The quality of a JRPG is oftentimes hard to judge because a lot of them are so similar. It really depends on the player’s individual preferences. You can have people that live and die by Final Fantasy VI and also claim that Dragon Quest V is the pinnacle of the series, but you also have people who prefer the more modern Final Fantasy VII and the edginess of Persona 4. Plot, characters, environments, and battle systems are put at the forefront of these but rarely do you have any of them blending in perfect harmony, especially with the more obscure titles.
Published by Atlus, The Legend of Legacy is a game many believe to be poised to be the next cult-classic in the JRPG realm. If it ends up being so, this is a realm I no longer want to be a part of.
What Is It?
The Legend of Legacy is the finished product between the dream team of renowned industry leaders including Tomomi Kobayashi, Masashi Hamauzo, Masato Kato, and Kyoji Koizumi. Each of these individuals were integral to the success of the Final Fantasy and SaGa games, but there’s hardly anything special about this title.
You take control of one of seven characters, each of them from a different class. You have an elementalist, a mercenary, a knight, and even a frog prince among others to go along with the fantasy theme.
Why Should I Care?
Having your choice between those characters actually spells doom for whatever game the plot has. This is a 3DS RPG with limited save files; there’s no possible way that there’d be eight separate stories without any carry over. But what’s even more insulting is that while it tries to differentiate some aspects in the story through each one’s mannerisms, it just falls completely flat on its uninspired dialog, which is a far cry from the usually deep plots the SaGa games featured in their time.
The Legend of Legacy‘s main highlight is its uncharted world of Avalon. With almost no history, it’s really your job to put it on the map by creating your own maps of the various areas you explore. Each place you’re in comes with an empty map that continuously fills up as you explore each and every nook and cranny there is. Once you’ve plotted a respectable amount of area, you can actually sell it.
But while exploration takes the forefront in the gameplay, it doesn’t exactly do it well. For example, in the first set of woods you trek, the pine trees come right up from under the ground. And while it’s a nice touch that gives the game sort of a pop-up book feel, it gets old real quick as there’s really no joy in having your path blocked by a tree. I actually found myself traversing with my eyes on the arrow of the map rather than actually looking at the environment, which led to accidental run-ins with enemies.
This brings us to the battle system that does a horrible job explaining itself. It’s nice that the developers thought enough of players not to give a tutorial, but it took me quite a while to figure that I was grinding for all the wrong reasons. Instead of leveling up the members in your party, you’re actually tasked with leveling up their actual abilities by constantly using them. This is how the game avoids the “keep pressing A or X” pitfall to get through battles. It also removes the historic cliché of refusing to use arts or magic because you don’t want to waste magic points.
In fact, not only does the game encourage you to use all your abilities, you absolutely have to in order to survive. While you don’t grind in conventional ways, this is a grind-heavy game. You need your characters to be at their best in order to survive because there definitely will be times where you’ll suffer a cheap death. If you’re lucky enough to survive a battle, it’s relieving to know that your HP and SP come back intact, but for the most part, the battles are still unforgiving. You also have an unquestioned ability to flee from any battle, but in doing so, you’re returned to that particular area’s entrance which forces you to trek through again with all the enemies respawning.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
I really wanted to like The Legend of Legacy. It seemed like it had everything going for it. It had a team full of prestigious developers, it’s the spiritual successor to a respected JRPG series, and it looked like a good pastime in the wait for Bravely Second.
Unfortunately, the game drastically suffers from the lack of a story. There’s no emotion or interest in any of the game’s characters, and a broken focus on exploration that’s marred with meaninglessly challenging battles that force you to play around with everything before you understand anything, which ends up being more of a chore than entertaining. For a game that’s supposed to be a spiritual successor to the SaGa series, it has its similarities, but it’s all just really barren.
The Legend of Legacy earned its abbreviation. It’s “laugh out loud” bad.