If there’s one genre of games where the appeal has often eluded me, it’s strategy games. While there are a few titles in the genre I absolutely adore, I’ve often found the barriers to entry far too high with many of the games. Enter, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia, an unexpected sequel to a game that graced the original PlayStation over twenty years ago. Runersia follows in the footsteps of its predecessor with demanding strategic gameplay and a complicated collection of menus and systems to compete with.
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is not scared of throwing you into the action, with the game dropping you right in the middle of things from the off. A number nations are all vying for control of the territory, and it’s up to you to pick one of the six and set on a campaign of conquest to overthrow the other kingdoms. There’s a lot of lore right off the bat, with a hefty amount of exposition for each one of the kingdoms. Legend of Runersia is anything but light-footed in its approach to the story, and while it certainly could lead players in a little lighter, many will revel in its depth.
This is a turn-based strategy with squads of units moving across the hexagonal grid of the battle map in order to attack enemies. The goal is quite simply to defeat enemy units and claim the battlefield or objective as your own. Using a mixture of warriors, witches, wizards and monsters, you’ll fight with an assortment of abilities against incredibly tough enemies. One wrong move can really change the course of a fight if you aren’t careful.
Even on easy difficulty, Brigandine is no pushover. You really have to get to grips with how the combat works, and do so quickly if you intend to make any progress in the game. Where most games will ease you into the combat systems by presenting relatively easy starter missions, Brigandine does no such thing. It’s a real shame, as I can see the potential for people to turn off in frustration as they struggle to get to grips with it.
Outside of combat, players must traverse an overworld screen which shows all the different kingdoms and the available land. By moving units between strongholds, you can effectively defend or mount an attack, although you can also be caught out if you don’t have a good balance of units around your border. There’s a lot to think about both in and out of combat in Brigandine, and understanding the world around you goes a long way.
For those who enjoy strategy games, Brigandine is going to be an utter delight. There’s so much to sink your teeth into within the combat systems and the general lore itself. There’re screens upon screens of data to play with and plenty of ways to manipulate your squads in order to gain a better advantage. This level of depth in a game is something that should be applauded, I only wish the development team had spent more time with teaching players, giving more casual gamers a better chance to get on with the game. Thankfully, a demo is available on both PlayStation Store and Nintendo eShop to see if this is the kind of game for you.
The world and characters of Brigandine are absolutely gorgeous. Sporting anime-like visuals, the cast of visually unique characters and monsters make battles a visual spectacle, with colourful moves and attacks taking centre stage during the action. Those visuals are backed up by pretty solid voice acting, meaning players won’t be left reading walls of text – unless you’re in the tutorial and guides, of course.