Zangeki no Reginleiv: Norse Defense Force

By Spencer . February 19, 2010 . 8:26am


Simply explained, Zangeki no Reginleiv is Dynasty Warriors meets Dragon Quest Swords with giants and online play.


Before we get into Zangeki no Reginleiv I want to discuss Sandlot, the game’s developer. Sandlot makes games where tiny people battle giants like Robot Alchemic Drive and Earth Defense Force 2017. Part of what makes Earth Defense Force a “blast” is how ridiculous it is. Shooting overpowered weapons, watching buildings explode around you, and fighting through (but easily killing) waves of giant ants is like a guilty pleasure.




Zangeki no Reginleiv has a similar feel with the added thrill of slashing giants with Wii MotionPlus. When you swing the remote you can chop off a giant’s arm with a vertical slash. Freyr and Freyja, the two Norse gods you can play as, have a basic shake and slice combo that closes with a finishing move like a spinning slash.Before flickering out of existence monsters explode in a bloody mess with torsos and body parts flying in the air. It’s over the top. It’s Sandlot. Some giants will continue attacking after you cut off a limb or two or three. After the blood stops gushing, amputated giants retaliate by stepping on you or crawling on the ground while swinging their fists. You can block attacks by raising your shield with the Z button.


Zangeki no Reginleiv supports a standard remote, but motion controlled slashing doesn’t work without MotionPlus. Now is a good time to mention that slashing is not the only way to kill giants and later robot-like things. You can fire arrows, an effective attack against flying enemies, by drawing the remote back like a bow. Pick Freyja (the female character) to cast magic too. When equipped with a wand, Freyja stands still and shoots what you point at. The controls feel similar to a light gun game, with limited bullets. Freyja has a magic meter that depletes a bit after each spell. Switching back to sword mode and slaying giants restores her magic power.




Being a pure melee character, Freyr starts the game with more life than his sister. He has a unique set of weapons that include spears and giant hammers. Enemies don’t drop weapons in Zangeki no Reginleiv. You unlock them by spending crystals, collected from fallen giants. All of the weapons are linked in a branching tree, similar to Muramasa: The Demon Blade.


Townsfolk actively defend their homes from the giant invasion. They fire arrows on their own if a giant is in range and love to scream over the background music. Computer controlled civilians can actually defeat giants, which still explode into a mess of body parts even when hit by arrows. One thing that surprised me in Zangeki no Reginleiv is how big the maps are… and how slow your character runs on them. During cutscenes Freyr and Freyja transform into birds. Their pace is more on par with a morning jog in battle. Sandlot made a dash move, but you have to shake the nunchuck forward to do a short sprint. Getting from one group of giants to the next takes a lot of nunchuck shaking, too much since the “dash” is really meant to be a dodge. Shake the nunchuck backwards to do a backflip and left or right to strafe. While the move usually gets you out of harms way, shaking the nunchuck doesn’t feel responsive. Sometimes you’ll shake left and Freyr will go right or backwards.




The online mode works better than the controls. Zangeki no Reginleiv has features most Wii games don’t have like lobbies where you can find players without using friend codes. Once in a room you can chat and outfit your character for battle. What happened to all of your weapons? Oh, those are gone. Your online character is separate from the story mode characters. Sorry, you have to level up and collect weapons all over again.


Cooperative missions support up to four players and even though I’m playing an ocean away from Japan I haven’t experienced much lag. Each mission has the same goal, kill everything or die trying. You get one life per party member and these are shared with your party. So, it’s possible to fail a mission if one teammate keeps dying. Zangeki no Reginleiv only supports text chat and preset phrases are selected with the d-pad. The system is cumbersome, especially when surrounded by enraged giants. Fortunately, you don’t need to call for help if you’re near death. The game automatically notifies all players that you’re in a pinch when your life meter is low. After completing the mission all players return to the lobby where the host can set up another mission.


The Monster Hunter-like online mode was an attempt to broaden the game’s user base, but this is really a hack and slash game, not a loot collecting RPG. Zangeki no Reginleiv and all of its flying giant limbs is mindless fun with a little wrist strain from nunchuck dashing. However, Zangeki no Reginleiv is so mindless I imagine people are either going to love it or hate it.

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  • malek86

    “The online mode works better than the controls.”

    When talking about Wii games, that’s definitely not something good to hear. I also heard the fraemrate is not very good. Would you recommend it at the current price?

    Otherwise, I might get this when the price lowers. Doesn’t sound like it will come out in the west anyway.

    • It’s a tough sale at full price. One of the lures of EDF was being a budget game. I guess the only reason to get this right away is for online play. It’s easy to get into a match since people are playing it. The masses may sell the game back by the time the game goes on sale.

      • malek86

        I don’t play online, so I don’t really care about that.

        Well, unless you tell me this is only fun when playing multi, in which case I’m just going to not bother at all.

        • cowcow

          It’s pretty epic either way. You’re missing out

    • daizyujin

      Well my friend invited me over to try it out the other day, can’t say I am all that impressed. We just ended up going back to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.

  • thebanditking

    This “Zangeki no Reginleiv is Dynasty Warriors meets Dragon Quest Swords with giants and online play.” + this ” Sandlot makes games where tiny people battle giants like Robot Alchemic Drive and Earth Defense Force 2017.” = me being worried.

    Personally despite my fondness of Dynasty Warriors no other game of that type has ever interested me, probably because I am fond of the nostalgia/characters in Dynasty Warriors more then the gameplay.

    As for the devs track reccord Earth Defence Force was quite terrible (my opinion) and the other I am not even aware of. The gimmick controls are also a bit of a let down for me. After all this time I thought the Wii had established its self enough for devs to stop just slapping waggle into games that should not have it. Guess I was wrong.

    • cowcow

      This doesn’t feel like Dynasty Warriors to me even though its hack n slash. To me DW has gotten too stale (save for Fist of the North Star and Trinity Zill O’ll those look promising). The fun in this IS the controls and the fact that you have over 300 weapons and 63 missions. The only thing that needs a little work is the dash motion on the nunchuck like mentioned but its a minor thing really

  • ECM

    I’m having an absolute blast w/ this and it’s worth every penny due to the visceral thrill of actually cutting down the giants with motion-controlled slashes. (The WiiMotionPlus implementation is swell, too: it tracks the Wiimote even when it leaves the screen, so you never actually lose control.)

  • Jaxx-Leviathan

    Must admit I do not own a Wii for the sake of remote-shaking and this game sounds like it benefits better from non-motion controls. Still not overly interested in this title, still might have to try it sometime when it’s been on the market for a while.

    • cowcow

      Wrong. The Classic controller option is not as responsive as the controls

  • Robot Alchemic Drive is one my most cherished titles, but also understand that not everyone is going to like it for a couple reasons. For those that can swallow B-movie type story/acting and can handle the controls, it’s a really fun mech battle game that fans of this stuff will eat up.

    Since for some reason Nintendo didn’t publish Sandlot’s DS game, Chōsōjū Mecha MG, I imported a copy, but haven’t gotten to far. The controls are a little tricky since it uses the touch screen, but once I get that down the gameplay will be much smoother.

    Reading this and other impressions of Zangeki no Reginleiv, I still really want to play it despite the flaws (some of which sound like Sandlot hasn’t pinned down from their other games). I heard the camera views are shabby, too, but one thing I like what Sandlot does is how they actually make their giant foes really feel like giants.

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