack animations on the battlefield instead. I also noticed the new ability to fast forward actions in a battle. I found this helpful since the Battle Phase lacks gameplay variety by not including battle objectives to prevent the battles from being a bit monotonous. One unique angle that stood out to me, in particular, was the new attack skill that allows some of my knights to deal more damage at much lower accuracy. This new attack skill greatly influenced my decisions in battle and affected the outcome based on whether I took the chance to gamble on using such attacks or not. Lastly, I found that the AI system was greatly improved. The AI does not retreat as quickly or immediately after one of their knights is defeated. Oftentimes, I found myself fighting in a battle where the AI did not retreat until it was just one knight standing with their entire unit of monsters wiped out. 

The cutscenes are in 2D artwork with minor animations, but I found the art style to be aesthetically fitting for the game’s overall style. I also enjoyed the character designs, which initially drew me to pick the Shinobi Tribe for this game’s playthrough. This game’s soundtrack is not necessarily bad, but it did not stand out to me either. As a video game soundtrack lover, I did not find any memorable tracks or tracks that caught my attention. Also, the voice acting is only in Japanese with English subtitles. 

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Review
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia has the core gameplay of its predecessor. You’ve got your generic monsters led by a unique roster of knights with a zone of control based brawl with the wonderful tempo of a unit based initiative. The new “Titans and the Iron Front” update that accompanied the release of Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia brings various changes that allow players to customize their campaigns and provide a more in-depth player UI. Add that along with the beautifully detailed stories of each nation, and you have a strategy RPGs game that’s definitely worth your time. 

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Review
Customize your strategy
The PlayStation 4 release of "Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia" is accompanied by a special update providing players with a customizable and unique tactical RPG experience.
Customization and freedom in building an army for conquest
Set customized campaign and difficulty level
Improved UI system
Tutorials are available to ease new players into the mechanics well
Players may find the overarching narrative to be confusing, uninteresting, or weak
Battle Phase can be a little mundane and tedious
Forgettable music
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