AKA “Langrisser Reincarnation Reincarnation” because “Tensei” means “Reincarnation” in Japanese.

This is the Langrisser game that I’ve known about for a long time, but have not had the chance to play. I’m glad I finally played it so I can understand why everyone hates it so much. Here’s the long and short of it: Tensei is a bad game. It’s easily the worst Langrisser game from an objective standpoint. This drop in quality can probably be attributed to two main factors: 1) it was developed by a third party, AkSys, rather than Masaya or NCS or CareerSoft and 2) it was 15 years since the last Langrisser game (Wonderswan) was released; it’s probably a bit difficult to recapture the magic after 15 years of no Langrisser.

For these two reasons, I’m personally willing to be more forgiving to Tensei than most people would. Still, let’s go over the game’s many problems for the sake of impartiality.

Everything about Tensei is a mess. Let’s cover the surface level stuff first. Controls are reversed so that “B” selects and “A” cancels. There are certain parts of the game which let you walk on the ceilings. There are blatant and obvious typos. The game drastically cuts down on the amount of troops you can hire. The game’s battle animations are ugly as sin.

I’m speechless.

As another thing obviously wrong with the game, the female character designs are garbage. Most of the females in the game are either A) buxom MILF types who wear absurdly revealing clothing or B) disgustingly sexualized lolis with equally revealing clothing. Worse yet, the game has a “confession” mechanic, similarly to Langrissers 3/4/5, wherein your self insert main character can fall in love with a character of his choosing. To the game’s credit, Ares (the main character) is allowed to fall in love with the guys. But the confession scenes are still a net negative because it allows you to get stuff like this:

The scene plays out like the craven fantasy of someone who’s into loli femdom. Yeah, I didn’t know that was even a thing either.

…I had to get this scene just so I could test the limits of this game’s degeneracy. Needless to say, I’m now ashamed that I did. I’m probably now on a FBI watchlist, too. Thanks, Tensei!

You’re also allowed to confess to Licorice, your sister. It’s more uncomfortable than I’d like, but there’s at least nothing explicitly incestuous about it. Instead of doing that though, I’d highly recommend confessing to anyone else. If you want some wholesome fanservice (I can’t believe I just used that phrase, GODDAMMIT TENSEI) then why not confess to Patsyr instead?

Ares-kun, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls♩

I say: if you must have fanservice, then by all means, give us an entire roster of characters who look like Patsyr. But leave our kids alone! Had the game just dialed down on its sexualization of the lolis, confessions would’ve been fine.

Still, this is far from the only problem plaguing Tensei.

Tensei is a game which feels like it was deliberately designed to be as tedious as possible. Maps are huge for no good reason. You have a turn-based movement system (instead of playerphase/enemyphase), and you’re forced to deploy a minimum amount of characters, so you can’t just deploy Ares/Maiya and call it a day. This is an annoyance because the most efficient way of clearing the game is to only use Ares/Maiya, while ignoring everyone else. AI is too passive, resulting in maps which are too easy and too long. Worst of all, practically every battle in Tensei has “kill all enemies” as the objective. Exacerbating matters further is the prevalence of predictable waves of reinforcements in most lategame maps.

Without question, Tensei is the most tedious Langrisser game. It’s also the easiest. This combination means Tensei is the least strategic Langrisser game to date.

None of these enemies pose a threat to Ares or Maiya. They’ll deal 0 damage, while Ares and Maiya chunk ’em for 10 HP every time. And yes, the game does say “highwy.”

When you play Tensei, your greatest challenge will be staying awake.

There’s not a whole lot of good that I can say about Tensei. The story is probably the game’s forte, and even then, it’s not great. Characters are mostly likable… or, in the case of Kertesz or Patsyr, they’re so over-the-top in their negative traits that it horseshoes around into being funny (y’know, Horseshoe Theory?) Tensei gives you a route split, just like in Der Langrisser, and the game was probably all the better for it. Maps are still extremely tedious, but the story is at least good enough to be a sufficient motivator.

Also, Anikis show up once you beat the game. Need I say more?

So yeah, all things considered: Tensei is a pretty bad game. It is to Langrisser what FE13 is to Fire Emblem. It bewilders me why this game gets endlessly disparaged while FE13 gets endlessly praised; both are very bad games with almost identical problems, but at least Tensei has some excuses for being bad.

Also, so far, I’ve played three 3DS SRPGs. And they’ve all been objectively bad games. I hope the next 3DS SRPG I try out will be good. If you have any recommendations for 3DS games (beyond FE15 and Stella Glow, which I plan on playing eventually), feel free to let me know in the comments.

General Information
Year: 2015
Console: 3DS
Developers: AkSys

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6 months ago

It has a “focus-test” vibe to it. Where they designed their game to be similar to other popular IPs at that time.

6 months ago

I think the reason why the reception for Awakening and Tensei differ so much is because of marketing. With better advertising, Awakening drew in more anime fans than Tensei did. As a result, Tensei mostly reached series veterans who care more about quality SRPG gameplay than anime fanservice and power fantasy. On the other hand, Fire Emblem has a less cohesive identity.

It’s really ironic when people say that Awakening saved the Fire Emblem franchise because it threw old Fire Emblem design philosophy out the window. Hogwarts Emblem has more in common with visual novels than it does with Pre-3DS Fire Emblem. If Fire Emblem Awakening mainly reached veterans of the series, it would have followed in the footsteps of Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem.

4 months ago

I think there are two main things (and related stuff to them) that are the difference between Fire Emblem Awakening being a success and Langrisser Tensei being a failure only living for the Chinese market’s mobile games despite being quite similar in how they changed from their roots in an attempt to be more appealing to 2000’s and 2010’s japanese market.

1.- As someone commented previously, Awakening was a game that actually go promoted, getting a decently good push in the months prior to it’s release in Japan, we actually saw quite a lot about the game; and the game became so well known that when word of mouth spread to the west, there was already some anticipation for Awakening before it’s proper localization reveal, and of course, that localization also got proper promotion besides the original release.

Something that really didn’t help Langrisser Tensei is that in the context it was released, Langrisser had already existed for 3 years, and the game looked like it was trying to ride in the popularity of other succesful RPGs, specially Awakening.

2.- Awakening was actually quite an impressive looking game, of course it wasn’t Metal Gear Solid 3D (or other mid/late PS2-like game), but the game actually looked like a lot of work was put into it (and considering the interviews about it… it actually was). It was fun, the animations were fluid, the models themselves were a bit derpy but were charming, the UI was so pleasing looking, the game a lot easier to follow and play compared with every other previous game. The developers did a great job and making the game feel good to play even thought there are just barely under the surface some obvious design problems (the game being overall super unbalanced and absurd).

This is a comment from someone that has super weird relationship with Awakening, I like and dislike things about the game, and I can’t deny their work for making Fire Emblem easier to follow and more dynamic, that was a great decision from their part, which I believe, alongside the proper marketing is the reason of Awakening’s success.

BTW, while I prefer GBA Fire Emblem, and I’m kind of excited about the idea of remakes with the modern improvements, considering Shadows of Valentia exists, it doesn’t need to be turned into waifu simulator.

In the other hand Langrisser Tensei had an aesthetic that at best looks generic and at worse looks unpleasant, and it doesn’t help that the game was already being sold using tons of lolis (at least Awakening only had like two). Probably the only things that Tensei made right was making the story all right, and the overall Langrisser gameplay experience working… for the most part.

BTW… It’s still feels weird that the A and B bottom are reversed, this isn’t a case of PlayStation weirdness where some people see the X as a negative input (Japan) while in other is the color red (International, mostly USA)… Who knows why…

Reply to  Harvester of Eyes
4 months ago

Oh yeah, I won’t disagree that FE12 already did a lot of the work Awakening was going for, they follow up with pretty much all the big changes between FE11 and FE12.

I’ll tell you something that while not objective, I think it helped Awakening’s case, the game’s particular focus on bonds was a HUGE deal in my opinion. It’s connected to one of the game’s main mechanics, the pair up, that while broken as heck, it’s very to easy how casuals could found extremely fun and engaging; it was also connected with other very important aspect of the game, it basically encourages you to make pairings, and a lot of people are very into that, not only with their own character (Robin/Reflect) and their husbando/waifu (which is where Tensei’s bonds start and end).

FE12 is a better game as a SRPG without a doubt, I think everyone that is half serious about SRPGs will admit it, but Awakening is… fun, in a stupid, a bit corny a ridiculous way, but it’s charming and fun, that can be sell people into it.

I certainly had seen people enter the game precisely for those reasons, though it makes me wonder how they could feel about playing other games.

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