What I'm Playing: Langrisser, Another Eden

Langrisser's a long-running series of tactical RPGs, later succeeded by Growlanser. The mobile game is very similar to the PSP Growlanser remake, or to Fire Emblem Heroes. Move around a map and fight battles with usually 2-5 heroes chosen from 10 classes with rock-paper-scissors interactions (Infantry -> Lance -> Cavalry loop, Holy -> Demon, Archery -> Flyers, Sailors, Mages, and Assassins are neutral). This has the usual mobage stuff of arenas, "Magic Rift" areas to grind because there's not enough content, gachapon to get more heroes and equipment. There's less blatant "waifu" T&A exploitation material in Langrisser than FEH or many others, there's a few but it's a more serious game.

The combat UI is excellent, maybe one of the easiest to control and see movement and combat ranges. Every character has a band of soldiers with them, which act as a sort of HP buffer, extra damage before you take damage and die; you can swap out what kind of soldiers to change your combat interactions! The scenarios are modestly hard sometimes, not Final Fantasy Tactics hard, but decent tactical puzzles, and many of them have bonus "Feats" like killing optional targets, finding a chest, and so on. Far better than FEH, which bored me to death, it never got interesting.

The main screen is the world map with a bunch of buttons around the edges, better than a blank button-filled home screen like most mobage, but it still has some annoyances. 3 or 4 places you have to tap every time you log in or do anything to collect all the little rewards.

Levelling up characters is absurdly complicated but I kinda like that. You increase "star" rating by collecting soul fragments in gachapon and quest events, but the overall rating of N, R, SR, SSR doesn't change, except for three of the main-story characters; you don't really want to use anything below SR. You also add experience levels, mostly by spending EXP potions, they only gain a little bit from combat. You also upgrade classes, first getting more abilities, then progressing to a more advanced class along a 3-5 stage tree. Equipment starts out scarce and at level 1, and also has to be increased by absorbing "hammers" and other equipment, and eventually by adding enchantments. After 3 days on and off, I have the main-story characters at R, and three SR characters (Imelda, mage, T&A BDSM waifu; Lance, flyer, stern badass; Silver Wolf, assassin, masked mystery man) almost fully equipped, levelled up, and I'm doing fine in the arenas. I have a lot of junk R characters who I wish I could recycle their souls for EXP or something; the only one I've used at all is a pirate captain.

I'm not sure how long I'll keep at it, but there's a lot of depth in the game so far; but I say that a lot just before I quit playing these mobage.

AnotherEden

The more important game got pre-released today, and goes live tomorrow:

I have very high expectations of this. Masato Kato, best known for Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy XI, has been working on this. So, I know there'll be time travel, branching stories, characters making heroic sacrifices, and a ton of crunchy turn-based combat and level-up strategies for the characters. Apparently it's only going to be solo, no events, arenas, or other mobage stuff, but does use gachapon for adding non-main-party characters. A huge contiguous world, no loading screens or warping.

The quotes from the staff in the interviews are interesting:

"This game was created with love by myself and the other staff who were raised on JRPGs. I want everyone to feel the same emotion and surprise I've experienced."
—Takahito Exa, art director

"This is a game which expands on the possibilities of the JRPG genre. It feels nostalgiac, yet modern. I think it's a game not only old-school Japanese game fans will enjoy, but also something younger people can get into as well."
—Shinwoo Choi, character designer

"If I was stuck on a deserted island and could only bring three things with me, I would bring a smartphone, charger, and Another Eden. If I have those, I don't need anything else in my life. I want everyone else to feel that way about Another Eden, too."
—Conomi Akahori, animator

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