by David O’Flaherty
A long time ago in a galaxy….
Hold on wrong intro, let’s try that again.
Back in the 90’s (yes really that long ago!) there was a system called the SEGA Mega Drive and I had the pleasure of owning that system and quite a few games for it.
Some of you may be familiar with a genre of games called Tactical/Strategy RPGs which includes the likes of the familiar Fire Emblem series and the more recent series Advance Wars.
One of the less well known series in that genre( mainly because the Japanese chose to keep the majority of it to themselves) is a series called Langrisser, luckily the first game in the series was released in the US under the name Warsong which is how I came across it and I instantly fell in love with the game back then and thought it had died never to be seen again.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I accidentally came across a news item saying Langrisser was getting the first 2 games re-released onto the PS4!
Question is has the game aged well and has the remaster kept the magic alive from when I played it 30 years ago? Simply put …… Hell Yes!
What made Langrisser/War Song stand out for me was the depth of the character progression system. Most of the games that have character progression usually just rely on level ups and maybe a single class change if you think along the lines of Shining Force which let you advance from a basic class to a single advanced class.
Langrisser took a different approach in the fact that it gave you a whole tech tree of classes to choose a path along so in the case of the main character you could go from a lowly fighter all the way to a King or take the route of the Grand Knight each class giving different stats and soldiers for you to choose from but once you chose a class that choice was permanent and in the case of Langrisser 1 your stats were fixed regardless of your level in that class.
The class system returns in full glory in this remaster but this time around your character level and class are separate so you can change your class as you go by unlocking them using points you earn levelling up. This adds a new tactical level to the game just by seeing if you’ve picked the right class for the job if you need to get to a specific objective within a certain amount of time or to minimise the weaknesses of your team in relation to the enemy troop types in the mission.
Both games have been expanded beautifully both in graphics which is a given but also in story choices and consequences as now both games have multiple endings depending on your choices and victories in the games and you also have the ability to go back to a previous mission to unlock the other story paths at any time.
For the true retro players among us you can set the music, character portraits and background graphics to the original style although the troop and character sprites on the map and in combat don’t change which would’ve been a nice touch if you wanted to go totally classic.
Combat is simple turn based affair but makes you think every step of the way because doing certain actions will lock that character where they are which could make them vulnerable and even get them killed if you’re not careful. Death doesn’t appear to be permanent anymore unlike the original game but that makes sense when you can go back to any mission now.
Talking of going back in missions this also allows you to farm character levels to boost your stats to make the fights easier but luckily the new publishers thought of that and have made the enemies smart enough to ignore you and just focus on the targets you need to defend like civilians etc so you make it easier for yourself one way but it balances out by making it harder to get into a position to protect the ones you need to which I love.
Definitely a great remake that’s been done with plenty of attention to the original and I love it.
Definitely an 8/10
Easily recommended to try out since the demo is on the PS Store and the full game is available on the store as of today for a very reasonable £39.99, it’s also available on steam, Xbox and the Nintendo Switch
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