The Legend of Legacy is a JRPG developed by FuRyu that serves as a spiritual successor to the SaGa series. You’ll start off by choosing which adventure of the 7 available to begin your journey as. The other 6 that you do not initially select will quickly become available for you to assemble as part of your group early in the game. The character you start with will be a permanent fixture in your party but you can constantly revolve the supporting cast so don’t fret too much over which character you begin with.
The town of Initium will serve as the hub for this game. While in town there are five important places you can visit. The mayor/grand adventurer/king at the Lord’s Manor, the shop, the bar where you can buy a drink and hear some gossip (none of it very exciting), the port, and the inn. The shop allows you to buy gear, pretty standard, but it also allows you to sell maps of areas that you have explored. The more thoroughly you have explored a place the more money you can sell the map for. The port allows you to rent merchant ships and send them out to trade. They can bring back valuable items or bring back salt, which is, well… salt. The port also ties into street pass. If you run into someone else that has The Legend of Legacy you will trade with them and bring back even greater goods. The inn allows you to rest up, save your game, and swap in and out party members.
Combat is interesting and the bright spot in this game. Early on you are taught how to set formations and each round you will get to choose which formation to use. Some will set your characters up in an attacking role, some a support, and others a defensive role. There are preset formations but you can also create your own custom ones. Elemental affinity can also play a substantial role in combat. As you explore the wilds in the game you will come across landmarks where you can collect shards, some that sing, which endow you with powers. During combat you can invoke these shards and create pacts with the elements granting abilities to heal or create protective barriers.
Another intriguing combat system is how you progress your character. You don’t collect experience but level up skills and gain abilities through the use of skills. The downside however is this forces the game to become very repetitive and a grind at points. You will come upon encounters that will force you to go around the map and kill monsters just to level up character abilities. Sometimes you will want to take on creatures that are too powerful for you to beat in order to level abilities against them and run away before your party dies. The down side to all of this is it breaks the narrative, and there is little of that in the game already. While characters do have their own back story the Lord of the island doesn’t have a whole lot of motivation for you to explore other than to explore. You are kind of like his Lewis and Clark. Your characters do get that little brief blurb of a back story when you start the game but hours into it you start to wonder what the heck it is you are really fighting for other than just the sake of fighting.
In a slight departure from the JRPG norm as you explore the different areas you will see shadowy shapes that allude to an encounter with monsters but the shapes do not give away exactly what monsters or how many you will face. This allows for some randomness to an encounter still. You can also run away from these shadows and they will disengage after a while. Or you can run into a different zone and they will stop their pursuit. You can create a pretty large group of pursuers running through a zone reminiscent of the EQ and FFXI trains of years gone by, only you don’t have to worry about running your train into some poor sap just zoning into an area (unless that was your point to begin with).
Another new take on combat is when a player is reduced to zero hit points on the battlefield they do not die unless your entire party is reduced to zero. You do not have to cast anything special, such as a raise spell, on the downed party member to raise them back up either. A typical heal spell or healing ability will get them back in the fight. You don’t want to let this happen too often though because they will come back with reduced stats and will be further reduced each time they are subsequently knocked out.
While the combat is really fun with plenty of carrots to keep you leveling up your skills the game overall is left lacking for me because the story just isn’t compelling and character development feels like nothing more than raising the aforementioned skills and the occasional one liner a party member will fire off when you kill a particularly tough enemy. There are some very compelling reasons to play the game with its solid combat system and map exploration aspect but with the lack of a interesting narrative to drive the game forward The Legend of Legacy has a hard time holding my attention. FyRyu put together a development team that has worked on titles such as Final Fantasy XIII, Chronotrigger, 999:9, and the SaGa series itself. With this prestigious list it seems the developers had the chops to put together an excellent game yet their effort felt a little flat.
Gameplay: 7 The combat is fun. Creating and choosing different formations for your characters. Leveling up skills and abilities through use. Creating and shifting elemental seals and packs. The story feels lacking.
Visuals and Sound: 7 The drawn character art looks great but the characters and enemies on the battlefield are lacking.
Polish: 8 The game runs great, loading times are reasonable. No noticeable bugs in the game. The translations all seemed to make sense and the humorous ones hit the mark.
Longevity: 7 While there are 7 different characters you can choose to play through the game as with such a focus on grinding for skills unless you really enjoy the grind you probably won’t play through as more than 1.
Value: 8 $39.99 for this JRPG is $10 cheaper than the typical $49.99 charged for an ATLUS imports.