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Ogre Battle. Kartia. Tactics Ogre. Atlus has certainly been porting and translating a great deal of strategy RPGs to the Playstation lately, it seems. And it appears as though they're still going at full speed with another game in late-development, Brigandine. This one, however, appears to be quite different from the others in many respects. (That, and you can never get too many great strategy RPGs...)
Expected to be released this October or November in North America for the PlayStation, Brigandine offers the first strategy game system to use fully polygonal 3D battle scenes while you are deep in fighting. In a typical battle, characters are deployed in a hexagonal movement field, unlike the square movement fields found in Final Fantasy Tactics and Vandal Hearts. When a battle commences between two foes, the screen shifts to a polygonal battle scene with shifting camera angles and impressive attacks, similar to the system used in Final Fantasy VII's battles. Life bars and the duelers' names are inscribed in the lower corners. This spurs a much more graphically stimulating experience while deep in combat than you might find with other games.
While on the subject of graphics, the visuals used outside of battle sequences are cleanly executed. The battlefield itself, and the games characters and enemies, are colorful and pleasing to the eye. Additionally, the game may contain CG-rendered movies, although this has not been confirmed as of yet.
Of course, you need more than graphics to make a game truly a good one. So far, it looks like Brigandine will deliver on a solid plotline, although a fairly standard one. The storyline starts off in a Kingdom called Armekia on the plains of Forsena. The world of Brigandine was at war for a long time before Armekia defeated the neighboring country of Norugaldo in the year 214. No less than a year later, however, King Hengist of Armekia was assassinated by a man known as Admiral Zemekis.
Admiral Zemekis proclaimed himself emperor after the collapse of Armekia and established a group known as the "Estoregales". Zemekis caught the delightful "conquer the world" virus (it was going around that time of year) and began a full-scale assault on nearby countries. Your task in Brigandine is to choose from one of the five Knights of the Rune to bring the war to a halt, and bring peace back to Forsena.
Another delightful feature about the game is that each of the five different characters you choose has their own storyline, each promising at least 30 hours of gameplay. While these estimates are rarely accurate, all-in-all Brigandine could keep you playing for well over 100 hours before you start all over again. Side quests are also available, adding non-linearity. There is also reported to be a large number of units and class changes available, meaning a lot of options in battle.
For now, all we can do is wait and see how this game will turn out. Expect more information from RPGamer on Brigandine as it comes, as well as a full, comprehensive review when the game is finally released in North America later this year.
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