Mercenaries Rebirth: Call of the Wild Lynx—Review

Developed by Rideon Japan, who has developed every single entry in the Mercenaries Saga series, and published by Circle Entertainment, Mercenaries Rebirth: Call of the Wild Lynx is the sixth installment of the strategy RPG series. It was released on November 11, 2021 for the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch consoles.

The Resent of a Woman

The story in Mercenaries Rebirth is not a happy one. Allow me to quote the intro:

“On the eastside of the West Continent lies the kingdom of Astras. It has been years since Astras won the war against their neighboring kingdom Vestia. Princess Kiera, first born and only child of the king and late queen was to succeed her father on the throne. But things took a turn when the king’s concubine, Princess Rosa of Vestia bore a son. After the prince’s birth, Rosa was crowned queen. She persuaded the king to name her son successor instead. Soon after, the king met a sudden death—

Because Kyle was young, Rosa reigned as Regent of Astras, but her rule was not a kind one. The people suffered under her tyranny. For in truth, Rosa held no love for Astras. She resented the political marriage She was forced into by the Vestian court. The only love she held in her heart was for Kyle, her son, and she cannot for the people of Astras nor their cultures. Many factions desired Princess Kiera to reign. Currently, the court is divided.”

All event scenes whether they are story-like in the above screenshot or just pre-battle dialogue can be skipped as noted by the options at the bottom of the screenshot. This is very useful for subsequent playthroughs. The backlog option allows you to view past dialogue on the current scene only.

Finely-tuned for Hire

Before you start playing the game, I would suggest going into the “System” menu below “Load Game” on the title screen. It has features that can improve and speed-up gameplay. I suggest changing message speed to fast, setting turn end to auto, turning off the grid, turning off skill effects as well as speeding up move effects. Starting auto-battle and auto-saving are probably more up to the individual player’s discretion and are better suited for grinding.

Home base

Many of the categories in the above screenshot are self-explanatory. There is no map movement in the Mercenaries Saga with this installment being no different. The game progresses through the “Battle List.” There are choices to fight optional battles or progress through the story via the chapter battles as seen below.
You may notice several gold crossed-swords icon for specific battles at the very bottom of the list. These are special battles are reserved for the second playthrough onward unfortunately. Also, notice the prismatic reward for beating the battle. These prismatic items can only be obtained, not created or bought. They also carry-over throughout playthroughs.

Play for keeps

Mercenaries Rebirth like other entries has the similar magic items system. This system is basically that you can buy or sometimes obtain blue-highlighted items which have special bonuses ingrained in the equipment. Sometimes the effects are detrimental such decreased elemental resistance or reduced stats. If you’re lucky, sometimes you can a good item early which will help you in the game. However, as far as I know, it is randomly generated after each battle. As with the prismatic items mentioned above, these blue-highlighted items get carried over onto subsequent playthroughs. Several chapters in, you can mix blue-highlighted items via the synth shop and pick which attribute to carry over for the new item. Be warned though, it can be very expensive to do so. More so the better the attribute naturally.

What is old is new again

Irvin, the hero of the story, used to be in charge of a Mercenary group called the Wild Lynx. When he finds some people in trouble while visiting a departed one, he takes it up himself to help them, as a mercenary for hire of course. They then form a group. He is a slight deviation of your standard protagonist as he is a little older and I think he is a great fit for the game. Here is a screenshot of the party section where you adjust your skills and equipment for your mercenary squad.
Here Anastasia, a guard of Princess Kiera, seems to tell right away the protagonist is no ordinary man.

Traditional Mercenaries Saga formula

Battles in Mercenaries Rebirth are the same as they ever were in the series and should easy enough to pick up for anyone vaguely familiar with SRPGs. Let me give a quick rundown of how the game flow usually goes:

First, you choose which battle you want to do via the “Battle List” map. Chapter battles are one time battles so try to get the treasure here on the map or it will be lost for the playthrough.

The game gives you an aerial preview of the battlefield map before you engage. This is a good opportunity to get a feel of where the enemies are and where the treasure is.

Next you select your units. Mercenaries Rebirth has a system called the “Leader Skill.” This skill is a bonus usually to all units for the duration of the battle. The skills not only change depending on the character but with the class as well.

After you have selected your characters, you fight a standard isometric grid battle commonplace in SRPGs. Afterwards, you can level up skills, purchase equipment, do side-missions, and eventually progress the story via chapter battles.

The main feature of Mercenaries Rebirth is the skill system. Gradually from the start of the battle, you slowly recover MP at a rate that can be altered via equipment and status boosting. Here you can adjust the skill level of each of the skills in battle. The higher the skill, the more powerful it is, along with increased range most of the time. If you don’t have enough MP or don’t want to overkill the enemy, it’s a good idea to lower the skill level. Or you can just use a regular attack. Also, slightly unrelated but in the screenshot above, some special items allow characters to ride a horse for their sprite which also adds to their movement range. This has been a long tradition in the Mercenaries Saga franchise and I personally like it.

Decision time

During chapter 15 in the game, you will be given a serious choice which affects the rest of the game. For the first playthrough, there will be two choices, while the next subsequent playthrough will have three choices. Obviously choose whichever you like, just know some characters are limited to certain routes.

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