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Brigandine - Review

A tactical Ogre Battle...but not Tactics Ogre

By: Red Raven


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 5
   Music/Sound 3
   Originality 5
   Plot 2
   Localization 5
   Replay Value 5
   Visuals 4
   Difficulty Varies
   Time to Complete

20 hours x5

 
Overall
5
Criteria

Brigandine
 

   If Atlus can do anything well, it's making a great strategy game; Brigandine is no exception. Featuring five different playable leaders on a war-torn continent, an easy-to-learn battle system, and the mindless fun of getting stronger through a class system, Brigandine is one...uh...solid SRPG.

   The battle system really is too complicated to go into any kind of major details in a mere review. You basically assume the role of a leader who is trying to take over the 40 castles on the continent. Everything happens in a turn-based fashion, on a pentagon grid of the battlefield. You move your troops around, attack the other guy, and hope you win the battle. The loser retreats to another friendly castle and you expand (or lose) your territory. Managing your monster troops is important, and so is a little brainpower when choosing where and when you want to attack. If you can think about Ogre Battle being turn-based on pentagon grid of the area, then you can envision Brigandine's battles. All in all, it's a pretty fun system, and one that finally lets supereior strategy win over supiereor numbers.

   Brigandine though, not only follows the unfortunate tradition of having a bad plot in strategy games, but it is also made by Atlus, which means it has even less story than usual. You pick to play one of the five playable leaders, and with the exception of one, they all want to "unify the continent". That's it. There is some character interaction between the leaders and their generals but it's not much in way of great storytelling. As such, one could expect nothing spectatcular in the way of localization department either.


99% of the game is this, so...hope that you like it.
99% of the game is this, so...hope that you like it.  

   Another area that could have been fixed rather easily is the graphics. When each individual character gets into a skirmish, the game decides you need to see the polygon characters actually hitting each other. Unfortunately, the polygon creatures are just about the most horribly rendered polygon characters imaginable. It makes the original Star Fox look like FF8 in comparison. Thankfully, there is an option to turn such fights, and I would urge every player to do so as soon as possible. The rest of the graphics are really SNES-style visuals, with nothing to separate it from, say, the first Ogre Battle. Besides the grid and turn based style of play, that's exactly what this game looks like.

   While the game inherited Ogre Battle's visuals, it unfortunately left the music behind. Indeed, the music is about as uninteresting and bland as it comes. Nothing sweeping, nothing majestic, nothing, well, interesting whatsoever. Each leader you pick has a different "theme" going on in the background, and these range from okay at best to, semi-annoying at worst.

   That about sums up the experience of Brigandine: okay at best, annoying at worst. If you were never a fan of strategy games before, than this game will definitely not change your mind. In fact, it pretty much embodies everything you could hate about this particular genre. But for those guys out there that eat this stuff up for lunch, they can expect the same kind of strategy fun Atlus routinely delivers. And if you don't quite know which camp you fall under...you would, as always, be better off just renting the game first.




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