I’ll start off by saying that this review is later than what I wanted it to be, not down to the quality of the game or anything like that, but purely down to the sheer amount of hours that you will need to even make a dent in it, let alone finish everything that the game has to offer. That said I’ve only really scratched the surface of what the game can offer but I’ve got enough for a thorough review none the less. So, let’s get started…
The game was developed by Furyu and Grezzo and published by Furyu, Atlus and NIS America in different regions of the world. Some of you may know Atlus as they were the developer and publisher of Persona 4, the incredibly well received Vita game which frankly took up significantly more amount of my lifespan than I care to admit, they are also the brains behind the PlayStation 3 game Catherine, which partially destroyed my life as I spent the following months having nightmares about moving building blocks to escape from a giant baby and pushing sheep into the dark abyss (seriously, play the game).
It’s a recent release for the Nintendo 3DS which meant I had to take out my much beloved Pokemon games to begin the wonder that is The Legend of Legacy. It’s a turn based JRPG which involves your standard JRPG and your standard JRPG elements such as levelling to get new equipment, to fight bigger monsters, to level up more, to get better equipment, to fight bigger monsters and the list really goes on and on until you complete the game and realize you’ve wasted the last 6 months of your life. I may sound sceptical but I actually love JRPGs so whilst I’m mocking the principal of it, just note that if you are offended then so am I.
The general rule is that if you want to throw another JRPG into the millions already out there then you need to have something unique. The Legend of Legacy offers this in a unique elemental system which allows you to use a variety of skills to both exploit and amplify the elemental balances around you by using shards. An example is that using a water shard (that you get reasonably early on) you can amplify and form a water contract, doing so will allow you to get party-wide heals on a turn basis and use other unique skills from other shards with the water element i.e. a water shield.
This element of gameplay allows for a bit more strategy, something that in all honesty is lacking in most JRPGs which turn into “Press X to win”. It allows the player to make a few more decisions when fighting and not just go in guns blazing to win the fight but genuinely consider how the turns will develop and in this game you will need that. This is a game where strategy is key and a few repeated turns of attacking will get your party wiped out pretty quickly, so instead you have to focus on attacking whilst defending and healing and a variety of other useful things.
Furthermore the skill system allows for a higher level of class development. You level up by actually fighting and you don’t gain exp at the end of fights in the conventional sense but you will level up whilst your in battle by using skills and doing so will level up the skill that you’re using, I don’t think that I need to explain that levelling up skills will make them more powerful but by writing this line I do so anyway so yeah. As well as the levelling up system your character can also develop new skills using this method so there really isn’t a way to get more powerful other than battling and collecting weapons. The only downside to this levelling system is that it’s difficult to tell when your getting closer to a level up, if there was a clear way to view this then I didn’t find it.
The weapon system is pretty unique too in the fact that a character can basically switch between any weapons that they have whilst in combat providing that they have them equipped (which really helps with the formation system, but I’ll get onto that shortly) so essentially your tank can switch over to start doing some crazy damage and vice versa. It means that there is no ‘role’ for characters any more as such, you pretty much make the role for your characters as you want too (although obviously at the beginning they all have roles really). Any of those who are fans of JRPGs will know that the standard tactics are always usually the best (1 tank, 1 dps, 1 support) but with the level of customisation you can play around a lot to find some great strategies that work.
As I mentioned before, the formation system allows you to set a number of roles for your party to play. Initially you get attack, defence and support although as the game progress’ you begin to unlock more. These prove invaluable and picking the right formation becomes a key part of gameplay since your defence take less damage and your attackers do more damage. You can also knock up your own formations using the menu so you can adapt the game to suit your particular play style, if you want to go into fights guns blazing then you can (though you probably won’t last too long).
The characters look amazing and each one has it’s own personality and looks. You have the standard JRPG characters, your young rogue treasure hunter, your righteous templar who wants to cleanse the world, your frog prince who wields a harpoon… Yes I said it, this game actually has a frog battling and if that’s not enough you have a girl with amnesia! It’s all kicking off in the land of Avalon. As always I went for the guy who had the biggest sword because big sword = big damage and that’s my philosophy with life, but then again it’s probably why I’m terrible at DIY.
The graphics are cartoony, as you would expect from a Nintendo 3DS game, but I have to admit that they look really nice. As you’re running along the scenes of the game pop up and down like a little pop up book which kept me pretty amused for the first few hours until I fell into the JRPG trance of encounter, kill, level, repeat. I can’t really say much more about the graphics other than the maps are well designed, the objects look good and the characters look great so all in all the graphics stand up for this title.
I have to touch on sound because it’s in the basic principle of reviews but frankly it’s fine, nothing special but nothing bad. Enough said.
The map system works well with a game like this which has dungeon crawler elements. The basics of it is that you will receive a map for the location you decide to go to. Once you have the map you have a percentage based marker on that screen and after unveiling all the areas within the map you can then sell it on for profit. This isn’t something you can exploit by creating multiple maps but you can make a pretty penny from it and it encourages you to explore all the map rather than just try to get to the next bit of it, doing so will also allow you to collect more items and equipment which does help. Frankly if you’re into an RPG games though you’re already like me and completely obsessed with collecting items and exploring every corner of the map, so much so that a game that would take you an hour to complete takes you a week.
There is one thing to the game that I disliked and that’s the plot line. Sometimes the game can feel like it’s lost it’s purpose and your not really learning anything about the game other than using the same old skills over and over again. There is a story obviously but it’s lacking in excitement and frankly It doesn’t really progress as fast as it should. It’s something that really does let down an otherwise perfect game but it’s also something which is very important when looking at JRPGs. In the spirit of Atlus, take Persona 4 for example, the story had me on the edge of my seat at the worst of times and the story progressed smoothly
and efficiently making it the perfect example of a JRPG. Furthermore, there isn’t really an objective as such so I ended up getting lost a lot since I had no clue where I was supposed to go, which is probably why it’s taken me so long to put the game down and write this review.
To summarize the game is great and I would strongly suggest anyone who is a fan of dungeon crawlers and more specifically JRPGs to give it a try since you will love it. The battle system is unique and involves using a proper strategy which feels refreshing after playing so many bad JRPG and the actual gameplay itself is exciting and leaves you wanting more. This is a great game to bash out when you have a spare 20 minutes or so and since getting it I’ve been keeping my 3DS as close as possible so I can knock out a few maps whilst I’m waiting on something.
As I mentioned before, the only downside is the plot line which didn’t keep me in interested at all, it’s a shame really because it spoils an otherwise perfect game. It’s something that the developers can look towards fixing on their next attempt and if they can match the mechanics of this then they’re onto an instant win. Bottom line is that after reading this review, if you’re not put off by the 1 flaw this game has then buy yourself a copy and don’t put down your 3DS for the 6 months. At least then I will have someone to compare myself too.