Nintendo Enthusiast received this title as an advance review copy from ATLUS USA.
I’ve always loved to play some strategy RPG games, having spent hundreds of hours on games like Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics. When The Legend of Legacy was announced, I was quite intrigued with the art style of the game, which reminded me of Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light and Bravely Default coming together. The opportunity presented itself to review this title, and here I am.
The Legend of Legacy opens up on the island of Avalon, and quickly becomes a player-guided exploration to fully explore this mysterious land. A lot of games nowadays exist with a train track that constantly goads the player to travel to a particular location, slay some enemies, maybe help a damsel in distress, and then move on. The Legend of Legacy goes right in and gives a lot of control to the players. There is no set story route, and this lack of a centralized narrative makes this a title that has many different combinations possible, with a cast of seven characters that can be interchanged at the Initium player hub. The main focus of Legacy is exploration, and it’s the greatest strength that this game has to offer. Combined with some absolutely brutal fighting, this makes for an RPG adventure to test the grit of its players.
The fighting system is turn-based, but don’t let that fool you. The combat system in The Legend of Legacy is complex and requires some thought. Units in this game are given a role: attacker, support, and tank. Attackers dish out damage, supporters are used to keep other units alive, and the tanks are used to take the majority of the damage that weaker units may incur. There are different battle formations involved in the battle that allow each role to play its specific part. Even with these roles, though, units can still break free of their chosen class and develop, organically, using skills that other titles would consider out of the ordinary. For instance, my supporter unit started developing attacker skills and had the stats to back it up. It also makes usage of contracts with elemental spirits. These elemental spirits are frequently mentioned in the story context and are allies that can be used for numerous effects in battle that go from healing to status boosts.
This combat system is one of the greatest parts of Legacy; any unit can perform well in any given role. Just because base stats exist does not mean that they are set in stone. And let’s face it, we all chose Filmia. While combat is not the only option that the player can choose, the player can also run away. But running away comes at a price – not just leaving the battle, but starting the zone over from the very beginning. Map progress will not be lost. So, if you find yourself in a battle that you just cannot get out of safely, feel free to backtrack, because if characters die they lose overall HP with each successive death.
Legacy has some of the most soothing music. It gives off that explorer vibe of being on a really cool journey. There’s no way to describe it. It felt epic, like something in Final Fantasy, but at the same time, defined itself as an entirely new game. Boss encounters audio cues were spot on at generating that tension that the game needed to feel exciting. The music department did a fantastic job at creating a soundtrack that felt unique, while still holding ties to familiar RPG themes.
The visual department, though, was something that needed time to adjust to. The 3D effect was entirely optional and something that I didn’t use too much of, admittedly. For this game, it didn’t add any real depth to my gameplay, considering most of the environments felt very much stuck in the foreground and didn’t pop out. There was no immersion factor that I enjoyed with games like Majora’s Mask. The visuals are spot on to Bravely Default and The Four Heroes of Light, and are more suited to a 2D view. They were a bit washed out and dull, but they lend a certain charm to the game that gives each of the characters a sense of innocence that goes very well with their dialogue. Are the visuals top-notch HD graphics? Unfortunately they are not, but the Nintendo 3DS has never been a graphical powerhouse and we should not expect it to be so. The game play made up for that entirely and I’m definitely willing to overlook this minor flaw in order to enjoy my experience.
Going back to the central pillar of The Legend of Legacy, it becomes necessary to talk about the exploration and the freedom of being able to make my own choices within the game. The exploration of a dungeon goes much more than simply entering a dungeon to find a map, and then having floors of visibility. In Legacy, all of this cartography is forged on the bottom screen as the player explores a location, with up to 100% completions. The completed maps that you earn can be traded to a seller in Initium, but I don’t recommend that you do that, because the map is very useful in the occasion that you need to find a quick and temporary escape path when one too many monsters appears on the screen. And in this game, the physics are much more realistic. Usually, terrain obstacles such as foliage or trees would be immediate stoppage points that need to be maneuvered around, but in this game, trees and foliage can be your friends and you can, in most occasions, run through them, while at the same time feeling the physical barriers of the terrain present. To further clarify, we are not ghosting through trees, but we are able to use our surroundings to our advantage.
The mapping system is highly interesting because all zones connect and intertwine onto the bigger world map. You can start out fresh from Initium and then run all the way to the higher territories from scratch if you so choose, as long as you remember which way you’re going. Zones will have multiple exits instead of one way to get to the next portion of the map, but they all will lead to the same place. It’s not brutal like Etrian Odyssey where the mapping approach is done with pen and paper, but it’s also not an easy walk in the park. That’s the only minor disappointment I have with the maps – that for all of these numerous paths I could take, they all lead to the same places.
I suppose that at the end of the day, I have to talk about a negative part of the game. It’s more of a player grievance than an overall issue, but I find that the start and select buttons are entirely useless, especially in an RPG context. Most of the menu functions, while reachable on the bottom screen, are in my opinion better mapped with the start and select buttons, which have become screenshot functions. So instead of mashing the button to skip cut scenes, you’re mashing the button to take pictures. As a result I have an SD card of some pretty dull scenery, and had to sort through them to find the good photos.
The bottom line is that The Legend of Legacy is a sneaky title that not many people have paid attention to. While most people balk at the Nintendo 3DS lineup for this holiday season and only see games such as Triforce Heroes, they’re forgetting that titles like this exist. This title is a demanding RPG that rewards a dedicated player with a brutal but doable combat system. The visuals may not win over the most hardcore gamers, but the team at FuRyu definitely made up for this by mixing complex game play with a musical mood that matches it.
The Legend of Legacy
- Excellent open-world exploration
- Lovely soundtrack
- Different narrative focuses with different characters Mapping system is amazing Cons: Poor usage of some buttons on the 3DS
- Mapping system is amazing
- Poor usage of some buttons on the 3DS
- Punishing combat system - not for the faint of heart