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Langrisser IV


Game Description:

Langrisser IV was only released in Japan and is similar to its predecessors with the exception of a new turn system in the original Saturn version and a new movement system that was added for the Playstation version. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it is a turn-based strategy RPG which involves placing you in story-based scenarios (battles) with victory and defeat conditions. (e.g. Victory - kill all enemies, Defeat - death of the main character)

The Langrisser series tends to follow a storyline (sometimes a branching storyline) which involves nations at war. (While I tend to not care for story lines, I can often get into the stories of these games as they can be quite interesting.) When battles occur in the story, you are provided some planning time beforehand to purchase troops and equipment using gold that you have accumulated from combat, survey the battlefield, and position your units. Battles are turn-based and have specific victory and defeat conditions as outlined earlier. The gameplay is similar to Shining Force, Fire Emblem, and a host of other tactics games, with the noted exception that all of your heroes lead many troops into battle with them. (For those unfamiliar, it is like a board game, with squares.) The troops fight better when within your respective hero’s command radius and, depending on the quality, can be very strong. A hero is typically stronger than a troop unit, but if a hero dies, all his troops die too so I recommend keeping your heroes shielded by your troops when possible. Different terrain provides a defense bonus and can be hard or effortless to traverse based on movement type. Damage can also be dealt from afar to a wide area using spells casted by individual heroes. As heroes, or their troops, kill enemies the heroes get experience points and will gain levels in typical RPG style. Once they reach level 10, they are allowed to change classes to obtain more advanced troops and abilities. There are many powerful and interesting foes to defeat and many times I have sent waves and waves of my men (Zapp Brannigan from Futurama suddenly comes to mind…) to their deaths all with the hopes of causing a single point of damage to a powerful foe. (It is rather fun to watch them get slaughtered too.) The series is also known for its excellent music, composed primarily by the great composer Noriyuki Iwadare, who composed great music for other well-known series’, such as the Lunar series and the Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) series.

Langrisser IV departs from the original in how it handles its turn system. Instead of one side getting a turn and then the other side getting a turn, whichever heroes have the highest judgment statistic will get their turn first (regardless of side) and also will get subsequent turns faster. It is possible for a high judgment hero to get two turns before a low judgment hero gets one. The Playstation remake of Langrisser IV also changes the movement system significantly. Previously troops and heroes were only allowed to move then attack. In this version, troops and heroes are allowed to move, attack, and then finish any remaining movement they have left. Also, the squares are now subdivided into four smaller squares with each unit taking up four of the smaller squares. This basically allows for half-steps. These changes make it much, much easier to gang up on a single troop or hero as before you could only attack with up to four on a single unit, barring spells or ranged units. Now you can surround them with six, due to the half-steps, and then your troops withdraw with their remaining movement to allow for others to attack. Finally, it is possible to get a second turn before they do and gang them all over again! You will have to be much more careful with your hero positioning to prevent this from happening to you.

The Langrisser series is one of my favorite series, and this one, while not quite as good as the original, is still more than worthy of being part of the series. I find them to be engaging and rewarding, particularly since I enjoy strategic games and RPGs. (Also, I love the music and I enjoy watching the troops clash.) If you find interest in RPGs or strategic games, you definitely should give this a try. If you are unsure, you still should give this a try as it is among the best of the genres.