Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia has gotten little attention around here. The title came up in the Games like Heroes of Might & Magic thread, and that is where I first heard about it.
It does not remind me of HoMM particularly, beyond being a turn based strategy game with an overland and a tactical map, but it has struck me as having great gameplay. @Lykurgos @belouski know the game better than I do, but I figured I would start a thread and let them chime in if they like.
The strategic level features lots of interesting decisions. A wide array of troops (they are all magical monsters) to summon. Armies to assemble. Towns (called bases) to attack and conquer, with quite a lot of battlefield variety. Heroes (called Rune Knights) of various abilities and potentials to find, train, level up and multi-class, assign quests, and send into battle. There are six nations to choose from, with differing starting heroes and experienced monsters, and to some extent different monsters available for summons.
The tactical level is the heart of the game with lengthy, competitive combat which turns on both preparation and use of terrain and unit abilities. Personally, I find it very satisfying.
The AI is middle-of-the-road. Easy difficulty seems too easy, most people seem to play on the highest difficulty but then go into custom difficulty settings and remove the time limit on conquering the map. Regardless of difficulty level, though, you can only take three heroes into each battle, and each hero can only have a limited number of monsters under their command (leveling up heroes raises this gradually, but the monsters level up and become more expensive at about the same rate) so you can never create a true stack of doom.
Although the game just released for PC on May 11, it has apparently been out on Switch and PS4 since late 2020, so this is no Early Access, work in progress sort of thing. The game is an update of a 1998 Playstation game.
Tutorial worked fine for me, introducing everything important, and then explaining more deeply the first time I encountered specific situations. Well above par. Voice acting is in Japanese, and I turn down the volume on that, but the text is all in English, quite well translated and clear.
So what’s not to like? Well…
It’s got a lot of JRPG to it, which some people like, some do not. I usually do not. The story line goes into wordy detail with a level of sophistication roughly matching the grandkids’ Disney movies. But personally I don’t care because I can skip through those screens at high speed.
More seriously, the interface is aggressively annoying. I’ve played lots of games that were more difficult to figure out the navigation, and I have a rare ability to be confused by game interfaces. Here, I am never lost. But omg, could they possibly have made routine actions more click intensive? Up and down through game menus, both in and out of battle. And item management, once you’ve got a lot of knights and items, is just egregiously inconvenient. I’ve heard that this is because the game originated on Switch – I don’t know the first thing about Switch, or how GUIs work there – but it would have to be a mighty good game for me to put up with such crap.
But as it turns out, Brigandine gameplay has been striking me as that good.