Playing Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei can be quite the challenge. There are some gameplay elements that should be immediately available, but aren’t, and despite the tutorials, you’re often left not really knowing how parts of the game work. I’m actually a few chapters away from beating the game and felt it important to go through some things that might make the experience better for others heading into it.
First, you should make “B is confirm” your mantra. Embrace it. You will back out of so many menus and undo so many options your first three to four hours of Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei as muscle memory takes over. There may even be some cursing. The sooner you get it into your head that you should always be hitting “B” instead of “A,” the happier you’ll be.
You also shouldn’t be afraid to redo Jessica’s initial quiz in Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei. You have to live with Ares’ class for the rest of the game, and you’ll want it to be a good one. I went with a mage, because I wanted the extra skills that would allow Ares to attack from a distance. Since he’s equipped with the Langrisser, he tends to have a better chance of Overwhelming an opponent in a fight, and I wanted the spells to help weapon enemies for allies to defeat.
Because you want to set up fights so your weaker characters get in that last hit. Using skills or spells and dealing the finishing blow to an enemy unit are the actions that get a character experience. After chapter 10 or so, levels actually start mattering, so do your best to keep the characters you know you’ll use often, like Ares, Maiya, Elma, and Ansel, at about the same level.
You also want to keep characters together. I know, in many strategic RPGs, like Disgaea, keeping characters apart is important. Area of attack spells are a threat. In Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei, you want to keep troops clumped together. Like Fire Emblem, this game gives a small amount of bonus points to an allied unit when it’s near friendly faces. It also makes it easier to heal, as spells like Elma’s Quick Fix can heal four units at a time. The mercenaries you hire will be at their best and most effective when they’re right alongside their leader too. Sending them off ahead alone to attack distant foes is pretty much condemning them to death, even if they would have an advantage. Stick together.
Not that you have to worry too much about those foes. Enemies in Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei tend to be a bit dim. At least, they are at the Normal difficulty level. I saw enemy units take the longest way around to reach my army. They’d stomp right up to an ally and then, inexplicably, stop. Even though the opponent’s unit could attack, it wouldn’t. It’d stand there, staring at my characters. And this wasn’t just the behavior of a standard mook. Sometimes, one of my allies would be right next to a boss character and it would do nothing.
This can really cause the battles to drag on, so please, turn the battle animations off. You’re going to spend enough time on the field in Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei already, trying to determine which unit’s turn it is, can it go to this location, what the range of a certain spell or skill is, and so on. Since there’s no quick save feature to allow you to take a breather in the middle of battle, turn the animations off. You’re not missing anything important.
Speaking of saving, prepare to make very good use of the save/load function in the battle preparation screens. Between Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei’s scenarios, you’re able to talk to up to three allies to boost your relationship, hire mercenaries, and purchase equipment. If you go into the Guild or Shop, it’s impossible to see the stats of any of the units or weapons you’ll acquire. All it shows is who can hire those units or use those items. You don’t actually get to see unit stats unless you’re on the field. Only after spending points on weapons and armor are you taken to a screen that shows the difference it would make when applied to one of your units. Your points are already gone, so you could have bought something useless.
The general rule of thumb here is that more expensive is always better. (Except in the case of weapons for Ares, as the free Langrisser is always the best weapon for him.) But, if you have enough time to spare, I recommend saving, heading to the Shop, buying the most expensive items, and taking notes on a separate piece of paper as you do. Then, go back and load the save you made before shopping. Look at the stat difference and make informed purchasing decisions.
This same advice should be applied to the conversations you’ll have with allies. While you can pay the smarmy hedgehog 10 points for advice on which choice will be best, it’s wiser to save, play through the scenario with the sound up, then reload if necessary. A chime will let you know if you made the right decision, and you can know that your friendships will remain at the highest levels possible.
Though, to be honest, I wouldn’t always recommend hiring mercenaries. While I did splurge on these extra forces for the first three scenarios, I spent quite a few going without. Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei isn’t as difficult as many other games in the series. It often isn’t too difficult going it alone. Though, there were times where I did hire some backup for characters like Towa or Elma, because Towa would be heading out ahead as a scout and could use a few meat-shields and Elma would often be focused on healing, rather than fighting.
Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei is a game with many quirks. As long as you go in knowing you might have to make ample use of the save/lead feature, cluster characters together, and reevaluate everything you’ve learned about the “B” button in 10+ years of gaming, you should be able to power through most of its strategic situations. Just remember to have a power cord nearby and be ready to take multiple breaks, since fights can feel pretty drawn out.
Langrisser Re: Incarnation Tensei is immediately available for the Nintendo 3DS.