RPG Review #73: Langrisser II

NuMetalManiak Let's start off 2018 with my 73rd game, Langrisser II, which serves as a distant sequel to the original Langrisser. You may or may not know that game, but it was Warsong, and was the only game in the main series to be localized in English, as well as my 56th reviewed game. Langrisser II got several remakes, one for the SNES called Der Langrisser, as well as a packaged edition alongside the original Langrisser for the Playstation. I played the Mega Drive/Genesis version, translated of course. Let me also point out that this version is vastly different than Der Langrisser, which actually ended up being a more open-ended game in comparison. My review is based off of the Mega Drive/Genesis version.

Gameplay: The overall gameplay is entirely similar to Warsong, buy units, equip items, sortie your commanders, and go along with the ride by moving, attacking, using magic. Every unit has 10 HP, with strengths and weaknesses. Notable in this game, archers (called elves in this game) are now actually a ranged unit, and can attack from a distance, but lose their strength against horsemen, who now have a new weakness in the pikemen class. Also, there are different kinds of soldiers, for example, the basic soldiers, then the gladiators, then the armored soldiers. In other words, direct upgrades. Up to 10 commanders can be used in combat, commanding up to six troops. Commanders can treat their own wounds, use magic, or battle at a far superior rate than their troops.

There is considerably more character dialogue in this game, as every general you have will say stuff often. What does this mean? There's no more permadeath mechanic, that's what it means, although losing the main hero is of course the main game over condition. Again, like before, terrain plays a factor for some units, as does commanding range, items, and status spells. Experience is gained upon defeating a unit, and at level 10 a class change is achieved, so pick accordingly for that. Given Langrisser II is linear, experience rewards are pretty much final, so actually leveling up the characters in game can be quite hard. Not to mention the amount of scenarios that put players at disadvantages. Yep, this was certainly a hard game, and again, not too fond of this type of combat system myself. Grade: B-

Elwin: He's the main hero, and of course, must survive every scenario. Although a descendant of the main hero from the first game, he's not really royalty, just a wanderer. He can get some class changes up to the Hero rank.
Hein: He's a mage, and a loyal friend to Elwin. Naturally, he's weaker, but has more magic points, and can further train to be a strong mage in the late-game.
Scott: Met early on and is pretty much a standard fighter character through and through. I made him a knight at some point. He leaves at some point, but comes back a bit later on.
Liana: A shrine maiden who gets rescued in the first scenario, Liana is this game's main healer, so has those classes, but leaves at the same time Scott does and doesn't come back until much later on.
Cherie: Shows up as a mystery knight and is revealed to be a rebellious outgoing princess. In fact, that's her best possible class in the game. She's apparently a descendant from Sabra in the first game.
Aaron: An old guy who defends a town rather well, but decides to join Elwin's group.
Keith: Commander of the aerial knights from the same kingdom Cherie is from. Naturally, you'll want to give him the classes involving flying units.
Lester: A pirate who protects a sorceress, Jessica. He's like Tiberon from the first game.
Jessica: A sorceress, apparently reincarnated and reborn throughout the series. If she looks familiar, that's because she is. She was Calais in Warsong.
Lána: She's Liana's twin sister, apparently an enemy for a long time in the game, but becomes better and joins. Same class as Liana.

Those were the playables, and as before, more character dialogue and lack of permadeath feature makes me like these characters a bit more. In Der Langrisser, these characters seem to only show up in the good path with a few exceptions, like Hein being available on all paths, while enemy characters in this game being allies in the Imperial path. Grade: A-

Plot: This game has only one direct path, the good one. 27 scenarios, which is seven more than the previous game.
Scenario 1: Knights of the Rayguard Empire: This is a much better first scenario than in Warsong and is actually easy. Elwin and Hein awaken in a town run by Imperials, where Leon and Laird, two top Imperial generals, fight off reinforcements, while some fighter guy named Baldo kidnaps Liana. The winning condition here is to take out Baldo.
Scenario 2: Besieged Manor: With Liana rescued, the three are taken to a manor belonging to Scott's father (forgot his name). The place is sieged by Imperial general Zorum and the defenders must hold Zorum's group back while Liana escapes to the north. Reinforcements arrive there though.
Scenario 3: Mountain Ambush: Zorum ambushes the group here and Liana must be protected again. At the end, Imperial general Vargas shows up, but is distracted by the mystery knight.
Scenario 4: The Light Shrine: Some magician named Morgan is attacking the Light Shrine, so the objective here is to make sure the defenders, along with Liana, survive. At some point Morgan charms Liana into working with the enemy. The mystery knight comes back at the end, revealed to be the girl Cherie.
Scenario 5: A Werewolf Howls: Werewolves, of course, appear for the first time here, while the party chases Morgan. This is actually a timed mission by number of turns.
Scenario 6: The Lone Warrior: This is the last we see of Morgan, and the first we see of the warrior Aaron, who joins at the end. Again, the objective is to protect civilians.
Scenario 7: Revival of the Old Spirits: The only scenario in the game featuring necromancers, who revive undead to terrorize a village. Civilians need to be protected. Keith joins at the end of this scenario.
Scenario 8: The Great Bridge: This timed mission involves a lord called Kramer, who wants to destroy a bridge to prevent progress. Naturally, his death is the end of this scenario. Vargas and Zorum also show up in this scenario.
Scenario 9: The Siege of Karzas Castle: The castle where Cherie and Keith are from is being sieged, so their defenders must survive. To win, Laird must be defeated, and he's tough. Scott and Liana leave at the end of this scenario.
Scenario 10: The Defender of the Raul River: We fight Lester and a group of pirates in this scenario, but the fight is cut short when a lot of monsters show up. Lester decides to ally with you and take you to Jessica at the end.
Scenario 11: Inside the Flame: We meet Jessica, but a large Imperial group led by Egbert, apparently a former student of Jessica's shows up. To make this scenario worse, he sets fire to a field and it spreads with each turn, instantly killing anything unlucky enough to be in it. This is problematic, because Jessica needs to survive this scenario and she's an NPC.
Scenario 12: The Holy Land Reital: There are lots of mythical demon enemies in this indoor scenario. Also Egbert shows up again, and warps to the mission objective, the Dark Rod, snatching it, so just kill all the enemies.
Scenario X1: The Temple of Muscle: This is a secret scenario, apparently with the enemies being muscular men from another game by Masaya. It's a really silly scenario due to the dialogue.
Scenario 13: Battle with the Fire Dragon Corps: Elwin's group realizes that the castle in Scenario 9 was invaded and Liana kidnapped (what did you expect was gonna happen). The Fire Dragon Corps lead by Zorum attack in a city. Vargas shows up in this scenario, and here is where he can finally be killed (along with Zorum). It's sad though, because he was expecting the birth of his child and had to fight, and Leon and Laird have to deliver the news to the mother.
Scenario 14: The Race for Langrisser: This scenario takes place in the old Baltia castle (which has a layout that looks NOTHING like the one in the original game). Elwin's group must reach the legendary sword Langrisser (called Warsong, of course, in the previous game) before the Blue Dragon Knights under Leon and Laird reach it. Only Elwin, Cherie, Jessica, and Leon can reach the sword.
Scenario 15: The Battle of Roleck River: The Ice Dragon Navy under General Imelda fights Elwin's group here. More things show up though, including a mysterious dark princess who the party confuses for Liana. Scott also rejoins the group at this point. To win, either Imelda must be defeated or Elwin reaches the bottom of the map.
Scenario 16: The Blue Dragon Knights Again: This is the most annoying scenario in the game due to the sniper troops. Leon and Laird will stay back as their troops attack, and Elwin must reach the main gates of the castle to win (or defeat Leon). At some point, the dark princess shows up again.
Scenario 17: Emperor Bernhardt: The group has entered the castle and will be confronting the titular emperor in this scenario. He also has Bosel, who was known as Ganelon in the first game, by his side.
Scenario 18: The Dark Princess Lána: Yeah, the dark princess is Lána, and can summon monsters. So you have to protect villagers in this scenario. Either defeat Lána or her great dragon to win.
Scenario 19: Battle at Mireil: This is the last we see of General Imelda, who is prepared to use a boat, so this is a timed mission, racing to defeat Imelda. Laird shows up as a reinforcement in this scenario.
Scenario X2: Fierce Battle of Dires: I didn't reach this secret scenario, but it only involves fighting reinforcements.
Scenario 20: The Red Sea: A group of demons on another ship attempt to attack Elwin's group on their ship. Here, the dark lord Faias reveals that he killed Elwin's foster father.
Scenario 21: Marionette: An annoying scenario due to having to cross the river. Dark princess Lána is here again with a score of monsters and mages.
Scenario 22: Alhazard's Revival: The most important scenario. Liana and Lána are present, as is Bosel and Egbert. Elwin's group is too late to stop the ceremony from happening, and Emperor Bernhardt is resurrected. The unexpected happens where he betrays and kills Bosel (but Bosel will show up in later titles anyways) and some mutinies occur. Of course, every target that is an enemy must be taken out here. Bernhardt is especially tough due to having the Alhazard sword in his possession. Winning this scenario, Jessica is out of the party, but Liana rejoins, and Lána is brought to senses and joins as well.
Scenario X3: Magic Dragon's Lair: Another secret scenario I never reached. A number of treasures, but a whole slew of tough monster units.
Scenario 23: The Light Rod: Another racing mission, with a lot of enemies led by Laird. The goal is, of course, the Holy Rod, so get it before the enemy does, or just kill everyone.
Scenario 24: Light and Dark: Bernhardt syncs a demon army in the fields in this scenario
Scenario 25: The Continent's Strongest Knights: My favorite scenario due to the all-out nature of it. We fight the Blue Dragon Knights one last time. Laird is fought for the last time, while Leon will appear later. Also Egbert drops Jessica off here and she rejoins.
Scenario 26: The Black Dragon Sorcerer's Trap: Egberts last line of defence, a whole group of mages attack. Egbert must be defeated in this scenario, and this is the last we see of him.
Scenario 27: The End of a Legend: And this is the final one, fighting against Bernhardt and a whole group of demon lords, saints, and wizards. There's one more Scenario X4 at the end but I don't know much about it.

Nice scenarios overall, and great story to go with the game. Grade: A

Music: The music, like Warsong's was quite engaging, and much nicer to listen to. Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B+

This was much more fun than the original Langrisser (Warsong), with more interesting scenarios and a whole lot of character dialogue to go with everything. Might be the last Langrisser game I play though, as there doesn't seem to be proper fan translations for the other games apart from Der Langrisser (which is the same game as this except with multiple paths.). The next two games were on the Sega Saturn, for instance, and it seems the work on Langrisser III's translation remains incomplete. I enjoyed what I could.