The Legend of Legacy
Are you a Final Fantasy fan? Maybe what draws you to a game is a compelling storyline interwoven in to the gameplay, with a focus on characters and the worlds they live in? Or perhaps it’s the satisfaction of mastering the turn based combat to beat even the craziest bosses. Or are you the Monster Hunter type? You dig being thrown in at the deep end and spending the time figuring out the games intricacies on your own or with friends… If you’re one of these types or anywhere in-between, I’m there with you. Unfortunately, Legend of Legacy isn’t…
OK, it’s probably not entirely fair to compare this game to two incredibly successful game series. But it’s hard not to think of those successes when playing a game that feels so… empty. This isn’t to say that Legend of Legacy doesn’t have the content, because it does – it just isn’t that much fun to play.
The game begins by introducing you to Avalon, an island that is mostly unexplored and filled with monsters and elementals of varying shapes and sizes. The player begins by picking one of seven characters, all of which will seem pretty familiar if you’ve played a fantasy game before. There’s a rogueish treasure hunter, a noble knight, a foxy alchemist… You get the idea. Each character has their own personal reason for being on Avalon, but the main story remains the same. You’re here to explore the island, discover its secrets and kill monsters… over and over…
I found myself so disengaged from any interest in the combat, I began avoiding it as much as possible…
After a short introduction to the island and its characters, the player is pushed out in to the world to find their way. The game works on various exploration maps that need to be worked through to progress. Monsters move around the map on what seems to be set patterns, and will chase the player almost relentlessly (I managed to get rid of a few but was running around like a headless chicken for a while) until forcing them in to combat. It’s also possible to get ambushed as you explore or interact with elements of the landscape. On the edge of each map are exits that then lead on to more areas, and so on. Each area and sub-area has their own completion percentage. The explored maps can be sold to a merchant at any time. Don’t make the mistake of selling your map at anything lower than a 100% for as many linked areas as possible. I made this mistake, and it faltered my progress significantly. You want to be getting as much cash-money for your time as you possibly can.
Combat with the roaming monsters of the world works much the same as most turn-based games. The player can choose the actions for each member of the party which are usually related to particular strengths of that character, be it a particular weapon type or ability such as blocking or healing. If you’ve played games like this before, it’ll all come pretty naturally to you. Unfortunately, though, there’s something that just didn’t flow with the combat for me. Fights often ended up being tough without being challenging. By this I mean there was nothing tactically I could be doing differently – the outcome would always be that I would be taking lots of damage for very little pay off in terms of reward or experience. You can receive debuffs after combat that result in a lot of travelling back and forth to rest back at your base in town. Maybe I’m an impatient person and this kind of thing is fine, but I’ve always preferred games that allow me to go exploring for extended periods of time and then return back with lots of goodies and experience.
OK, so the exploration is a little dull and the combat a bit unsatisfactory. But if the story means there’s a great driving force behind it, then it’s worth it right? Usually yes, but sadly I got very little from the story here too. I’m a huge fan of being given the opportunity to not have to follow a set series of objectives (I’ve spent way more hours crafting all the armour in Monster Hunter then I’d like to admit), but making a main story line tertiary means making the rest of the game interesting enough to carry the player through. Here, any drive or indication of progress is inexplicably hard to find. Furthermore, the tough combat means moving on to new areas becomes a silly thing to do without significant grinding first. I found myself so disengaged from any interest in the combat, I began avoiding it as much as possible. This then meant less experience and any unavoidable combats being harder than they should.
Legend of Legacy is by no means a bad game in the sense of its technical achievements. The game runs perfectly (though I have never had a problem with a 3DS game, anyway), and it really looks great. Think a more serious Fantasy Life, and you’ve kind of got an idea of the visual style. It’s bright and colourful throughout, and the world itself is so enjoyable to be a part of it seems crazy that exploration isn’t more exciting to do. Also, the monster design and combat animations are great, which is helpful because you’re going to be seeing a lot of the same monsters and combat moves for a while. There’s really great voice acting in certain scenes of the game, and the combat and ambient noises really help to immerse you in the world of Avalon. It’s just such a shame that the game doesn’t really give the player any drive to actually want to continue experiencing these things.
I wouldn’t necessarily dissuade someone who enjoys JRPGs to not play this game. Every game has a group of fans who really enjoy it and I’m sure that this game will be no different. Perhaps I’ve missed the element of this game that makes you want to keep playing. Usually I’d think of starting again, ensuring I not make the mistakes of my first playthrough. But I’m also aware that it’s up to the game to make sure this doesn’t happen and that the player doesn’t feel lost or aimless, and I don’t think another playthrough will change that.
If you really enjoy turn-based combat and you’re looking for a 3DS title to get your fix, I’d probably point you more in the direction of Dragon Quest. Whilst Legend of Legacy isn’t a bad game, it just really doesn’t feel like that much fun either.