When the game begins the player chooses from eight characters to be the lead; additional characters can be found and recruited to the player's party throughout the game. The gameplay is similar to other console RPGs of the era, but with several notable differences. For example, instead of 'level ups', character stats increase individually depending on their participation in a battle. Also, a character has a certain amount of 'LP', which decreases when the character's HP is reduced below zero or when they are hit while their HP remains at zero. If the LP of a character is zero, they are removed from the party, but they can be recruited again with the exception of the main character of the current game, once the main character reaches zero LP, it results in an automatic game over.
During battle, characters can learn new techniques which often turn the battle in their favor; the same goes for gaining the ability to evade certain enemy attacks. There is also a Commander mode, which requires at least one character more than the lead character, with the lead character on the back lines, out of the battle. If the player has less than a full party of 6 he or she may use one person smaller formations. During Commander mode, techniques that involve multiple characters can be learned, depending on the formation.
When choosing to play as Mikhail, the player will start with a mini-war campaign, which continues as the game progresses. Some of these war campaigns must be won or the player loses the game. In these battles, the player controls a band of soldiers instead of individual characters. The player issues commands. The point of the battle is to advance to the other side of the map.