It says something that the original Langrisser (released back on the Sega Genesis in 1991 as Warsong) is more enjoyable than the newest game in the series. Part of that is a compliment to a Genesis game that remains fun to play today, but whoever thought the world needed a new Langrisser really should have tried hard to get the original developers into the action rather than showing for a second time what happens when the series is farmed out to someone else. The last real Langrisser came out in 1998 on the Saturn after all — was it that hard to make sure that a follow-up after so many years would be worthwhile? Apparently yes.
Langrisser Re:Incarnation Tensei is a cheap cash-in that doesn't deserve to sully the name of this series. While technically a tactical game, thought will usually not be required here. It's quite telling that the narratives of earlier Langrisser games, most of which never received official localizations, are more compelling in Japanese than the garbled mish-mash of this one is in English. The 3DS hardware is given a break through displaying visuals that are outperformed by Super Nintendo titles, not even bothering with the charm of being deliberate evocations of good sprite work. The only reason to play this one would have been to send the (extremely farfetched) signal that older games in the series should be brought out of Japan. Now that no one is paying attention to whatever pathetic sales figures it might generate, this pretender can be forgotten.
It's not that hard to come up with a beat-em-up/RPG hybrid that is more or less successful. Guardian Heroes is the gold standard, but plenty of others are out there that do a solid job. Dungeon Punks seemed to have the ingredients ready for something that would be fun: six characters, a variety of landscapes and enemies, and a few neat mechanics among them. Of course, the execution left a great deal to be desired, with the game's repugnant tendency to freeze for long periods making it hard to actually play the thing. Even after sitting there staring at the screen for long periods, what was the reward when the game finally decided to shift into action for a moment before freezing again? A rather repetitive brawler with awful inventory issues and a narrative that refused to go away even when replaying completed levels for the extra benefits. Better quality assurance was needed on this game in a desperate way.
"Be careful what you wish for" is a saying that, perhaps, we should pay more attention to. There are plenty of missed gems that never get localized, but also many that aren't worth the effort. Final Fantasy Explorers was one that did make it over but in hindsight shouldn't have. The idea of a Monster Hunter clone with Final Fantasy monsters and classes is quite appealing, and full of potential. The series is filled with many classic designs, and as Final Fantasy XIV has shown, working towards obtaining the classic look of the series' icon professions can be a blast. Explorers has some of the classes, and some monsters, but tepid, tedious combat and a slog of tedious quests prevent players from discovering any sort of enjoyment. The prestige of the series deserved much better.
by Mike Moehnke, Mike Apps