I just want to preface this review by saying that I haven’t officially finished the game. After 60+ hours, I’ve got a good chunk of time invested in The Legend of Legacy, so I can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
The Legend of Legacy is a spiritual sequel to the Romancing SaGa series, developed by FuRyu, and published by Atlus. For those of you who may not be familiar, SaGa games don’t play out like traditional JRPGs, and are quite the niche titles. Characters randomly learn skills during battles, stat growth is random, depending on your actions in battle, and said battles can go very wrong for you very quickly.
You have a choice between seven characters to begin your adventure with. Honestly, who you choose as your main matters very little, as there is almost no story to be found in this game. Sure, each character gets a small intro sequence, but do not expect anything on a Final Fantasy level of narrative.
Within two hours of starting your game, you’ll be able to recruit the other six characters, so don’t be too bummed if you don’t like your initial choice. I myself chose Meurs, and have yet to regret it. He’s a great mixed bag character, in my opinion.
Graphically, this title reminds me of Bravely Default. Some people might not care for the super-deformed (or “chibi”) character design, but I find it charming. Really, this whole game oozes charm, from the watercolor pop-up book level designs, to the deceivingly cute enemy designs. Make no mistake — they will mess you up, without a proper plan of attack.
Getting into the battle system, it’s your standard 3-man team, but there’s a neat little difference here. Each character is assigned a role beforehand, be it Attack, Support, or Guard. Attack roles, as one would assume, have higher attack power when fighting. Support roles get priority for their actions, and get a slight boost to healing spells and items. Guard roles have increased defense, and any move that has a defensive property (ie the shield’s “Block” ability) can potentially proc for the whole party. Also, you cannot use healing items during a battle. If you have one of the healing accessories (Bianca starts with one, I believe), you can heal, but you’re usually taking more damage than their moderate healing can compensate. If one character should fall in battle, worry not. They’ll be revived after the battle (unless you use a healing accesory/heal spell, then they’re revived right then), but their maximum HP will be reduced. If a downed character sould have their max HP reduced to zero, though, it’s game over, even if the other two characters are still healthy. Sleeping at the inn will restore their max HP, though. So don’t fret.
Magic works differently in TLoL as well. In order to use spells, you have to have a Whispering Shard equipped. These can be found in various locations in any of the areas you open up. But, beore you can cast these spells, you have to make a contract with the appropriate elementals, using the corresponding Singing Shard. Use the spell enough times, and the character casting it will eventually learn it, and will no longer need that particular shard equipped. Just equip a new shard of the appropriate element, and repeat the process to learn more spells. You can also find weapons that have a small colored “+” next to their type icon — these will also let you use spells you’ve learned without a shard equipped, provided the elements match.
Moving on to the really important stuff — the difficulty. According to various sources, the NA version of TLoL was tweaked a bit, to make certain aspects of the game more bearable. In the sole town in the game, there’s a port from which you can launch three different ships, for varying prices. In the Japanese version, these took two, six, and ten hours to return, respectively. Enabling the StreetPass feature could potentially shorten those times. Given the relative size of Japan, and the fact that almost everyone and their brother owns a 3DS, this was acceptable. Here in the states, that’s not really the case. So, in order to circumvent this, the designers shortened the time that each ship would be gone — one hour, three hours, and five hours, respectively. There’s also a New Game+, in which all of your learned skills, stats, and created weapons (a feature I myself have yet to unlock, so I cannot comment on that as of the time of this review) carry over. As far as gameplay, they don’t seem to have dumbed the game down for us westerners, as this game is still brutally difficult. I’ve seen some people liken it to the Dark Souls series…but I just laugh at them. This game has a nifty little quicksave function that can stem some of the frustration that comes from a total party wipe, so there’s that.
The music in game is, to me, rather forgetful. It’s very much in the background, and for the most part, I didn’t even notice it. Which is a bit sad, considering the pedigree of the composer behind it.
All in all, I’d say this game isn’t for everyone. The battles aren’t cakewalks, the “levelling” system is not the norm, and learning skills is so random, it can almost be frustrating. But, if you can wrap your brain around all of these differences, you’ll find an interesting take on the dungeon crawl.