Review: The Legend of Legacy (3DS)

Atlus once again delivers RPG goodness to 3DS!

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 10/12/2015 09:00 2 Comments     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Gorgeous pop-up storybook aesthetics; Filling in maps encourages exploration; Choosing formations adds a layer of strategy to battles; Amazing soundtrack
Poison Mushroom for...
Inconsistent difficulty

What do you get when you bring the composer of Final Fantasy XIII, the gameplay designer and illustrator from the SaGa series, and the writer of Chrono Trigger under the same roof? You get The Legend of Legacy, a spiritual successor to the SaGa series created by some of the most talented individuals in the industry. Naturally, I set my expectations extremely high.

I anticipated an epic story line with awesome characters after seeing that Chrono Trigger writer Masato Kato joined the team, but the story is almost completely non-existent. Characters follow typical tropes found in the genre, such as the girl suffering from amnesia or the rambunctious treasure hunter, and are never fully developed. There’s also some plot about discovering the mysteries of an island called Avalon, but it’s nothing that is particularly interesting. Which is totally fine, because not all video games need a story and the gameplay is very engrossing on its own.

The island of Avalon is a lot of fun to explore. As you walk around, parts of the environment appear and disappear from the ground, which makes discovery exciting and gives the world a pop-up storybook feel. You’ll also automatically fill in a map on the touch screen as you explore every nook and cranny, which you can sell to a store for a good amount of money if the maps are complete. The store sells your map to NPCs who then explore that area and may even help you if you speak to them. The soundtrack created by Final Fantasy XIII composer Masashi Hamauzu is beautiful and really brings the game’s world to life.

On the surface, The Legend of Legacy’s battles look like any other turn-based RPG, but there are certain mechanics that make the combat stand out from other games in the genre. Instead of gaining experience points to level up and boost a set of a character’s stats, abilities increase by level only when they are used regularly in battle. But even then, stats appear to increase sporadically, as using these abilities just improve your odds that it will level up.

The same mechanic is applied to learning abilities: if you use a specific type of weapon enough times, you will awaken a new move to use. Again, this is seemingly at random, but I never found this or the game’s leveling system to be unfair. After a bit of level grinding, I would typically get all the moves and stat boosts I would need to take on tougher areas.

You can also create a set of formations for your three party members to stand in. Characters can be set to attack, guard, or support, which can amplify certain types of abilities. For instance, a counter move would normally protect the player using it, but if they are in the guard stance, it will protect all players. But if that player is getting too injured, you can always set another character to protect the whole party and heal them with a character in the support stance. Choosing the best formations for every situation will often give you a great advantage in battle.

Unfortunately, even the most strategic players will fall victim to the game’s unpredictable difficulty, as the number of enemies in a battle typically determines the fate of your party. Fights with about three enemies are easy to finish, but if you encounter seven tough enemies in a group, it will be a challenge to make it out alive. In any other RPG, you can just run away to survive these battles, but running in The Legend of Legacy will always put you back at the very beginning of the map. In other words, if you don’t want to lose all of your progress, you’re going to have to fight every single battle you come across.

After every fight, you regain full health immediately, making the onslaught of tough enemies somewhat manageable. However, once you get to the point where you’re strong enough to beat all of the enemies in an area, getting full health after every battle makes the game boring. Once this happens, battles are just a matter of mashing the A button until you win. There’s no reason to think about the consequences of mindlessly playing through these battles because if a character becomes badly injured, they’ll just be fully healed when everything is over. Thankfully, you can fast forward through battles by holding down the A button, which is a feature that should be mandatory in all RPGs.

At times, I found The Legend of Legacy to be both easy and ridiculously hard depending on the situation. But when it hits the sweet spot in between those two extremes, The Legend of Legacy truly shines. By sweet spot, I mean battles that are hard but fair. I’m talking about battles that can be overcome with strategy instead of grinding or pure luck. When that happens, it’s incredibly satisfying to see a strategy you’ve created help win a fight just in the nick of time, making The Legend of Legacy a ton of fun to play.

The Legend of Legacy may not have the intricate story line, deep characters, or the standard turn-based combat that one might expect from an RPG, but it has its own unique style with gameplay that rewards players for making smart tactical decisions. The game’s flaws may prevent it from being perfect, but The Legend of Legacy is still an excellent RPG that fans of the genre will love.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

2 Responses to “Review: The Legend of Legacy (3DS)”

  • 0 points

    Think I’ll pick it up for collector value alone. Atlus is one of the few remaining companies that actually gives you a cd soundtrack/art book or whatever when you buy the game. Most other companies-rip off digital extras or overpriced “season pass” BS, for an example look at the new Battlefront-$50 buck season pass? So $110 for a game with no single player, and on top of that you have to pay to play. I’m glad I was born in the generation that still had physical product and a complete game at release. DLC when I was younger was called Mega Man 2, or whatever.

  • 1288 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    Anthony! I just picked this one up because of your stellar review! Looking forward to playing it =)

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