Growlanser is a tactical role-playing game native to the PlayStation. Developed by Career Soft, it is the spiritual successor to their Langrisser series. Co-owned by Sega and Atlus, it is one of the most successful franchises in the genre.
As in the Final Fantasy series, all titles feature character art by the same artist, namely Satoshi Urushihara. Join us as we count down to the best Growlanser game.
5. Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness
|Release Date||6 December 2001|
In the third instalment of the series, the player is transported back in time to where the land is dying due to the sun’s power fading.
Similar to previous games in the franchise, a few major changes were made. Battles now have four characters instead of the usual eight with the most powerful spells requiring a collaborative effort between at least two characters.
A free roaming map is also available, giving the player freedom of movement and an opportunity to explore surrounding areas. Ring weapons make a return, with different gems influencing character stats.
While fans of the series may enjoy the look, visual appeal is inferior when compared to other games in the genre. Some tunes make a pleasant return, but the music becomes repetitive and one is forced to endure the same melodies consistently.
The music isn’t the only audio department lacking as there is also some terrible voice-acting mixed in. The game doesn’t do much to push the series forward, but it’s definitely one for fans of the genre.
4. Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time
|Release Date||18 December 2003|
Originally released on the PS2 before making its appearance on the PSP as Growlanser IV: Over Reloaded. In 2005 three short stories were released in the form of a visual novel for PS2 called Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time – Return. The map adopts the isometric perspective familiar to RPG fans and enemies on the world map can be seen and avoided.
This version includes a vacation system to strengthen relationships between party members. Completing these back-story quests allows ultimate armors and new skills to be unlocked.
The dating sim elements are still present and some players might find it a laborious task to strengthen relationships in this elaborate way.
Battles can become tedious and the pacing can slow the game down tremendously, which certainly limits replay value. It offers a few unique additions to the genre and the series in general, but not enough to distinguish it from so many other great titles already out there.
3. Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice
|Release Date||26 July 2001|
Continuing in the steps of its predecessor, Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice, multiple endings and branching storylines make a welcome return. However, it is the first in the series to adopt a tactical role-playing game style.
The story takes place in the midst of the war between the kingdoms of Burnstein and Rolandia, with the main game centering around a protagonist from the the kingdom of Burnstein this time around. The game offers a circular movement area as opposed to the traditional grid-based style with the addition of MOV points to aid in battle.
Scenarios replace random encounters and Ring weapons with over 100 types of gems that offer various ability-boosting options form a core part of the gameplay and adds depth to the replay value.
Points of concern are the outdated graphics that don’t take full advantage of the hardware and backgrounds are also bland in certain sections of the game, affecting the overall visual appeal.
In-game music and sound effects may also seem repetitive when one is exploring the world. The dialog is hit and miss, but despite that, one is presented with a strong story, innovative game dynamics and a game both newcomers and fans alike will enjoy.
2. Growlanser: Heritage of War
|Release Date||3 August 2006|
The weapon known as the Admonisher had been used to keep the warring factions in check for decades, but with the Peace Maintenance Brigade reduced to withered old men unable to keep the peace any longer, the continent is once again plunged into war.
Expect more of the beautifully hand drawn animation, dating sim elements and party-based combat as you fight off the Screapers and various other enemies on the famine-ravaged continent.
The game suffers from some disjointed storytelling, poor gameplay elements and an infuriating character-advancement system. Despite several drawbacks the game does offer some interesting twists in its battle mechanics, like spell casting, where one has to strategically protect one’s characters as a spell is about to be unleashed.
Fans of the series will find plenty to love here and those new to the series may even find a few reasons to play it again.
|Release Date||25 November 1999|
The spiritual successor of Langrisser was released back in 1999 and included the vocal stylings of Rukan Aru who performed the opening theme and Ayumi Ootsu who performed the ending theme.
We are introduced to the kingdom of Rolandia for the first time, in an age of magic, monsters and political intrigue. The art style is a visual treat and the game uses a variation of the traditional turn-based battle system.
Your 5-member party also gives you a diverse range, which has strategic appeal as the game progresses. Voice-acting is also done unexpectedly well, lending depth to the characters.
The game shares several similarities with Langrisser, the story also takes a while to get going and in-game tasks may seem nonsensical at times. Despite all of that, the pros outweigh the cons and Career Soft’s original entry in the franchise makes it the best Growlanser game on our list.
The endearing characters, engrossing story and innovative combat mechanics was quickly adopted by fans the world over which gave life to the PlayStation’s most well-loved franchises.