Review by Chao_Yun
"This game was horribly maligned"
It is totally different from every other game in the series. Unlike others, it is troop based, not general based. You have to use tactics and control your generals capably to succeed. I think it is the best Langrisser, and one of my top ten favorite games of all time, because it challenges your intellect. It has nice voice and graphics (way ahead of its time). The combat system actually makes sense, but because it diverges from the classical "I wear a dunce cap and like it" combat system, it is denigrated.
The character interaction alone makes this game playable. I like the fact that my decisions in combat or conversation actually have a meaningful effect on the outcome of the game. My greatest regret is that 1) This game was never translated to English and 2) Other games like it never will be. There are zombies to kill, but this game is not hack-n-slash, and that destroys the American market. That's too bad, because the storyline is probably the best I've ever seen (tied with Final Fantasy 7).
Pro tips: I'd start with a winged warrior. It allows you to get to spots you can't otherwise get to, and gives you significant combat advantages long-term. My only real gripe with this game is that I don't understand how a runestone helps me. But that is ignorance, I guess. Magic still is the end-all-be-all of offensive punch, so try to pick up either Heal or Thunder during character creation.
My biggest gripe is that, as you play through, you will encounter special tiles. This is nothing new to the Langrisser series, but I think it is ridiculous that someone needs to read a walkthru or guide to get the best items. Unfortunately, this is quid pro quo for any game released after 1994. I think panel-searching is time-consuming and boring, and has no place in the typical gamer's repertoire. That this game and others in the series require it brings it from a 10 to a 9.
The character development is far above average. The "love" endings are nicely developed. Combat is challenging if you don't know the goal, although the game becomes much easier as you replay. Overall, the game is way ahead of its time in combat, graphics, and sound. It is much-maligned because the difficulty increased dramatically from its predecessor. I like it, because it gives me a free (read: pre-paid) lesson in Japanese. I wish more games utilized sound as well as this game did.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/11/09
Game Release: Langrisser III (JP, 10/18/96)
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